Kisah dalam secarik Batik

Tabloid Kontan No.50

Tahun IX, 19 September 2005

 Oleh Johana Ani Kristanti, Rika Theo

 Pertama kali berbisnis batik, Daud memilih aliran batik tematik yang tergolong langka.  Alhasil, batik bikinannya mampir di tubuh para pesohor, seperti Mandela, Khadafi, Bush dan Mahatrhir.  Ia juga mempunyai galeri di Milan dan Singapura.

 Air cucuran atap, jatuhnya ke pelimbahan juga.  Hal itulah yang dialami KRT Daud Wiryo Hadinagoro yang dibesarkan dalam keluarga batik.  Ayah Daud adalah seorang pembatik, sedangkan ibunya berdagang batik.  Alhasil, bisnis Daud sekarang tak jauh-jauh dari batik.

 Nama Daud sendiri memang tidak akrab di telinga.  Namun, batik hasil coretannya sudah mendunia.  Beberapa kepala negara pernah menyandang batik bikinan Daud, sebutlah Nelson Mandela, George Bush, dan Mahathir.  Maklum, ketika Megawati Soekarnoputri menjadi presiden, Daud ditunjuk menjadi gift provider Instana Negara.  Jika ada kunjungan kenegaraan, presiden akan membawa salah satu karya Daud sebagai buah tangan untuk tuan rumah yang disambangi.  ‘Saya buat batik yang sesuai dengan corak dan filosofi negaranya,’ ujar Daud.

Tentu saja, sukses Daud menembus istana tidak semudah menuangkan lilin panas dari canting.  Ia sempat jatuh bangun menjual batik goresan orang lain.  Bahkan, ketika mencoba membuat batik sendiri, karya Daud tidak langsung dikenal secara luas.

Ide membuat batik sendiri muncul ketika Daud mendirikan museum batik di Yogyakarta milik keluarganya, tahun 1997.  Kebetulan, ayahnya memiliki koleksi batik keratin Yogyakarta dan Surakarta.  ‘Orang datang dan bilang, wah.. batiknya bagus, ya.  Kok sekarang enggak bisa buat yang kayak begini lagi?’ tiru Daud.  Komentar-komentar itulah yang mendorongnya membikin merek batik sendiri.

Meski dibesarkan dalam keluarga batik, Daud merasa gundah lantaran pada saat itu ia harus bersaing dengan lebih dari 6000 pengusaha batik.  Daud pun mencari celah untuk mencuri pasar.  Sayangnya ‘Modal engga ada, mau pinjam bank takut’ kata pria berusia 44 tahun ini.  Tapi, Daud tak kurang akal.  Ia menggandeng Dinas Pariwisata Bantul untuk menggaet turis melihat batik buatan tangannya.  Si turis tertarik lantas memesan 2000 kain.  Daud langsung menentukan harga antara Rp1juta sampai Rp2juta per potong yang segera disetujui oleh pembelinya.  Deal awal mereka adalah sebanyak 20 potong kain batik.’ Itulah modal pertama dan pembeli saya,’ kenang Daud.

Daud tetap merasa harus miliki corak batik yang lain dari batik di pasaran.  Ia pun lantas mengambil konsep batik kompeni, yakni batik yang motifnya bisa bercerita tentang peristiwa tertentu.  Karya pertama Daud dengan konsep tersebut adalah memindahkan peristiwa bom Bali ke selembar kain batik.  Karya Daud ini langsung terkenal lantaran dipajang dalam sebuah pameran.  Pilihannya mendokumentasikan tragedi bom dalam sepotong batik sempat menimbulkan pertanyaan. ‘ Saya bilang, saya seniman, saya membuatnya untuk dokumentasi, bukan untuk di pakai,’ jelas Daud.  Tapi sejak itu, Daud lekat dengan batik tematik.

Lima kuintal pewarna, dua meter kain

Batik tematik Daud mengambil banyak kekajdian.  Ia membuat batik dengan tema HIV dan AIDS, lantas membawanya pameran di California.’ Mereka terkenal sebagai kota gay, tapi untuk seni dan budaya lebih bisa menerima,’ ujarnya.  Ada pula batik bertema narkoba dan kebakaran hutan.  Daud juga membuat batik bertema perang Irak. ‘Saya berangkat ke Irak dengan wartawan World Press Photo lalu saya tuangkan ke kain,’ kata Daud.

Karena sifatnya lebih pada dokumentasi, harga batik tematik Daud tidak murah.  Sekitar Rp40juta sepotong.  Namun, ia mengaku tidak mendapat banyak laba lantaran batik tematik lazimnya merupakan kerja sama dengan LSM atau lembaga tertentu. ‘ Kita cari dana, lalu uangnya digunakan untuk kampanye,’ jelas Daud.

Sebagai pengusaha, tentu saja, Daud tidak bisa hidup dari batik tematik yang tidak dijual kepada masyarakat umum. ‘Harus ada sisi idealis dan sisi komersial.  Idealisnya untuk promosi, komersialnya untuk cari duit’ katanya.  Demi menjalankan sisi komersial, Daud membuat batik sogan yang diberi nama Sogan Daud.  Ciri khasnya adalah paduan warna abu-abu, cokelat, bitu, hitam dan putih.  Daud juga tak ragu memasukkan warna lain, seperti warna hijau botol.’Orang bilang, itu warna kompromi,’ ujar Daud.

