Southeast Asia is a wonderful place to see uniquely beautiful, traditional textiles being made and worn. Having the opportunity to live in Malaysia and to travel throughout the region was a great experience. At the national craft festival in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia I saw booth after booth of a stunning woven textile called songket. So rich and luxurious! Each finely detailed piece of fabric on display was waiting to made into a fabulous costume for some special occasion.
Then in 2009, UNESCO awarded Indonesia Intangible Cultural Heritage status for their batik. I decided to visit central Java where there is a concentration of markets and makers. In Java I was able to experience a small sample of the incredibly diverse traditional hand made batik.
I feel lucky to have seen the crafting and use of these fabrics in their own countries — and to be able to apply them in a way that both showcases the fabric itself, and fits the way we live. It has been a delight to meet local artisans and entrepreneurs and to find help and support from each country’s trade and tourist organizations.