We love community and collaboration. And in that did we mention we also love sharing our culture and when possible give people a chance to reduce the use of plastic bags in their daily life? This is obviously a very late posting (hopefully one of these days we'll get better at scheduling postings and such), but hey, to share is better than not. So here we go...
While we were at Coffeehall Chinatown for a pop-up during Chinatown Summer Night 2017, we met with the awesome crew of Chinatown Business Improvement District. A few emails later, they offered us to take part in the next Moon Festival event. We quickly said yes and saw this as an opportunity to share our Javanese-Indonesian culture with our community in China town. We contacted our good friends at the Indonesian Trade Promotion Center (ITPC-LA) and our talented and fellow creative friend Sultan Agung to help us put together a Shibori Batik Workshop. After a discussion with Agung, we decided to use a canvas tote bag as the media for people to do batik. This will also allow them to bring home an item that is useful and can be used to replace plastic bags. Sounds like a win-win to us!
We set up an email sign up a few weeks prior to the event and had 25 people signed up about a week prior to the workshop. We prepared more totes, just in case we had more people attending. And guess what, a day before the event we had 40 people, on the day of we actually had more than 50 attending! Yikes and yayyy at the same time!
What is Batik? Wikipedia explains it as a technique of wax-resist dyeing applied to a cloth. This technique is an ancient skill passed on for generations in the Javanese culture of Indonesia. While this technique is also known in other parts of the world, UNESCO in 2009 designated Indonesian batik as a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.
A note on Agung, his father is a master gamelan and Javanese culture here in Los Angeles. His father used to work with my grandmother in Yogyakarta, Central Java, to preserve our traditional Javanese culture. While we're offering more of a modernised-fusion version of batik here in LA, it still truly is an honor and privilege for me to be able to continue the work of our ancestors in Jogya here with Agung.
Back to our evening of batik workshop, once people started coming, we quickly realized that we ran out of tote bags. And this is where community surprised us, someone asked if it's okay if they gave out old clothing and fabric they had with them in their car. Agung and his assistant Grace said "Yes!", and so began the most loving, most caring with a flair for sharing Batik workshop in Chinatown.
The evening was fun and informative. People sampled free Indonesian snacks provided by ITPC-LA while they waited for their totes to dry. It was great to meet people who are interested in learning more about our culture, and actually enjoyed the meticulous steps of getting it right. We also loved all the creative designs people came up with!
We want to thank Chinatown Business Improvement District, the Indonesian Trade Promotion Center - Los Angeles, Sultan Agung and Grace and everyone who attended our workshop. We are rolling out more workshops in the Summer, to book a workshop please send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org . Let us know how many people in the session. Look forward to connecting with you!
Lolo and team Toko-Toko