Setelah mempopulerkan Sogan Daud, kini ia membuat batik multidimensi.  Batik ini merupakan penyatuan beberapa corak dan warna.  TIdak seperti kain biasa, menyatukan warna dan corak dalam batik tulis relative sulit lantaran kain yang digunakan bisa sobek. ‘Tapi kami punya resep bagaimana motif dan warna ini disatukan’ jelas Daud.  Hal tersebut membuat batik Daud tampak khas.

Kain bikinan Daud ini cepat sekali dikenal para penggemar batik.  Terlebih karena penyuka batik bisa memesan motif atau warna tertentu.  Ia kerap menerima pesanan batik dari empat warna benang yang hasil jadinya harus sama persis. ‘Tapi sempat juga ada pemesan yang protes, kok di batik lain ada motif Semarnya, padahal ia merasa pesan duluan,’ kisah Daud sambil tertawa.

Pemesan batik Daud harus rela merogoh kocek antara Rp3juta sampai Rp17juta untuk sepotong kain.  Pasalnya, ‘Batik ini bukan souvenir, tapi handicraft!’ tegas Daud yang ingin memberikan motif khusus pada setiap batik produknya sendiri.  Menurutnya, orang tidak mau memakai batik yang motifnya sama persis dengan corak taplak meja atau sarung bantal.

Selain itu, Daud bisa menyatukan puluhan warna pada sepotong batik tanpa merobek kainnya. ‘Saya memakai lima kuintal pewarna untuk dua meter kain batik,’ ucap Daud yang belaja komposisi warna dari Affandi dan Widayat.  Itu sebabnya, warna-warna batik Daud begitu jelas mencorong.  Tapi, karena menghasilkan limbah cari yang luar biasa, Daud pun harus membangun pengolahan limbah sendiri.  Ia menginvestasikan Rp4milliar untuk pengolahan tersebut.  Tak heran, jika harga batik Daud tidak murah.

Penggemar batik Daud bukan cuma datang dari dalam negeri.  Sekarang, Daud sudah memiliki gerai di Milan dan Singapura.  Ia mempekerjakan 207 orang, termasuk 194 pembatik yang menangani desain darinya.  Ia mengelola lima rumah produksi, dan membuka dua diantaranya untuk dikunjungi para turis yang tertarik pada kegiatan rumah tangga ibu-ibu tersebut.

Tak perlu pakai gerai

Meskipun dibesarkan dalam keluarga pembatik, awalnya KRT Daud Wiryo Hadinagoro tidak tertarik untuk berbisnis batik.  Ia malah menjadi penari jawa di Keraton Yogyakarta.  Baru pada umur 15 tahun Daud belajar membatik pada orang tuanya sendiri.  Selama tujuh tahun berikutnya, Daud berkutat pada batik. ‘Saya mondar-mandir ke si A, B, C, sampai semua filosofi batik akhirnya saya ketahui semua,’ ujarnya.

Tahun 1998 Daud mencoba berjualan batik.  Bersama temannya, Daud membuka gerai batiknya di Mal Pondok Indah.  Sebagai pemikat, Daud menjual long torso yang banyak dikenakan nyonya-nyonya indo zaman dulu.  Itu sebabnya, batik dagangan Daud lebih dikenal sebagai Batik Nyonya Indo.  Sayangnya, setahun kemudian gerai itu tutup karena sewanya terlalu mahal. Daud lantas pindah jualan di lobi hotel Hyatt Yogyakarta. ‘Sewanya gratis,’ katanya terbahak.  Tapi, umurnya juga cuma dua tahun.

Untungnya, Daud telah mengumpulkan cukup modal dan sudah terkenal.  Ia menjajal lagi berjualan di Novotel dan Sogo.  Namun, gerainya di Sogo justru mengundang protes para pelanggan. ‘ Mereka komplain karena bisa ketahuan kalau beli batik saya,’jelasnya.  Maklum, para pelanggan batik Daud ingin tetap memiliki hak eksklusif atas batik mereka.  Itu sebabnya, Daud memilih tak punya gerai di pusat perbelanjaan tapi bisa merangkul banyak pelanggan.

Catatan tambahan:

Sejak gempa Yogyakarta di tahun 2006, Daud memutuskan untuk menutup gerainya di Novotel Yogyakarta.

Untuk pemesanan kain diatas mori dengan motif klasik, seperti sogan atau sekar jagad, akan memakan waktu 2-3 bulan. 

Patron pesanan kebaya akan di simpan dan di pakai ulang ketika dilakukan pemesanan di kemudian hari.  Pembuatan kebaya biasanya memakan waktu antara 4-6 minggu.

The Silk Prince

By Hanna Rodian

www.lifestyleandtravel.com

 In a quiet, high walled courtyard of an old colonial house just outside Yogyakarta, in Central Java, Prince Daud greets me.  We are standing in a corridor, the walls of which are covered in photographs of him together with international politicians, movie stars, and show business celebrities.  We then climbed the narrow wooden stairs up to his office, past a room full of shy, giggling Javanese women carefully drawing on pieces of silk with fine batik pens much the same way that their ancestors have done for hundred years.

