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Wayan Arta and Sharon

Wayan Arta and Sharon

"Contributing to the continuation of our batik heritage is a great honor for me, and I hope that one day I can teach this art to my son."

"My name is Wayan Arta, and I started working in apparel as a seamstress for an American company. I worked there from... 1988 to 1993. During that time, I was promoted to being a pattern maker. I became knowledgeable about production methods, working directly on a catalog and large retailer orders.

"Using my experiences in this American company gave me the opportunity to work with Sharon Steinmann. Sharon is an American who handled and designed products for major women's catalogs. Together, we created designs and started production on special patterns. We specialize in batik — primarily ancient batik — which is a beautiful, but dying art from Indonesia. Sharon decides on our motifs and designs the apparel, while I am looking after crafting our designs. We have worked together since 2008.

"We chose this kind of batik because I wanted to continue our batik heritage. This art is centuries old, involving traditional techniques native to the islands of Bali and Java. It is an entirely handmade process that requires special skill and extraordinary patience. Originally, batik motifs were religious in nature, but now it features more mandala or botanical themes. The process is becoming rare due to its difficulty and the hand-painted aspects of making the fabric.

"To fill our orders, we have eight assistants in our workshop. I'm the production manager. I supervise the pattern makers, cutters, sewers and also do quality control. We are lucky to have employed seven locals who have been working with us for a long time.

"Contributing to the continuation of our batik heritage is a great honor for me, and I hope that one day I can teach this art to my son. Thanks to God, this textile art has helped me provide a decent life for my family. I can also help my children get a good education and go to college. I don't yet know if all of my children will take up this craft but I hope my son will continue my work.

"Making apparel isn't hard to do in Bali, because the rayon fabric is all sourced here. All the materials and supplies that we use are produced locally. We are proud of our crafts, because we are among the few people in the world that create this type of batik. Another reason that our designs are great is because our fabrics feature a deep saturation of colors.

"By working with you, I hope we can continue to grow and build a project that is profitable and supports local artisans and traditional batik methods. I also want to introduce ancient batik motifs to the world. I am sure the world will like them."
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