13 June 2010

Obama’s Mother’s Batik Collection (From Bali With Love)

We’re always interested in incorporating a little global glamour into our design scheme, so when we heard the president’s mother felt the same way—and has an exhibit at the Textile Museum in Washington, D.C. to prove it—we had to investigate.
Since Ann Dunham moved to Indonesia in the 1960s with her son Barack Obama, she has the unusual textiles, made using a wax-resistant process to apply different dyes to cotton. The late Dunham didn’t amass the rare or expensive pieces—instead she focused on contemporary finds from artisans living in Indonesia, like this batik-patterned sarong (above), in vivid greens, teals, blues, and purples.
Dunham’s lovely batiks, which she often spread out around her home as decorative accents, got us pondering about the ancient practice. Though Asian arts like block-printing and ikat weaving have recently become more mainstreamed by designers like John Robshaw and Madeline Weinrib, true batik is a bit harder to find. We did a little digging and came up with some lovely accent pieces made using batik. In small doses, we think the ancient art is an ideal way to add international flair to the home.  Check out some of our favorite finds, below:
This bold and graphic pillow in shades of indigo was crafted in Mali by local artisans. Indigo Batik Pillow, Squares, $58; AidtoArtisans.com
Royal Hut is a luxury linen brand focused on African textiles. This vibrant batik bedding collection pops in rich reds and sunny yellows. Merry Plain,RoyalHut.com
Our favorite shop for handcrafted goods is the perfect place to find batik designs on a smaller scale. These gold and yellow leaf-patterned napkins are a lovely accent for the table and easy to care for in cotton. Batik Napkins, $18 for 4; Etsy.com
The exhibit “Lady Found a Culture in its Cloth: Barack Obama's Mother and Indonesian Batiks” is open now through August 23rd. For more information visit the TextileMuseum.org —Leah Konen
Taken from Elle Decor.


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