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BATIK: THE SPIRITUAL LEGACY - DELUXSHIONIST FASHION CULTURE

BATIK: A SPIRITUAL LEGACY

By Herdiana Surachman (in Interview with Ms.Era Soekamto, Creative Director of Iwan Tirta Private Collection)

I would not have thought that talking about Batik will end up to the realm of spiritual understanding that many contained in Javanese Batik motifs that have long existed in the cultural life of civilization in Indonesia. Creative Director Iwan Tirta, one of the big names in the Indonesia fashion industry, particularly in Batik, Ms. Era Soekamto spoke to Herdiana Surachman about Batik and the importance of maintaining the handmade creations in this modern era.

Starting her career as a fashion designer in 1997, Ms. Era Soekamto first appeared as a winner of the Asian Young Designer Contest in Singapore at the same year. She was heavily involved in the movement of history and culture in her career after Mr. Iwan Tirta died in 2010, the label Iwan Tirta appoint Ms. Era Soekamto to keep and continue the legacy of the maestro, Mr. Iwan Tirta until today. Ms. Era Soekamto sees that the legacy of Mr. Iwan Tirta is in harmony with the call of her heart, it was not just the art, but bigger than that.

Probably not many know that the ancient motifs in Batik store Universal Wisdom which is the identity of Indonesia. This could have happened because the Indonesian ancestors perpetuate the history not only through writing on palm leaves alone but also through Batik motifs, Ms. Era Soekamto also calls it with sacred art which inspired many of them by sacred geometry that is stored behind a lot of the concepts of God and the universe. The several well-known geometric motifs, such as; Jlamprang (Nitik), Parang Kusumo, Mega Mendung, Kawung, Lereng is always been accompanying the journey of Indonesia’s Javanese life.

Batik itself is actually a technique to make dots on the cloth, but behind it all, doing Batik is not an easy thing to practice, "Batik is an active meditation" said Ms. Era, it takes patience and focuses on it. With the 11,000 motifs at Iwan Tirta’s library until today, 600 craftsmen who shelter under the name of Iwan Tirta through directions of Ms. Era, care for and preserve these motifs in a masterpiece of national pride.

However, Batik is not an ordinary textile, manufacturing it can take 3 months to 1 year, through several stages of a complicated process, temperature, and sunlight in drying process will also affect the outcome. "Hand-made leather bag is expensive, but for those who understand will still buy it anyway. Things like this had to happen to Batik". It makes Batik cloth alone exceeds Haute Couture, with 100% handmade, once again Batik is not an ordinary textile, plus there is a philosophy behind it, the incomparable rich story.

"I did not create Batik, but I take care Batik as a caretaker" Mr. Iwan Tirta been argued that by 11,000 motifs exist in his motifs collections, in addition to ancient motifs which contains universal wisdom. So many nations’ arrivals to Indonesia, creating a pattern of assimilation that enrich the story behind a Batik motif, from the history of traders from Gujarat India, Persia, Arab, China, to the colonialism of Portuguese, Dutch, England, and Japan in Indonesia. The real history of pluralism, ancient teaching, and glory of the nation could be explained through ancient batik motifs.
In general, a Batik pattern is indeed telling a story, and the story itself is what makes Batik much loved and collected. Stories that are in the motif drove them into a symbol for certain ceremonies such as birth, marriage, death, ascension to the throne and so on, not only in Batik for Javanese people but the fabric of the archipelago as a whole.

So it seems when it comes to set the price, handmade Batik made for months with every breath in a Canting shed on cloth has been unquestionable. The sacred ancient art that maintains the tradition of the manual to date with innovative techniques assortment become the leading face of the richness of a cultured civilization in Indonesia.

Demand large production up to 1500 sheets per month, Batik cloth with each sheet has the length of 2.5 to 3 meters, making the business survive for decades. A mix of vision, mission, and history with the hereditary craftsmen who inherited the ability of Batik technique, not only through standard techniques that can be learned but the essence of taste is closely related to spirituality, Batik is indeed a legacy, both as a knowledge or the way of life.

For Ms. Era Soekamto, Batik serves as a mission in order to inspire the world through the history and meanings within, as well as for the nation's next generation in order to know the real identity of the nation. Although most people do not explicitly know that each motif has a history behind its existence, it takes a lot of dedication to absorb its hidden knowledge about spiritual concepts associated with Batik and its story. She said, “Most of our customers are still Indonesian who tend to have bonded with Batik when we tried to open the old archive of universal wisdom motifs into the collection, they loved it, and they loved the story behind it.”

After all, behind the heavy concept, its vision, and all, in Indonesia alone as a generous act of preserving our identity, Batik is celebrated every Friday as the day of Batik, you will see a lot of people will be wearing Batik to go to school or to the office, both native and expatriate. The scenery is quite interesting every Friday though still a long way to understanding the story behind every motif, Batik will continue to color the cultured life for the people of Indonesia, anytime and anywhere.

The original article is made to celebrate the essence of the finest craftsmanship for www.thebalveniecomission.com


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BATIK: SEHELAI WARISAN SPIRITUAL
Tidak pernah terpikirkan sebelumnya bahwa membicarakan batik akan sampai kepada ranah pemahaman spiritual yang banyak terkandung didalam motif-motif batik Jawa yang telah lama ada didalam peradaban kehidupan berbudaya di Indonesia. Direktur Kreatif Iwan Tirta, salah satu nama besar dalam industri mode Indonesia khususnya Batik, Mbak. Era Soekamto berbicara pada Herdiana Surachman mengenai Batik dan pentingnya mempertahankan kreasi buatan tangan di era modern sekarang ini.

