In the world of modern mass production \u2013 the only world young people in their twenties (in my world) know \u2013 the concept of getting clothes made does not exist.\nThey simply either go the the shop or browse online, decide on what appeals to them, check for size and acquire it.\nIn my world, then and sometimes even now, the browsing also happens as the first step \u2013 but it is for basic material rather than for finished product. The color, the material, the texture, the print all get decided based on the variety on offer. And there are mega stores in India just selling yardage of amazing fabrics to women who get into their most aggressive forms to get the attention of the sales person.\nOnce the material is bought, the designing has to be done. How will the neckline be V or U or C or closed \u2013 how will the sleeves be \u2013 short / long / puffed or skinny or or or \u2026. What will the length be \u2013 the decisions are endless. And then one might need embellishments \u2013 lace or sari borders \u2013 so further trips to different shops specialising in trims may be needed. And then the trip to the tailor who puts it all together after a thousand instructions from madam! Sometimes some embroidery follows the tailoring \u2026.\nWith so much exciting stuff to do, it is not surprising that I never felt bored for a minute in the days when I had this system in my life. For just a single simple ensemble, one could spend days plotting and planning the one tunic \u2013 from collar to cuff to button! It gave room for my creativity to bloom!\nAnd we learnt by watching the older girls \u2013 by listening and learning. Life then was not a competitive race with everyone you knew. It was just a journey, in which you cherished the people that traveled with you for a few moments, constantly affirming, constantly exchanging \u2018positrons\u2019, glowing with warmth and basking in the warmth of others.\n***\nI was reminded of these warmth-filled times \u00a0when I read about the Batik Tiga Negeri \u2013 that literally means Batik made in 3 cities / regions \u2013\u00a0in which the process of creation had steps similar to those described above.\nBatik \u2013 wax-resist technique that has been popular in Java for centuries, evolved in several different ways in the different regions and the different communities that patronised it. A spectrum of possibilities arose through the various offerings of aesthetic elements and technical elements that went into its creation. Hand drawn or stamped, level of finesse, butterflies or birds or scenes from life or geometric lattices \u2026 all these had to be selected by the maker.\nEventually a community or region became uniquely associated with a particular style.\nIn the mid-late 1800s, the Chinese developed what might be the most complex type of Batik called tiga negeri. The Batik cloth was dyed red \u00a0in a place called Lasem, then it travelled to another place Demak to get dyed blue and get the white filled in and then\u00a0to Suryakarta, to get the brown dye. And then it was finally returned to the owner-maker.\nHere is an example:\n\nThis is a hand-drawn Batik (batik tulis) in the Kemben or breast cloth format made around 1910-1930s.\nMuch travel and much planning must have been involved especially keeping in mind the modes of transport available at the time!\nEventually some women turned their home-creations into cottage industries and little workshops came into being.\nImagine the confusion that might arise at the dyers workshop in keeping track of which cloth belonged to which workshop or family!\nSo to keep things from getting lost and to ensure that it reached the source without getting the pieces mixed up, they developed a simple system of \u201cbar coding\u201d.\nThe artists / workshops just signed in their name in wax along with the rest of the motifs!!\nSo in the period of workshops that followed we see signed batiks \u2013 not because of vanity (as in the case of my photos that I sign ) but because of logistical necessity.\nHere is an example:\n\n[Better photos coming soon]\nAnd that is the story of the Batik Tiga Negeri.\nBatiks have worked for a long time to receive my love \u2026. seeing the collection of a collector in Singapore opened my eyes a bit.\nBut the final fall came with the colours of the old Kemben above whose colours make my heart ache\u2026\u2026\nAnyone know of any remedy?\n\u00a0\njaina mishra\n\n\u00a0\nThe post Made in 3 Places \u2013 Batik Tiga Negeri appeared first on The Art Blog by WOVENSOULS.COM.