Batik Patterns on Handmade Soap

Special thanks to Jessica Laksono.

 

You can also view this article in our official WeChat account:

For English : TBC

For Chinese : TBC


ABOUT KALA

KALA was founded by Mia and Elza Tedjosaputro, in May 2020. KALA provides high quality stylish home decor and accessories that highlight a few simple attainable changes towards an eco-friendly lifestyle. There is always an Indonesian touch ensuring we empower our craftsmen and promote Indonesian culture and craftsmanship. KALA’s specific design language is the use of natural materials and artisanal, with a sense of play of texture and product functionality. We are based in Indonesia and China.

Continue Reading

Batik as a storyteller of Indonesian culture

Batik illustrates the use of traditional hot melted wax and natural dye pattern making.

Infography by KALA

Did you know Indonesian Batik has more than 5,849 patterns and this figure is increasing as time goes by? Indonesia is an archipelago country that has 13,466 islands and 640 local languages ​​(source: UNESCO). This is one of the main reasons why Indonesia is a country that is very rich in culture. The difference between its regions can be seen from the uniqueness of each batik pattern.

Each batik pattern represents the culture of each region, and each has meaning interpreted through strokes, colours, dots, and other elements in the batik pattern.

For example, Papua, the easternmost region of Indonesia, has the ‘cendrawasih’ bird (‘bird of paradise’) of which the majority live in Papua. Because of that, they designated ‘cendrawasih’ birds for their batik pattern as something to show their identity. Meanwhile, Bali is a region that is surrounded by the sea. The main livelihood of the Balinese people is fishing. Therefore, we can see fish and shrimp in their batik pattern ‘ulamsari mas’ batik. And there are many more.

Indonesian Batik also has developed over time, from ancient batik that can be worn only by royal families, to contemporary batik that anybody can wear. Even though there are many modern batik patterns out there, the process by which each pattern of batik is born is what makes batik feel so authentic. The culture that batik brings, the life story, moral messages contained in the batik pattern- that’s what makes batik special.

Indonesian batik has its own charm that can be interpreted in many forms- it can either make the wearer feel royal, composed, elegant, glamorous, or even cheerful according to the whim of the maker.

Photo by Mahmur Maganti on Unsplash
Photo by Camille Bismonte on Unsplash

KALA’s own batik design comes in two different colours, red and green. We custom print based on demand (there is no waste) in three different countries: China, the UK and Indonesia. The scarf’s size is 75x75cm. They can also be used for bandanas, gift wrappers or to upgrade your handbag handles by giving them a personal touch. In different form factors, we also do custom print for canvas printed wall hung purposes.

Custom print fleece blanket in the UK, photo by Zara Morgan

Text by: Jessica Laksono

 

KALA official WeChat account

You can also view this article in our official WeChat account:

For English : Click here

For Chinese : Click here


ABOUT KALA

KALA was founded by Mia and Elza Tedjosaputro, in May 2020. KALA provides high quality stylish home decor and accessories that highlight a few simple attainable changes towards an eco-friendly lifestyle. There is always an Indonesian touch ensuring we empower our craftsmen and promote Indonesian culture and craftsmanship. KALA’s specific design language is the use of natural materials and artisanal, with a sense of play of texture and product functionality. We are based in Indonesia and China.

Continue Reading

Thank you for leaving your thoughts

Questionnaire raffle prizes are already on their way!


ABOUT KALA

KALA was founded by Mia and Elza Tedjosaputro, in May 2020. KALA provides high quality stylish home decor and accessories that highlight a few simple attainable changes towards an eco-friendly lifestyle. There is always an Indonesian touch ensuring we empower our craftsmen and promote Indonesian culture and craftsmanship. KALA’s specific design language is the use of natural materials and artisanal, with a sense of play of texture and product functionality. We are based in Indonesia and China.

Continue Reading

Eco-camping trips

S24O (bike and camp) mini adventure!

Matt and I are blessed to be living not far from the great outdoors of Ningbo. When regular couples will book the most romantic dinner in favourite places on Valentine’s Day, we wanted to avoid the crowd. We indulge ourselves by going camping quite often in different seasons- in particular, to places which can be reached by bikes. So here is the time when we left our expensive road bikes at home and took the touring bikes instead.

I was mesmerised by the bamboo weaving technique

Biking and camping are not a novel outdoorsy combination. This article illustrates how taking inspiration from nature has a great impact on how the KALA brand is shaped and is being developed. My great interest in natural materials as KALA’s design direction was a result of this too. The trip itself did not cost much as we cycled all the way there and carried our own gear and water.