Memulai karir sebagai fashion designer di tahun 1997, Ms. Era Soekamto muncul pertama kali sebagai pemenang Asian Young Designer Contest. Dia banyak terlibat dalam gerakan sejarah dan budaya dalam perjalanan karirnya, setelah Bapak Iwan Tirta meninggal di tahun 2010, label Iwan Tirta menunjuk Ms. Era Soekamto untuk melanjutkan dan menjangga warisan sang maestro. Ms. Era melihat bahwa peninggalan Iwan Tirta selaras dengan panggilan hatinya, bukan hanya sekedar seni, namun lebih besar dari itu.

Mungkin tidak banyak yang tahu bahwa motif-motif kuno yang terdapat dalam batik menyimpan kebijaksanaan universal yang merupakan jati diri bangsa Indonesia. Hal ini bisa jadi karena para leluhur Indonesia mengabadikan sejarah tidak hanya melalui tulisan di daun lontar saja, namun dengan motif-motif batik, Ms. Era menyebutnya juga dengan sacred art yang banyak terinspirasi dari sacred geometry yang dibelakangnya banyak sekali tersimpan konsep ketuhanan dan alam semesta.

Batik sendiri sebenarnya merupakan teknik membuat titik-titik diatas kain, namun dibalik itu semua membatik bukannya hal yang mudah, “Membatik adalah meditasi aktif” tutur Ms. Era, butuh kesabaran dan fokus dalam membatik. Dengan 11.000 motif yang ada diperpustakaan Iwan Tirta hingga saat ini, 600 pengerajin yang bernaung dibawah nama Iwan Tirta melalui arahan Ms. Era, merawat dan melestarikan motif-motif ini dalam maha karya kebanggaan bangsa.

Batik bukanlah tekstil biasa, pembuatannya sendiri dapat memakan waktu 6 bulan hingga 1 tahun lamanya, melalui beberapa tahapan proses yang rumit, temperatur, dan cahaya matahari pun memengaruhi hasil akhirnya. “Tas kulit buatan tangan mahal harganya, tapi bagi orang-orang yang mengerti tetap akan membelinya. Hal seperti ini pun harus terjadi pada Batik”. Hal ini menjadikan kain Batiknya saja melebihi Haute Couture, dengan 100% buatan tangan, sekali lagi batik bukanlah tekstil biasa, ditambah ada filosofi dibelakangnya.

“Saya tidak mencipta batik, tapi saya mengasuh batik selayaknya caretaker” Bapak Iwan Tirta pernah mengemukakan hal itu, dari 11.000 motif yang ada, selain motif kuno yang banyak mengandung kebijaksaan universal, banyaknya bangsa pendatang ke Indonesia, menciptakan motif asimilasi yang semakin memperkaya cerita dibalik sebuah motif Batik.

Secara umum, Batik memanglah kain yang bercerita, dan cerita inilah yang membuat batik banyak dicintai dan dikoleksi. Cerita yang ada didalam motif batik mengantarkannya menjadi simbol untuk upacara tertentu seperti kelahiran, pernikahan, kematian, kenaikan tahta dan sebagainya, bukan hanya batik di Jawa saja, namun kain di Nusantara secara keseluruhan.

Sehingga rasanya jika berbicara harga, Batik buatan tangan yang dibuat berbulan-bulan dengan setiap tarikan nafas dalam menitikkan canting diatas kain tidak perlu dipertanyakan lagi. Seni kuno sacral yang mempertahankan tradisi manualnya hingga saat ini dengan inovasi teknik-teknik yang bermacam-macam menjadi wajah terdepan dalam kekayaan peradaban di Indonesia.

Permintaan produksi yang cukup besar hingga 1500 lembar kain batik setiap bulannya dengan setiap lembar memilki panjang 2,5 sampai 3 meter, membuat bisnis ini bertahan puluhan tahun lamanya. Perpaduan antara visi, misi dan sejarah hingga sampai ke pengerajin yang turun temurun mewariskan kemampuan membatiknya, bukan hanya melalui teknik baku yang dapat dipelajari, namun esensi rasa yang erat kaitannya dengan spiritualitas.

Bagi Mbak. Era, Batik dijadikan sebagai misi agar menginspirasi dunia melalui sejarah dan arti-arti yang dalam, juga bagi anak bangsa agar tahu jati diri bangsanya yang sebenarnya. Walau kebanyakan orang secara eksplisit tahu bahwa setiap motif batik memiliki sejarah dibalik keberadaanya, memang butuh dedikasi untuk banyak menyerap ilmu pengetahuan tentang konsep spiritual yang berhubungan dengan batik dan ceritanya.

Dibalik konsep dan visi yang berat itu, di Indonesia sendiri Batik dirayakan setiap hari Jumat sebagai hari batik, kamu akan melihat banyak orang akan mengenakan batik untuk pergi ke sekolah atau ke kantor, baik pribumi maupun ekspatriat. Pemandangan yang cukup menarik setiap hari Jumat, walau masih jauh untuk memahami cerita dibalik setiap motifnya, Batik akan terus mewarnai kehidupan yang beradab bagi masyarakat Indonesia.

BATIK: THE SPIRITUAL LEGACY Deluxshionist Fashion & Culture

Images Courtesy: Iwan Tirta Batik
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