Field Notes | Gesikharjo - A new initiative is born

A few days back we finished a natural plant-based dye training in our village of Gesikharjo. After a few more weeks of practice the women in this beautiful place right next to the sea will be ready! They will start working on our latest collection, LAUT (Indonesian for sea), a line inspired by the sea and other elements of the daily lives of our artisans there. The launch of the collection will be the celebration of our third village initiative officially joining our platform. We could not be more excited!

It was truly wonderful how eager the women of our initiative were to learn new techniques of batiking and dying fabrics. Many of them have batiked from a young age, always repeating the same, very traditional pattern that sold the best. The more modern motives were challenging at first, but after a while they got the hang of it and enjoyed working on something different. But probably the most profound change we introduced was the use of plant based natural dye, allowing the women to work according to our environmental standards instead of using chemical dyes without a water filtration system.

For the training itself we were supported by our Master Dyer from our Jlamprang initiative. Excited to hear about what we were planning in Gesikharjo, he had volunteered to share his knowledge. When he arrived, he did not only bring big bags of Indigo paste and mahony wood. His village had decided to donate four dying vats to the women of Gesikharjo, supporting them in starting their own cooperative. It was an unexpected, beautiful gesture of support among our villages. To us, it speaks volumes of the kindness we find in rural Indonesia and makes us confident that we can expand our platform to comprise even more communities in the future.

In total, the women learned three different natural dyeing techniques, leaving us with almost one hundred fabrics. Because they were so excited and all wanted to see their fabrics going with us to Jakarta, we ended up with some very heavy suitcases. But we dragged them home happily, feeling deeply grateful for the kindness of our artisans and already excited about coming again.