Half way up the mountains and after the rain

Both Matt and I are not natural living zealots (nowhere near- we still carry plastic wrappers during our camping trips, for instance the crisps or baguette bag) but we also try to take small steps to reduce our less ideal consumption behaviour.

So we set off on Valentine’s Day (which was also our wedding anniversary) with two bikes. Matt carried most of the gear as usual (sleeping system and cooking gear) and I carried the tent and my camera in a special camera bag for bikes. The journey itself it was quite short, a mere 21km away with a 430+ metre climb. It turned to be a beautiful afternoon once we were done getting rained on. D’oh!

From the top of While Cloud Cliff, the most local range of mountains to home
Home to the campsite, a whopping 21km in total

We got to the campsite at 5pm, just enough time to set the tent up before it got dark. There is no road light (nor any light) around the campsite. We found the site a few years back, during one of those adventurous and ‘see where this road takes us to’ kind of moments, but it didn’t link to any other roads.

Tent was up in no time as the sun was setting

KALA’s own insulated cup made for good company, it keeps our hot beverage (necessary when it got cooler once the sun set) warmer for longer. Tip: You can find this product in KALA’s Weidian online shop.

KALA’s bamboo insulated cup, it comes with a handle too

Like most camping people, we like the idea of camp cooking. We did not have the luxury of a campfire however. To save taking a small chopping board and the whole onion on the bikes, I pre-chopped one and put it in the re-usable beeswax wrapper. It was one of KALA’s products too (will be back with the coolest batik patterns KALA designed). I reused a bread tie I have been collecting every time we buy bread. Completely zero waste, I get to wash the wrapper and re-use the bread tie again. Valentine’s day’s main menu was beef with creamy corn soup, with a baguette to share for dipping. Just humble comfort food.

KALA’s reusable beeswax wrapper- they will be back in stock soon with a new design
Onion wrapped in the beeswax wrapper
A handy tip for your bread ties, any door handles will do great to store them.

The sky was so clear that night and we got to see stars. We retired early (8pm) after sharing a bottle of wine we picked up in the nearest town (Hengxi) and the night was windier than we thought.

Mornings at the campsite are the ones to look forward to. Although the view was not as spectacular as the day before (a bit foggy), the tea plantations and the mountains still looked as majestic as they always are.

Morning view from the campsite (less clear than the day before)

KALA’s bamboo drip coffee filter was in service, brewing a slow coffee. We did not take the stand for convenience, but the insulated cup was a good size (tall enough) making sure the filter is not merged in the coffee (which can result in clogging). Because the bamboo filter is light, it was perfect for this kind of mission.

KALA’s bamboo drip coffee filter

I hope this short journey gives you inspiration for local adventures which are eco-friendlier, fun and memorable.

Products used on this trip which you can purchase from us are:

  • KALA bamboo drip coffee filter
  • KALA insulated bamboo cup
KALA official WeChat account

You can also view this article in our official WeChat account:

For English : https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/lueQxP31YUefeWGmU_eLaw

For Chinese : https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/n_EHnlE4Y-Uj6DeZeCU2Gg


ABOUT KALA

KALA was founded by Mia and Elza Tedjosaputro, in May 2020. KALA provides high quality stylish home decor and accessories that highlight a few simple attainable changes towards an eco-friendly lifestyle. There is always an Indonesian touch ensuring we empower our craftsmen and promote Indonesian culture and craftsmanship. KALA’s specific design language is the use of natural materials and artisanal, with a sense of play of texture and product functionality. We are based in Indonesia and China.

Continue Reading

About KALA, our brand

The overdue introduction of the brand!

ABOUT KALA AND MIA

KALA (China and Indonesia) was born in mid- 2020, as a subsidiary of Aksen Putra Mandiri. It is Mia’s family company (est in 2001), and she oversees the architecture and design arm of the company. KALA as a brand itself is in an infant stage and we operate on a very small scale from Ningbo, China and Surabaya, Indonesia.

KALA’s bamboo- related products are produced by hand in Indonesia by our own artisanal teams. Indonesia is where the product development is brewed. Our specific product design direction is on the use of natural materials. At the same time, we would like to raise awareness of eco-friendlier living in the form of day-to-day products. There is always Indonesian touch in what we design and curate, giving a nod to Mia’s cultural heritage. We aim to celebrate craftmanship through our product design and collaborations.

