Bagus Bagong | Batiktuk

Bagus Bagong is the owner of Batiktuk. He’s a hands on creator as a pattern maker, originator of ideas, batik colour specialist and also marketer. Here he chats with Rumah Sanur about his techniques and journey.

What is the history of Batiktuk?
It began in 2009 when it had already has its own exhibition about batik with themes that spoke about sustainability and respect to the earth.

Batiktuk is my second project, I first started making batik for artwork in Yogyakarta. We realised that making batik for artwork costed big money, so we started the brand and retail Batiktuk to make money to support batik artwork and exhibitions.

In 2013, we grew the team to include Yohana in the marketing division, she then became my wife. Then in 2016, we added two people to the production team. This helped with developing new methods and using a design approach that is modern and temporary.

Now we are a team of seven people from family, neighbours and friends who do production and a marketing team of two people.

What is the ethos behind Batiktuk?
The basis is community development and creating a work and brand where people feel happy creating together.

We want to help create income for the communities and our main focus and personality is community itself.

What is a key focus for Batiktuk?
Youth development not only for batik but also for bamboo products – we will be adding dokdok studio glasses to the To~ko collection soon.

We also collaborate with the local music community including frog music lab with local and international musicians.

I’ve also participated in artistic projects to create a festival in Yogyakarta for musicians and lots of activities.

What is your vision for Batiktuk?
For Batiktuk it is about re-inviting young people interested in the arts of tradition, especially making batik.

Batik is a long process, meticulous and complicated because of traditional ways. In batik we try to make the process easier and more youthful in spirit with techniques that are based on tradition.

What are the priorities for Batiktuk at the moment?
Now we want to emphasise in part our system of production and work on how to make a productive more fricative, more dynamic, while still adding new resources of labour with more thought to fresh and new ideas.

We first must find our place. Then the markets will come – the goods that will find the buyer not the producer looking for the buyer.

How do you innovate?
We always do new product development, every time always making things with new ways, either from design, technique, or colouring.

Also in the manufacturing, we don’t make a lot of products but it’s limited and about the quality in every production.

What types of materials & dyes do you use?
We use a material called cotton tencel that is quite unique and special. It is made from eucalyptus oil fibre. For dyes we use Indigosol which we import from India, it is an eco-friendly dye. We use a dye method called colette which is done with a brush.

We also don’t produce any material waste, so it is more efficient and sustainable.

What is the process that you use for your batik?
First we find good objects around us, in the real world or in the mind. I am not pegged to one theme. I look at how to play with colours, then how the game of emotion between the batik and the batik maker itself.

Every batik is different so sometimes it is a long process or sometimes it is short. There could be one day, two days for a single batik. It depends.

What are some of the challenges you face?
One challenge we feel is in exports, for example deliver to Australia. If the batik price is RP 350,000 and for deliver the cost is RP 350,000 then it is not very cost effective. So we are continuing to review and work out this process.

Also the materials we use are also unique, especially the fabric. It is only available in one shop in Yogyakarta that imports the fabric. So sometimes the material delivery delays production.

As a creator, what inspires you?
Indonesia has so many natural resources, has a lot of materials and many customers.

But we are quickly satisfied and in our comfort zone in Indonesia.

After I traveled around the world, I saw other places that do not have human resources and that have strong rules.

People like Kang Aip who can encourage young people. My greatest inspiration is Kang Aip who always encourages the youth of the community to always work and be creative.

What is your dream for Batiktuk – where to next?
The latest is developing clay into ceramics and we are currently making a new ceramic studio. Also for a fabric world, a fabric lab, which is intended for foreigners who want to research or make project works in Indonesia especially in Yogyakarta.

Other dreams are to work with some local and foreign designers, Batiktuk will give some patterns, including Lulu Lutfi Labibi Yogayakarta designer for stone pattern. There is also Vederiko from Italy with mushroom pattern. So this time must make identities that fit with the collaborator.

How does To~ko help you develop as a young business?
We chose To~ko as the first place to stock Batiktuk because it has the same spirit of production systems and work patterns as we do. That is work carried out by way of community, work patterns based on community, that is, networking and gathering together it is very good to exchange experience.

For To~ko we joined in 2016, the store is a mirror of the creators, the conceptors. How to show itself through the product is actually the point and ethos of To~ko. The store becomes an important part in seeing our competent local creators.

It is a collective environment, we are all responsible for developing the store and building the energy.