Today we share the story of Maria Lucia Maringka or as the Jakarta expat community knows her, Lucy of Lucy’s Batik. Lucy’s Batik is a local institution; a household name and needs little introduction, but as the curious people that we are, and in true ajb spirit of honouring local people, we spent an afternoon with Lucy to hear her story.
Like many new comers to Jakarta, one of our first meetings with Lucy was at a Women’s Association Bazaar, and for me in Lucy’s Jakarta home, where the first small Lucy’s Batik shop was established. I remember vividly the earthy smell of rattan and bamboo and the exotic batik prints on textiles in Lucy’s home shop, as the flooding rains tumbled down outside in January 2013.
For Jo, it was in preparation for her first trip back home to Australia that she dropped into Lucy’s store at Lippo Mall and browsed all her lovely pieces. Jo recalls on this occasion buying many beautiful wooden spoons, Batik soft toys, a beaded bracelet and pressed aluminium box in which to store the bracelet.
Fast forward to now, and Lucy has created a flourishing business in both Jakarta and Bali that embraces the arts by supporting Indonesian artisans and craftspeople.
Jo and I spent an afternoon with Lucy in her Kemang shop a few weeks ago. We sat and chatted surrounded by a host of beautiful treasures Lucy has collected from across the archipelago. In our interview, Lucy shared her love of travel throughout Indonesia and abroad, the importance of connecting with artisans in small villages and her desire to raise awareness and preserve her country’s cultural heritage.
Please tell us a little about your background. Where were you born, and where did you study?
I was born in Jakarta and studied at Parahyangan University in Bandung, majoring in International Relations.
What did you want to be when you were a child? When I was a child?
I always wanted to become a traditional Javanese dancer.
Why batik? Have you always loved batik?
I’ve always had a huge interest in Batik. It shows how rich and diverse Indonesian textiles are. Coming from a Javanese family, I love to preserve the art and cultural heritage of Batik textiles.
‘Coming from a Javanese family, I love to preserve the art and cultural heritage within Batik textiles’
Where did your inspiration come from to work with textiles, and patterns using the batik technique? From my Grandmother. She was a master craftswoman in Batik. She inspired me to grow in passion and love for the culturally rich and varied textile arts and crafts throughout the whole archipelago of Indonesia.
Can you tell us about the craftspeople you collaborate with to create your beautiful pieces, and the journey you’ve shared establishing simple designs for Lucy’s Batik?
I maintain the originality of Batik from each area where the craft people come from. It’s important to me to provide a wide range of opportunities for each craft person; to create their own ideas as well as to give some input on how the products would appeal to the current market.
‘I maintain the originality of Batik from each area where the craft people come from. It’s important to me to provide a wide range of opportunities for each craft person’
When was Lucys Batik established?
It was established 20 years ago when I had my first son.The first Lucy’s Batik was established in Jakarta (inside my house) and we now also have a shop in Bali.
How would you describe the Lucys Batik style?
We try to maintain the originality of Indonesian Batik arts, and combine them with current international styles so that they can be applied to home decorations, apparel and textile arts.
What is your vision for Lucys Batik?
We envision our store to preserve Indonesian culture through its textiles, arts and its craftsmanship. We also want to encourage sustainability throughout our sustainable Batik process. Most importantly, we want to listen to our craftspeople’s stories and preserve the culture throughout Indonesia.
‘Most importantly, we want to listen to our craftspeople’s stories and preserve the culture throughout Indonesia’
Where does your inspiration come from for your collections?
Usually from my travels. Such as my visits to small villages throughout Java, Sumba, Bali and Lombok. I also travel abroad to Japan, USA and Italy. These experiences have given me opportunities to create authentic products with both local and international exposures.
‘We try to maintain the originality of Indonesian Batik arts, and combine them with current international styles’
What are the main Lucys Batik products?
Batik textiles, Ikat, Basket weaving, home decorations, and many more
Who is the Lucy’s Batik shopper?
Our customers are mainly expatriates in Indonesia and also Indonesians who love to preserve the Indonesian arts and cultures
Name 3 favourite Lucy’s Batik pieces?
Batik textiles, home decorations, and apparels
Any new projects you are working on at the moment?
We are working on a project called Wonderful Indonesia Display in Basel Switzerland, this November where we will have the opportunity to have our collections there.
For 2017, we will open a Batik course and join Green School in Bali to promote local and natural products.
Resources you turn to regularly for creative inspiration?
For my inspirations, I usually go travelling within Indonesia and abroad.
3 words to describe your Jakarta? and Bali?
‘Jakarta is very packed, full of delicious food, and entertainment Bali is more relaxing, fun, and natural’
A great weekend for me?
I usually spend my Saturdays at my store to greet my customers in person and strengthen the relationship between us. Sundays, I spend my time with my family and go to church.
Favourite destination in Indonesia?
I don’t have a specific destination. For me, Indonesia is beautiful. Each island has its own uniqueness, which I enjoy the most.
‘For me, Indonesia is beautiful…
each island has its own uniqueness’
Favourite place to eat in Jakarta?
I like to eat at Pandor.
Every visitor to Indonesia must Eat? Visit? Experience?
Visitors should try Nasi Goreng, Chicken Satay, and Gado-Gado. They should visit the National Museum, Taman Mini Indonesia. I would encourage visitors to do a Batik course and ride an Ontel (Old Bike) in Kota Tua. They are all fun to do!
Tea or Coffee? And where?
I prefer to drink tea. I usually have mine at Pandor.
I don’t leave the house without?
My three important items: phone, ipad and a bottle of water
My life motto?
‘Creativity comes from maintaining good health’
Where can our readers purchase Lucys Batik?
We currently have three stores:
Lippo Mall Kemang Village,
2nd Floor, Kemang, Jakarta
Tel. +62 (21) 29528536
Jl. Raya Basangkasa No.88,
Seminyak – Kuta, Bali
Tel. +62 (361) 7951275
Jl. Monkey Forest
Tel. +62 (361) 391001
*Kenalkan Let me introduce
Words: Liz Photography: a journey bespoke
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