KALA official WeChat account
KALA online shop in Weidian (accessible via WeChat)

Any feedback on KALA’s products are greatly appreciated, please drop a line to [email protected] or Mia’s WeChat ( ID: miatedjosaputro ).

Continue Reading

KALA x Umah Empus: Java (coffee) but not from Java!

KALA x UMAH EMPUS: ABOUT THE COLLABORATION

Non-native speakers may not be aware of this, but the English slang “java”- meaning coffee- originated with the import to Europe of coffee from Java island- the main island in the Indonesian archipelago.

These beans though are from a plantation called Umah Empus, which is located in Central Aceh, in Sumatra, Indonesia. This is a family business established in 1980 with its headquarters in the nation’s capital of Jakarta and the connection with Ningbo is through Elmira, who although she isn’t currently working in the family business, is an alumnus of the University of Nottingham (Ningbo) and is now based here in Ningbo.

Picture courtesy of Umah Empus

This practice exercises respectable sourcing with an Indonesian touch (KALA’s cultural heritage), hence this collaboration. The plantation specialises in the Arabica Gayo bean, which is the classic favourite from Takengon, but also produces Robusta Kerinci, and these are the two flavours offered here by KALA.

Picture courtesy of Umah Empus

The beans are processed using a wet technique, fermented overnight, washed and air dried until the water percentage is 13-14%, and the skin is removed. Subsequently they are hand- sorted. This results in a semi-washed roast.

Picture courtesy of Umah Empus
Picture courtesy of Umah Empus

The flavour is quite distinct and coffee afficionados will appreciate the unique variations between the beans: Arabica Gayo and Robusta Kerinci.

Picture courtesy of Umah Empus
Picture courtesy of Umah Empus

Indonesian coffee is quite different from its African and South American counterparts, and usually drunk “muddy” (for example, Kopi Warung- “Kopi” is “coffee” and “Warung” is a kind of roadside food vendor) in that the grounds are left to settle in the cup rather than being filtered like you’re probably used to, but you can prepare it any way you like. We use our bamboo filters while we’re out and about, or a standard drip coffee machine while we’re at home. Find them in our Weidian link (attached in the photograph) or send Mia a private message (WeChat ID: miatedjosaputro ).

KALA’s bamboo drip coffee filter

The labels were chosen based on an online poll which we conducted, with two lucky winners in the associated random prize draw receiving a packet each of this exciting new product (well, new to Ningbo!). Thank you kindly for those who spent time to fill in the survey, we will use the chosen two labels.

Thank you for participating the survey!
The chosen two label design!

 

You can also view this article in our official WeChat account:

For English : https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/859x8ai4p32XKm3y0S_ySQ

For Chinese (中文) : https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/85nJ3oDYCYqK-Btn008ZTg


ABOUT KALA

KALA was founded by Mia and Elza Tedjosaputro, in May 2020. KALA provides high quality stylish home decor and accessories that highlight a few simple attainable changes towards an eco-friendly lifestyle. There is always an Indonesian touch ensuring we empower our craftsmen and promote Indonesian culture and craftsmanship. KALA’s specific design language is the use of natural materials and artisanal, with a sense of play of texture and product functionality. We are based in Indonesia and China.

Continue Reading

KALA x Lucky: Bamboo hoop organiser

Our second alternative of re-using discarded element!

Lucky (李琴芬) is KALA’s fourth collaborator we kick started in January 2021. Her pivotal part started in December 2020 in relation to the batik scarves, she made sure the edges are cut and trimmed properly. She is a Ningbo- based tailor and has been making clothes since the age of 17. That is nearly 50 years of experience she is sharing with us!

Lucky with my friend Ada when we came to visit her in February 2021

This collaboration looks at another discarded item and turn them into a functional yet relatable product for your cosy home. It has twofold aims: one is to facilitate your ideas from your own otherwise discarded fabric, and the other one is to provide a ready to be used tool/ utensil organiser curated by the KALA team.

About the “B-hoop” organiser.

B-hoop stands for “bamboo hoop organiser”, made of bamboo embroidery hoop (diameter 30cm). The hoop is made of bamboo, with the specific advantage of the ready to be exploited hanging system, by using the metal clamp. They function as organisers for your art & craft tools, your stationery and many more.

A couple of options for you:

  1. If you have a particular cloth you’d like to turn into one of these, feel free to WeChat Mia to discuss about it. Otherwise,
  2. KALA’s own premade B-hoop retails at 88RMB each. You can choose from 4 options as follows (while stocks last).