 The atmosphere in the office was rather different; modernity was everywhere, Fashion TV blared in the corner, and Daud called to his staff to find all the samples, photos and drawings he wanted to show me.  Soon, his large talbe was piled high with beautiful jewel-colored silk batiks, his original sketches, and some recent magazine fashion shoots.  He told me that although it can take him only five minutes to sketch an initial idea, to complete one of his special pieces is a significant process that can take up to a year.  His collection of more than 2000 unique pieces (once a design has been completed, it is never repeated) retail at between USD1,000 and USD5,000 each.

 At first glance, some of Daud’s plain and intricately patterned jacquard silk batiks do not belie their political or social content.  On taking a closer look however, tears and silent screams, abject misery, guns, grenades and syringes abound.  Stories unfold about the war in Iraq, portraits of AIDS victims.  Minutely-detailed drawings portray the destructions of reefs and forests.  The subject matter is even more terrible as the drawings have been so painstakingly drawn on such beautiful medium – hand woven silk.

 In 1997, Daud, supported by family members from all four Keratons (Javanese palaces) founded a non-profit organization to pen and support a batik and cultural heritage museum, the UIlen Sentalu Foundation, in the hills outside Yogyakarta.  His extended family all gave generously donating treasured photographs, documents, paintings and most importantly, family batiks that had never been viewed before the general public.  With the help of donations and museum entrance fees, the four Royal Families hoped to be able to preserve their vast antique batik collections, and give people an insight into the traditional life of the palaces, especially the closed keputren (women’s quarters).

Daud is also a member of a committee that is trying to preserve the heritage of the Betawi people, and indigenous closed community who have always lived in and around Jakarta.  This community has its own music, costumes, language and cuisine that all reflect the roots and original identity of the city, which itself has always been a melting pot of cultures and an important trading post since the 5th century.  Daud’s contribution was to create 20 batiks for the Anniversary of Jakarta celebrations on 22nd June of this year; portraying Betawi traditions and depicting their use of Malay, Indian, Arabic, Japanese, Chinese, and European motifs and influences.

A Prince in his own right, Daud sports the royal blood of Solo and Yogyakarta’s royal houses.  A sensitive man in his early 40’s, he works for the good of the community helping more than 550 villagers earn a living by producing a more economical range of inexpensive commercial batiks.  But Daud is not your typical businessman.  As he explains, ‘Basically, I am an idealist and a designer.  Through my work, I have become an unwilling salesman.  I consider having to work commercially a necessary evil support my charitable work.’

 The Prince’s designs have been snapped up by such famous fashion names as Kenzo, Versace and Armani.  Jennifer Lopez even wore the piece that she had sent her manager to buy in a music video.  Agents all over the world sell his batiks to appreciative customers and his beautifully designed shop in Yogyakarta sells his two ranges of batiks, as well as exclusive traditional Javanese kebaya (long fitted blouses) using local lace.

 KRT Daud Wiryo Hadinagoro

+62 274 378 162

 Javanese Culture and Arts Museum Ullen Sentalu

Kaliurang

+62 274 880 158

Ampersand

O, my dear humble Ampersand

What makes me go crazy about you?

On your own,

You will have no meaning

Without two things to join

 

You are here, there, everywhere

How do I get to use you?

Your existence went all way back centuries ago

Honestly, it is a very personal choice

Whether to use & or and

You are classic, yet modern

The swirl I cannot resist

May be I will use you more often

May be you will be in my next tattoo

May be…

 

I found a generous blog referring only to you

It is called, of course, Ampersand

Here are some of your transformations

Here are some of your disguises

But

Whatever it is

You will continue to be my subject of admiration.

 

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Tegep, Tetap Tegap dengan ‘Boots’

Oleh Rini Kustiasih

Kompas, 31 Maret 2009

 

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Sepatu boot atau bot buatan Tegep Oktaviansyah diproduksi di tengah krisis moneter 1997.  Bot dari Bandung, Jawa Barat, itu tidak tergoyahkan ketika badai krisis ekonomi datang lagi belakangan ini.  Sepatunya dikenakan artis, pejabat, hingga ekspatriat.

 

Hobi yang ditekuni sungguh-sungguh akan mendatangkan rezeki.  Setidaknya itu pengalaman Tegep Oktaviansyah, pemilik dan pendiri sepatu bot merek Tegep Boots ini.

 

Kejeliannya melihat peluang dan keinginan kuat untuk menciptakan produk yang berbeda membuat Tegep Boots dikenakan artis, pejabat, sampai ekspatriat asal Amerika Serikat, Jerman dan Australia.  Omzet produksinya dalam satu bulan mencapai Rp100juta-Rp200juta.

 

Kisah sukses itu bermula dari hobi Tegep mengenakan sepatu bot sejak SMA pada era 1990-an.  Untuk mendapatkan sepatu bot, kala itu bukanlah hal yang mudah dan murah.  Harga bot yang berkisar Rp400,000 untuk ukuran Tegap, tergolong mahal.  Namun, demi memenuhi hasratnya, Tegep yang kuliah di Jurusan Desai Produk di Fakultas Seni Rupa dan Desain ITB, mencoba membuat bot sendiri.

 

‘Saya belajar dari nol, mulai dari melihat pengerjaan oleh perajin hingga membaca buku tentang pembuatan sepatu bot yang baik’ katanya.  Tegep mempelajari anatomi kaki agar sepatu buatannya nyam dipakai.  Pada 1997 dia menggandeng seorang rekan untuk membuat sepatu bot bermerek Kanselir.  Desain Kanselir masih sebatas model sepatu para koboi dan bot yang dipopulerkan oleh personal The Beatles.

