"My mother is my inspiration. She and I still design together, especially the floral and bird motifs that are typical in Pekalongan batik."
Update (August, 2019)
I'm Yuni Kristina and I was born in 1983 in Pekalongan, Central Java. As part of Pekalongan regency, Wonokerto is known as the 'World's City of Batik,' people in here also create batik. Most homemakers in my town make batik, from small productions to large ones. There are stamped batiks and hand-painted batiks — all are available. Besides being known as Batik City, Pekalongan is also known as the 'Fisherman City.' Most of the men work as fishermen. My father also was a fisherman and my mother as a batik maker. As a fisherman, my father could be gone anywhere from a month to six months. It all depended on how much fish he could catch.
I started working in this field when I was 16 years old. After school, I helped my mother in making batik. She taught me how to hold the canting tool, and how to draw on cotton or silk. I love making batik because it has so many motifs that can be explored. To make batik, one also needs patience and extraordinary skill.
Even though now my life seems good and I can provide for my children, I used to work very hard when I was a teenager. When I graduated from senior high school, I had to work in two places. From 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., I worked for a phone seller and after that, from 4:30 to 9:30 p.m., I worked at a motorcycle counter in a shopping mall. I did that for six years because I needed to support my father, since he was very sick at that time.
Now, I am married to my lovely husband, Pande Putu Riecky Surya and together, we are blessed with a daughter and two sons. Our children are the best thing that ever happened to me. And they give us new spirit to work harder. My husband and I always give our best to give them a great education, so they can have a bright future. We hope that they will be humble people, and they can make a good impact on society.
When I had just started my batik workshop, a lot of people underestimated my skill. Yet, by the time I could prove they were wrong, people started to recognize my designs. I have made a lot of batik scarves and shawls, but my best and most challenging one is the ‘Wine Garden' shawl. The reason is because it uses two methods to make it beautiful. First, I do batik on silk, and then I draw flowers so the product is really colorful. The silk and cotton in my scarves are usually ones that I have picked. Then I give them to my helpers — I have 20 helpers, six men and fourteen women. My husband and I coordinate everything. I'm really proud to be a batik maker because I am also preserving my heritage, especially now that batik is recognized as original to Indonesia.
I joined you in 2006. It was my husband who brought our batik to you and, thankfully, you accepted us and even helped us a lot. You've taught me to be really careful in making sure of the quality of my scarves and shawls. You've also taught me to be creative, as you request new designs regularly. And we received a Novica microcredit at zero percent interest so I could expand my workshop. I've worked very hard and today, I own a house and two shops to sell my batik scarves. I even have a car and a motorcycle, and now I can support my children with the best education.
Original Artisan Story
I learned the art of batik when I was very young, since my mother is a batik artist in Java. She has been making batik at home for 23 years, while waiting each day for my father – a fisherman – to come home from the sea. As you can imagine, batik is a part of my life. I started experimenting with the technique when I was 13 years old, with mori textiles. Now I've learned to create different motifs and to work with other materials, such as silk. My mother still helps me a lot.
My mother is my inspiration. She and I still design together, especially the floral and bird motifs that are typical in Pekalongan batik. My husband Rieckey also helps me a lot because he knows what people like abroad, and then I can focus on creating. I would like the batik of Bali to become well known around the world, since its beauty is outstanding.