Yulia the batik woman

  • A visitor trying her skills at batik making
  • The batik moulds
  • Yulia shows us what you can achieve after just one class
  • Working with precision in mind
  • A visitor trying her skills at batik making
  • Proud tourists shows their own batik production
  • A proud tourist shows his own batik production
  • Yulia showing her skills
  • The perfect souvenir which will bring back great memories
  • The final results
  • At the class, all attention is to details
  • A proud tourist shows his own batik production
  • A steady hand is what is needed!
Yulia showing her skills

Yulia showing her skills

Yulia the batik woman was introduced to me by my sister two years ago. Her mother is a senior batik artisan from Palangkaraya who grew up amongst economic problems. As her family could not only rely on making batik, she had to find different ways. At one point she even had to pull out of ‘the world’s longest batik’ contest.

When Yulia grew up, her main wish was to create a batik-makers community in Palangkaraya. Despite the several challenges she faced in order to realize her dream, including borrowing money from an Indonesian Bank so she could buy tools and raw material, she finally founded the “Komunitas Pecinta Benang Bintik” –  ‘Batik Lovers Community’.

Working with precision in mind

Working with precision in mind

Palangkaraya’s batik lovers joined the group and Yulia’s mission to promote the cultural heritage of batik making in Central Kalimantan went as far as making clothes using batik’s fabric and let the locals borrow them for free.

Proud tourists shows their own batik production

Proud tourists shows their own batik production

One of Yulia’s main ordeal was to find customers who would be prepared to pay money for her batiks. She went through months without a single product being sold, and struggled to repay the bank loan. However, Yulia’s spirit was strong and she managed to put a great idea into practice: open the batik making workshop to the public and charge to visitors who want to learn the technique of batik-making in Central Kalimantan. This was the key of her turning point: one by one, customers started pouring in.

I love Yulia’s talented batik art, and I can assure you not all Dayak people can make batiks like hers. I enjoy supporting and financing a small business like this, one that can empower local people and uphold local Dayak products and arts in Central Kalimantan, which is almost extinct in the modern era. Yulia has such a tremendous potential which in my opinion cannot go wasted.

The perfect souvenir which will bring back great memories

The perfect souvenir which will bring back great memories

Once we decided to include Yulia batik making school in our tour, we made an effort of marketing this activity. My clients are so happy with the time they spend with Yulia the batik woman, and her batik learning center has become one of the main things that tourists can do in Palangkaraya.

Central Borneo Guide strongly support small businesses in the local community of Palangkaraya. Browse Central Borneo Guide’s website or book their tours on http://centralborneoguide.com 

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About the author

Thomas has a university background in the UK and in Latin America, with studies in Languages and Humanities, Culture, Literature and Economics. He started his Asian experience as a publisher in Krabi in 2005. Thomas has been editing local newspapers and magazines in England, Spain and Thailand for more then fifteen years. He is currently working on several projects in Thailand and abroad. Apart from Thailand, Thomas has lived in Italy, England, Venezuela, Cuba, Spain and Bali. He spends most of his time in Asia. During the years Thomas has developed a great understanding of several Asian cultures and people. He is also working freelance, writing short travel stories and articles for travel magazines. Follow Thomas on www.asianitinerary.com

View all articles by Thomas Gennaro