 

‘Desainnya masih sepatu bot klasik, dengan bentuk jungle, seperti yang sering dipakai koboi atau pengendara motor besar,’ ujar Tegep.  Dia sendiri adalah penggemar motor besar dan anggota komunitas bikers Brotherhood.  Anggota komunitas itu adalah pasar awal sepatu bot buatan Tegep dan merupakan pelanggan setianya.

 

Lolos dari krisis

 

Badai krisis pada pertengahan 1997 memukul usaha Tegep dan rekannya.  Harga bahan baku sepatu bot dari kulit naik tiga kali lipat.  Kongsi usaha itupun buyar karena perbedaan prinsip.  Maka, Tegep memulai lagi usahanya dengan empat pekerja.  Krisis ia lawan dengan peningkatan kualitas material dan desain.

 

‘Saya tidak mau menurunkan kulitas produk.  Itu akan membuat kepercayaan pelanggan hilang,’ ujar Tegep beralasan.  ‘Saya belajar membuat desain baru dengan material yang baru pula.  Saya sering terinspirasi oleh katalog-katalog sepatu dan tertantang mengembangkan desainnya,’ tambahnya. 

 

Dengan sepatu bot Tegep didominasi motif etnis, seperti Dayak (Kalimantan), Mauri (Selandia Baru) dan Aztec (Indian).  Warna-warna pun dikombinasikan secara ekstrem.  ‘Kalau bisa saya bikin perpaduan warna yang ‘gila’, beda dan tak terpikirkan sebelumnya,’ ungkapnya.  Salah satu desain Tegep bahkan disimpan di museum sepatu dan kulit di Jerman.

 

Desain menarik itu dia terapkan pada material berkualitas dari kulit binatang, seperti ular, biawak, buaya, kelinci, sapi, bahkan ikan pari.  Kiat itu mampu menarik hati pelanggan.  Ditengah krisis, sepatu buatan Tegep tetap dicari meski harganya tinggi.

 

‘Saya juga mendapat berkah saat krisis ini, yakni dengan makin banyak pembeli beralih pada produk lokal.  Bot buatan saya mulai dilirik, sebab harga buatan luar negeri tak lagi terjangkau,’ ujarnya.  Hal lain yang membuat Tegep bertahan ialah pasar yang jelas dan tersegmentasi.  Sejak awal dia menyasar kalangan menengah ke atas dengan jenis produk tunggal, yakni sepatu bot.  Bagi laki-laki kelahiran Tasikmalaya itu, berebut kue besar dengan bagian yang kecil tidaklah menyenangkan.  Ia lebih menikmati kue kecil dengan bagian yang besar.

 

Melihat peluang

 

Jeli melihat peluang.  Tegep ingin mengatkan posisi di pasar dengan merek yang mewakili produknya.  Seorang dosen menyarankan produknya dinamai dengan nama dia sendiri.  ‘Nama Tegep kan jarang dan unik, jadi kenapa tidak kamu namai saja dengan namamu sendiri,’ ucap Tegep menirukan perkataan dosennya.

 

Untuk mengenakan sepatu botnya, Tegep membawa produk itu kemana-mana dan mengikuti berbagai macam pameran.  Omongan dari mulut ke mulut dalam komunitas bikers membuat bot buatannya makin dikenal.  Tegep tak ragu memberikan sepatunya agar dipakai manggung oleh artis atau komunitas band sebagai cara berpromosi.

 

Kini dengan kisaran harga Rp1juta – Rp12juta, pelanggannya menyebar dari artis hingga pejabat Negara.  Sebut saja Andi’/rif’, Prabowo Subianto, Fahmi Idris, dan pesanan perwira Polda Metro Jaya.  Baru-baru ini, anak Menteri Perdagangan Mari Elka Pangestu pun memesan sepatu sneaker dari kulit ular di Tegep Boots.

 

Tegep juga melayani pesanan sejumlah butik di Jakarta, Bandung, Bali, Makassar, dan Australia.  Pelanggannya dari dalam dan luar negeri.  Tegep juga menyuplai sepatu bot untuk took koboi milik Tantowi Yahya di Jakarta.  Menurut dia, menjaga kepercayaan pelanggan adalah kunci suksesnya.  ‘Membeli sepatu sama halnya dengan memilih tukang cukur.  Sekali merasa cocok dan puas dengan pelayanannya, Anda akan terus kembali.  Ini soal kepercayaan,’ katanya. 

 

Setiap kaki pelanggan diukur dan digambar.  Pemilihan warna dan desain pun diserahkan kepada pemesan.  ‘Setiap sepatu adalah pilihan personal.  Ia harus dibentuk dan diperlakukan berbeda-beda,’ ujarnya.  Tegep melayani keluhan pelanggan yang sepatunya tak nyaman.  Selalu ada garansi perbaikan sepatu untuk setiap pembelian.

 

Dalam tiga tahun terakhir, bersama desainer Mardiana Ika dan Iva Latifah, Tegep merambah dunia fashion.  Sepatunya dipakai model dunia dalam Bali Fashion Weeks dan Hong Kong Fashion Weeks (2007 dan 2008).  Pada bagian bawah sepatunya tercetak: Handcrafted with pride in Bandung (dibuat dengan rasa bangga di Bandung).

 

Tegep sadar masih ada ratusan perajin sepatu di Bandung yang tak bernasib sebaik dirinya.  Dia pun aktif menjadi pembicara dalam semiloka dan pelatihan bagi perajin sepatu Cibaduyut di Bandung.  Kegiatan itu dimotori Departemen Perindustrian serta Kementrian Negara Urusan Koperasi dan UKM.

 

Tegep yang sempat menjadi instruktur tenaga kerja ILO-PBB (2001-2004) ini juga menampung mahasiswa dan siswa kejuruan untuk magang di tempat kerja sekaligus tokonya di Jalan Pelajar Pejuang 104, Bandung.  Dia menyupervisi langsung 24 tenaga kerja.  ‘Saya tak khawatir ilmu saya dibajak dan produk saya dikalahkan para anak didik.  Bagi saya, berbagi ilmu adalah kewajiban.  Kalau memang sudah rezeki kita, tak akan kemana-mana,’ tuturnya.

 

 

Tegep Boots

Jalan Pelajar Pejuang 45 No 104

Bandung – Indonesia

www.tegepboots.com

 

[Collecting pairs of boots is one of my partner’s favorite things.  We ordered a pair of Dayak tribal pattern boot from Tegep with red and black combination.  It took almost a month from the date of order, until it was sent to our door.  Their service, patient and attentiveness in the store until finished were excellent.  It is true that once the model and size have been chosen by the customer, Tegep himself will personally look and supervise the making for each pair of boot.]

Nesting with the Dolls

This is one of my favorite things, besides the obvious ones, of bags and shoes (sigh!).. Matryoshka doll.

 

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Originated back in Abramtsevo estate Moscow in the year of 1890, it was born in a children’s education workshop salon. The owner of Abramtsevo was Sava Mamontov – an industrialist and a patron of the arts.  The end of 19th century in Russia was a time of great economic and cultural development.  Mamontov was one of the first who patronized artist who were possessed by the idea of the creation of a new Russian style.  Many famous Russian artists worked along with folk craftsmen in workshops Mamantov.  The concept of nested objects was familiar in Russia, having been applied to carved wooden apples and Easter eggs; the first Faberge egg, in 1885, had a nesting of egg, yolk, hen and chick.

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A Matryoshka doll or a Russian nested doll is a set of dolls of decreasing sizes placed one inside the other.  Matryoshka is a derivative of the Russian female first name Matryona, which was a very popular name among peasants in old Russia.  The name Matryona in turn is related to the Latin root ‘matter’ and means ‘mother’, so the name is closely connected with motherhood and in turn the doll has come to symbolize fertility. 

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A set of matryoshka consists of a wooden figure which can be pulled apart to reveal another figure of the same sort inside.  It has, in turn, another figure inside, and so on, which traditionally all of the dolls look almost identical to one and another.  The number of nested figures in a set ranges from 5 to 30, but some custom-made sets contain many more.  The shape is mostly cylindrical, rounded at the top for the head and tapered towards the bottom, but little else; the dolls have no hands (except those that are printed).  Traditionally the outer layer is a woman, dressed in a sarafan, Russian native costume with a scarf on her head.  Inside, it contains other figures that may be of both genders, usually ending in a baby that does not open.  The artistry is in the painting of each doll, which can be extremely elaborate. 

Matryoshkas are often designed to follow a particular theme, for instance peasant girls in traditional dress. Modern artists create many new styles of nesting dolls.  Common themes include animal collections, portraits and caricatures of famous politicians, musicians and popular movie stars.  Matryoshka dolls that feature communist leaders of Russia became very popular among Russian people in the early 1990s, after the collapse of the Soviet Union.  Today, some Russian artists specialize in painting themed matryoshka dolls that feature specific categories of subjects, people or nature.

Areas with notable matryoshka styles include Sergiyev Posad, Semionovo, Polkholvsky Maidan and Kirov.

 

 

The making of nesting dolls

 

The basic technique of nesting doll making remains unchanged. As a rule nesting dolls are made from lime, birch, alder and aspen. Lime is the most abundant material. The trees chosen to manufacture nesting dolls are cut down at the beginning of spring, usually in April when the trees are full of sap. The felled trees are stripped of their bark leaving a few rings to prevent the wood from cracking. The logs prepared in this way with their butt-ends smeared over are arranged in piles with a clearance between them to allow aeration.

The logs are kept in the open air for two years. Only an experienced master can tell when the material is ready. Then the logs are cut into work pieces for nesting dolls. Every work piece can be turned as many as 15 times before the nesting doll will be ready. Making a doll on a turning lathe requires high skills, an ability to work with a beguilingly small set of tools – a knife and chisels of various length and shape. The smallest figurine which cannot be taken apart is usually made first. The bottom part of the next figurine which can be taken apart is turned first. Then a work piece is turned to reach the necessary size and the top end is removed. Then the ring is made to fit on the upper part of the nesting doll and then its lower part can be made. Then the nesting doll’s head is turned and the necessary amount of wood is removed from within the nesting doll’s head to slip on the upper ring. All these operations do not involve any measurements, and rely only on intuition and require high professional skills.

The upper part of the nesting doll is stuck on to its lower part. Then it dries and tightens the ring so it sits securely in place. When the turning work is over, a snow white doll is thoroughly cleaned, primed with starchy glue to make the surface ideally smooth and to prevent the paint making smudges and then dried. Now it is ready to be painted. The first Russian nesting doll was poked and painted with gouache and covered with varnish by S. V. Maliutin.

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The above article is collated from various sources.

Coffee Culture 3: Little Flowers with Big Potential

The name Blumchen Coffee place probably not as famous as any other chain places whether local or international.  It’s location which is on Jalan Fatmawati probably not so much looked after, like those located in malls or shopping centres.  But I think this is what makes it more unique and interesting.

 

Owned by a Korean which already converted to Indonesian national, Blumchen was opened in February 2008. 

 

Menu and serving:

It’s simple and straightforward – black, latte, cappuccino, mochacino – either hot or cold.  Various teas are also served.  So far, they serve simple sandwiches (tuna and beef) and ready-made cake.  I think they are still focusing to perfect their coffee serving.  They have various blend of coffee from home blend, Java (Blawan, Jampit, Kayumas, Pancur), Sumatra (Mandailing, Lintong, Gayo, Kopi Luwak), Sulawesi (Toraja), Bali, various foreign coffees (Ethiopia, Papua, Columbia, Kenya, Guatemala).  The kopi luwak costs IDR500 thousands (or approximately USD45) per 100 grams.

 

Roasting is done in-house using Probat machine from Germany.  Coffee making is using la Pavoni, a powerful coffee-maker from Italy. 

 

I tried the spiced coffee and my partner had the iced coffee mocha.  Both are satisfying and refreshing.  Especially for my spiced coffee, the Java beans were smooth and fresh, with a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg, not too many.  The down point was that a dollop of whipped cream was put in it.. not really expected.  I would hope for a plain one.

 

They might want to add some pastries savoury or sweet as additional menu; and try to get rid of the packaged ready-made cake.

 

Ambience:

Quite relaxing with 3 sofa settees scattered, with soothing colors.  Vespa seems to be the main focal points and other hobby of the owner, surely was the show-case in the premise.  Books and magazines are available, especially those related to ‘boys’ toys’.  Some artifacts of coffee grinder and coffee machine were displayed.  Or if you got bored, there are some coffee table games, including ‘dhakon’, a Javanese solitaire or two-person game.

 

Parking space is plenty in front of the café.  They need to get rid of the artificial flower arrangements and pots inside.

 

Overall, it is quite a cozy place to relax and sip your favorite coffee. 

 

Blumchen Coffee, Jalan RS Fatmawati 1, Jakarta 12430, 021 91959112.

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Tree of Life

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I am fascinated with Tree of Life and its long historical existence from all walks of life, from all elements of life, from the basis of life.  From various readings, Wikipedia, images and pictures, here is a simple of excerpt from such a magnificent concept; also a glimpse of various expression and impression in art, books, tattoo and many more.

 

The concept of Tree of Life is quite universal, from various religion and beliefs (Christian, Muslim, Qabalah, Buddhism and other early religious beliefs), countries (Iceland, India, Germany, Scandinavia, Egypt, Africa, China, North America, Australia) or mythology (Norse mythology to name a few).  It acts as a model connecting the Universe with the Great Divine, or God, and humankind; with the branches spreading throughout creation reconciling the individual leaves, representing the unified whole. 

 

Their branches reach high into the heavens.  Their roots dig deep into the Earth. 

Yet all are woven together, signifying the connection between all things

in the Heaven and the Earth.

 

Tree of Life has the four elements of life interwoven in it.  Water circulates in its sap; Earth becomes part of its body through its roots; Air feeds its leaves; Fire is produced by rubbing its sticks together.

 

To the Celts, the tree was a source of basic sustenance – a bearer of food, a provider of shelter and fuel for cooking and warmth. 

To the Christian, God planting within the Garden of Eden beautiful trees, two of which were the Tree of Knowledge and the Tree of Life, which was symbolic of immortality.

To the Hebrew, Tree of Life was a key factor as it illustrates the underlying unity within the Universe.

 

In German and Scandinavia, it is customary to have a guardian or lucky tree beside the house

In Norse mythology, the great ash tree was considered to be the axis of the world, with its branches reaching out over both Heaven and Earth.

 

The Bodhi Tree under which Buddha sat when he attained enlightenment is both a classic representation of the axis of the world and a tree of life, which represents Buddha himself.

 

There are a number of legends about the early life of Mohammed, founder of the religion of Islam.  It is said that just before Mohammed’s birth, his father, Abdullah, dreamt of his unborn son.  He saw growing from his child’s back a tree, which climbed upward, and reaching its full height emitted a light that spread around the world.  Most Muslims interpret the dream and its imagery symbolically.  The tree would of course represent the religion of Islam, supported by Mohammed.  The light is the wisdom of his teachings that have truly been globally disseminated.  However, we also know that the tree in Mohammed’s back could be the ‘tree of life’ and is common symbol in Middle Eastern and Islamic culture.  For the Ismailian Shi’ite Muslims, the tree that reaches beyond the seventh heaven is the symbol of ‘hakikat’, the state of beauty in which the mystic is reunited with the supreme reality.

 

ah8vqcacapdrz2wcaxhzvjtca8g3196caxnxwy0caflb9ehcatmue3icaijbk3hcadgznr6ca2cjm1cca9h20e3cah6mxi2cag9df98capceu8jcaopr0brcatu5g9bca39f9gtcak3ylngahc46bica4eafw0ca6pkfcqcack1m0nca1pyv0ecaib284zcapfd660cajmnbsocadfymfdcar4fjivcajhtmysca34kum7cam9y7dacah0b39uca3xxbrccathr3b4caustegpca485cg4ay09cawcaav2p77ca00dk73caxl5cjscayk9pk5car9datccaqwnjasca6w09m6caxp81rkcayotnl9caebbpnkcac2tebgcatturg6cai7mxpvcaktklphcaeza5a6caxg2acwca0inmn7aax3gz7ca3h21x8cab5uhrrca8w398scauy3tsdcazv9npdca93evhfcaxdrabmca48nqqecaejen5jcaixg7uocaad0l3hcapj142bcanvt83gcahz0u5xcay7irfpcakxzejqcaez134pa2bvsyxca25an86cad7f60dcajom6mwca7i6pzuca83y74kcak1gqzfcanqi98scawqgarjca3two17caimghbvca6m9welcao40azfcae5ncl6casennl4catfz6uxcav7cxq1cakwu815aw5kkgtcadyd1vrcaylp8u9ca35w1kpcatg5owlcarz01rmcahc4sapcavp550pca6b37sacajwmjpzcaqnqn2kcazgh52pcavh3tahcar4b7inca7xk12jcakocpy1ca7zrpmccacf3exzakx3j3icaz5k140ca9is6cicaqkmxsrcaff7x3lcanc3l8qcatk02suca4hgxx3caw0rojwca0qv6g2caeafdr9ca16ode2cajkwrvfcafkcw4ccaiodrjucaugh3bzcaopmkaocamkz1pratowygbcaw9oo97cab7cxoicau7cl91cawohw2nca9d9kjzca4rlgifcaiaok2lcadprcbgcatvx0ddca0xxhaicag1y729ca1b24h2cax1zw0zcadhtvzfcaidzc76ca8zlpegca2hqvlqazl8lzncap8kxo6ca6so5vucafkkyt6catgt7d4ca539ibocais9b43ca52veiscagpwfencavfqojacakz22juca2qrj6hcab0mmz2cat62jm3ca952h8bca498kkjcada2nzlcaxjacnuatvke7gcap9eom4cavpg0cycasa8iqicaicnm89cae5p9u0ca51lgxdcahx4np9caqb1w26caopnasacare4cfvcaon4rgkcax0gs26catuga73ca59tquccajlkuj3ca827xr1ca6ki959

(not-so) RANDOM THINGS about ME

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  • Mum, Glenn and Gary
  • Durga
  • solitaire, solitude..
  • Concord West
  • yoga, vegetarian
  • trust, sincerity, loving, kindness
  • closed circle of friends
  • dark chocolate, merlot, sambuca
  • Bondi’s Oxford Junction side-walk café..
  • tattoo
  • Rumah Sleman, Amanjiwo.. anyplace that I can breathe freely, feel serene and tranquil
  • cikini raya 37b
  • books, books and more books
  • 09 August 2008
  • anything Kate Spade, Coach, silk products @Siem Reap market
  • ubud
  • vanity fair magazine
  • ipod and nokia e-71
  • Sydney, Jaipur, Delhi, Yogyakarta
  • organized, focused, multi-tasking, persevere
  • coffee and its paraphernalia
  • batik Lasem, KRT Daud
  • john malkovich, adrian brody, catherine keener, philip seymour-hoffman
  • Channel No.5, Marc Jacobs’ Blush, Clarins’ Huille Tonic
  • Papa

Kopi Luwak

(Excerpted writing by Chris Rubin from Los Angeles Times )

 

Coffee grows in dozens countries around the world.  Some varieties have earned a special reputation, often based on a combination of rarity, unusual circumstances and particularly good flavor.  These coffees, from Jamaican Blue Mountain to Kona to Tanzanian Peaberry, command a premium price.  But perhaps no coffee in the world is in such short supply, has such unique flavors and an, um, interesting background as Kopi Luwak.  And no coffee even comes close in price: Kopi Luwak sells for $75 per quarter pound.  Granted, that’s substantially less than marijuana, but it’s still unimaginably high for coffee.

 

Kopi (the Indonesian word for coffee) Luwak comes from the islands of Sumatra, Java and Sulawesi (formerly Celebes), which are part of the Indonesian Archipelago’s 13,677 islands (only 6,000 of which are inhavited).  But it’s not strictly the exotic location that makes these beans worth their weight in silver.  It’s how they’re ‘processed’.

 

On these Indonesian islands, there’s a small marsupial called the paradoxurus, a tree-dwelling animal that is part of the sibet family.  Long regarded by the natives as pests, they climb among the coffee trees eating only the ripest, reddest coffee cherries.  Who knows who first thought of it, or how or why, but what these animals eat they must also digest and eventually excrete.  Some brazen or desperate, or simply lazy, local gathered the beans, which come through the digestion process fairly intact, still wrapped in layers of the cherries’ mucilage.  The enzymes in the animals’ stomachs, though, appear to add something unique to the coffee’s flavor through fermentation. 

 

Richard Karno, former owner of The Novel Café in Santa Monica, California, got a flyer from Mountanos about Kopi Luwak and ‘thought it was a joke’.  But Karno was intrigued, found it was for real and ordered a pound for a tasting.  Karno is very enthusiastic, a convert to Kopi Luwak.  ‘It’s the best coffee I’ve ever tasted.  It’s really good, heavy with a caramel taste, heavy body. It smells musty and jungle-like green, but it roasts up real nice.’

 

Mountanos says, ‘It’s the most complex coffee I’ve ever tasted,’ attributing the unusual flavors to the natural fermentation the coffee beans undergo in the paradoxurus’ digestive system.  The stomach acids and enzymes are very different from fermenting beans in water.  Mountanos says, ‘It has a little of everything pleasurables in all coffee: earthy, musty tone, the heaviest bodied I’ve ever tasted. It’s almost syrupy, and the aroma is very unique’.

 

The Coffee Critic in San Mateo, California, though occasionally sells Kopi Luwak to the public for $5 a cup. Owner Linda Nederman says she keeps the price low to allow people experience the coffee.  Nederman drinks it herself every time they brew it. ‘I’ve never tasted anything like it.  It’s an unbelieveable taste in your mouth: richness, body, earthiness, smooth.’ She also carries Jamaica Blue Mountain, Burundi Superior AA and Brazil FZA ‘Natural Dry’ so her customers are used to fine and exotic coffees.  Still, she reports, many are afraid to try Kopi Luwak. 

 

But not everyone is seduced by this exotic coffee’s charms. ‘Kopi Luwak is, in my opinion, indistinguishable from many an average robusta, especially if you cup them next to each other,’ says Tim Castle, coffee expert and author of the Perfect Cup, referring to the lower grade of commercially available coffees. ‘Kopi Luwak’s processing is unusual and attracts attention.  In that sense, it is an interesting coffee.’

 

Intrigued by the hype, I drove out to the Los Angeles warehouse of MP Mountanos to cup some Kopi with Andrew Vournas.  The green beans, which range from tiny to elephant, have a faint smell that hints of a zoo or stables – a little funky, not your average coffee aroma.  Vournas gives the beans a light roast to accentuate the specific flavors of this rare coffee; a darker roast would obliterate the subtler flavors and replace them with a more generic taste.  Vournas points out that this coffee, like most Indonesian-grown, has lots of moisture and roasts nicely.

 

Vournas gives the beans a course grind and mixes seven grams of coffee with four ounces of water in each of three cups.  The aroma is rich and strong, and the coffee is incredibly full bodied, almost syrupy.  It’s thick with a hint of chocolate, and lingers on the tongue with a long, clean aftertaste.  It’s definitely one of the most interesting and unusual cups I’ve ever had.

 

Is it worth the money? Five dollars for a single cup?  Sure, why not? You’ll pay more than that in any Paris café for a bad au lait.  Might as well spend it on something rare and exotic.

Coffee Culture (2)

To continue the journey in recognizing the richness of Indonesian coffee produces, I came across into a hole-in-the-wall coffee place in Yogyakarta city which serves genuine Kopi Luwak.

 

 

I learnt about this place from a tiny ad they placed in Jogja Ad, a free weekly advertorial happening tabloid.  It is called Civet Coffee.  Both of us, the so-called coffee aficionados could not wait to find perfect time to visit them.   After lunch, we went straight to Jalan Prawirotaman, a similar back-packer street like Jalan Jaksa in Jakarta.  The café opened back in January 2008.  They serve various café dishes and drinks other than the Kopi Luwak, but they advertise themselves as serving freshly grinded coffee.

 

Civet offers medium and dark roasted, which they did in-house.  Their coffee came from both Lampung in South Sumatra and Sampit in West Kalimantan, where the owner has coffee plantations.  According to the baristas, they send out fresh beans, as well as the roasted ones to their clients in Europe and Canada, also to one of their business partner’s café in Kuta, Bali.  If you are interested to order, it will come in a packet of 450grams, which they can send immediately.  For 450grams, it will make approximately 36 cups of coffee.

 

In their serving, they put the freshly grinded coffee in a plunger of hot water, together with stroopwafel.  As the name implies, stroopwafel is an old-style Dutch biscuit, sweet with a tinge of cinnamon taste in it.  A complimentary taste to the strong black coffee flavour. 

 

 

 

The difference between medium and dark roasted versions is the smoothness of taste and its strength.  I guess it is a personal choice.  I love the strength taste of espresso, thus opted for the dark one.  Whereby, my son chose the medium roast.  Both of us drank it black without sugar. 

 

Personally, comparing to the one served in Kopi Luwak Café in Semarang, I would choose for Civet Coffee produce.  It has more body and aroma, also the flavor is stronger.  So is it worth the price of 95thousands Rupiah per cup?  Definitely!  I felt totally contend and refreshed.

 

Read more about the unique background and other real (read ‘serious’) coffee reviews about Kopi as written by Chris Rubin in the next posting, not just from a coffee taster like me.

 

Overall, Kopi Luwak as served in Civet Coffee Café is definitely worth the trip.  I hope my fellow Indonesians can appreciate more of its coffee produces, not necessarily the rare Kopi Luwak, but also the other beautiful varieties from all over the country.  This hopefully, will encourage the coffee farmers to cultivate more home-grown coffee and also bring down the prices so that it can be readily enjoyed and sold at a more affordable prices to its end consumers domestically.

 

Civet Coffee

Jalan Prawirotaman 14

Yogyakarta

Phone: +62 274 304 6252

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