You can also view this article in our official WeChat account:

For English : https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/J_N5RouPhnErBYrz0-i_Mg

For Chinese (中文) : https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/7DOSM3TFdiPXMXlyliSTkA


ABOUT KALA

KALA was founded by Mia and Elza Tedjosaputro, in May 2020. KALA provides high quality stylish home decor and accessories that highlight a few simple attainable changes towards an eco-friendly lifestyle. There is always an Indonesian touch ensuring we empower our craftsmen and promote Indonesian culture and craftsmanship. KALA’s specific design language is the use of natural materials and artisanal, with a sense of play of texture and product functionality. We are based in Indonesia and China.

Continue Reading

KALA x Cathay: Plant based fabric colouring

Learning from our plant-based dyeing expert, Cathay Lv!

I met Cathay at a Christmas market in Ningbo, I purchased a lovely scarf from her and we exchanged contacts. When I learnt that she produced a beautiful range of colour from plants, I got excited. We have been co-creating ever since. I sat down with her and she kindly shared her vision, stories and her plant-based dyeing processes!

Photograph courtesy of Cathay

What is your full name and your studio’s name? 

吕瑜瑜 (Cathay Lv) 支梨手创 (Zhi Li Shou Chuang) is the studio name

How long have you been living in Ningbo? Do you have a studio?

More than three years in Ningbo, the dyeing studio is in preparation (there is a small garment factory in Taizhou, we can design our own plant dyed clothing)

Tell us a story about how you started dyeing please. What is your favourite part of it?

Photograph courtesy of Cathay

I used to be a costume designer, an amateur who likes to play with all kinds of crafts. When I went holiday to Yunnan to practice, like the local dyeing and oxidation out of a variety of blue patterns, I became fascinated. Later saw a Japanese documentary about an old craftsman who cultivated red flowers, hand-dyed lines, weaved, made traditional gothic items, and extracted soft and delicate red and yellow from plants; it had incomparable beauty in contrast to chemical dyeing. But it is also a pity that in China, where planting and dyeing has been going on for thousands of years, it is now on the verge of being lost.

Three years ago at a fabric exhibition, I met someone from a professional plant dyeing factory, they transitioned from chemical dyeing to plant dyeing and had been doing exploration and research for ten years- I was very moved! It turns out there are a lot of people passing on this skill! Then I began to try plant dyeing, got to know more and more people in the same way, and my technique slowly progressed. After the outbreak time I increased production, so I could sell the finished products and put them on the market for sale, many people liked the original products!

My favourite is the colour drop process! Plant dyeing is a natural vegetable dye, over time the colour will slowly weather, and for different raw materials different fabric materials the weathering process is different, the colour is quaint and gentle, each stage has a different beauty. It is the colour of life!

Tell us about the process of dyeing.

The main colours are red, yellow and blue- the three primary colours, other colours are based on the three primary colours. For the staining process (e.g. tie-dye blue): 1 cloth treatment, soaking/ cleaning/ de-pulping, etc.; 2 tie out the desired pattern; 3 put it in the dyeing cylinder; 4 oxidation; 5 repeated dyeing; 6 rinsing; 7 soap washing; 8 cleaning; 9 drying.

Tell us about the plant- based dye you use and how did you process them?

Photograph courtesy of Cathay

Main materials: dyed blue with blue indigo, red with soy wood, yellow with hazelnuts (Other materials can also produce red/ yellow). They are all cooked to make dye. The plant materials are put in water to boil at high temperatures, the strong colour is boiled out, and then dye is produced (I put different media to change the PH value, different fabrics will have different colours).

What do you think about KALA x Cathay collaboration?

I like this cooperation very much! KALA and I are using natural materials, hand-crafted, our philosophy is the same, I hope to cooperate to achieve good results. KALA has a concept of recycling that gives me some inspiration, and maybe I can use old clothes to dye them a new colour.

—-

KALA also carries some of Cathay’s existing line, at the same time we practice good co-creating design process by brainstorming product(s) that share the values of both sides. Namely KALA’s and Cathay’s own design values.

Coming up next, part of KALA x Cathay collaboration

Hand- crafted wrist bags. They were coloured by plant- based dye, by a local artisan. Two internal pockets. Fits large sized takeout coffee cups (St*rbucks etc.). Heavy duty cotton construction. Two interlocking handles provide a secure, ergonomic carrying position.

Classic cotton sun hats. Cotton, coloured by plant-based dye. Internal drawcord for size adjustment. Moderate softening in the brim (not stiff, not floppy either). Please specify the darker or lighter tone.

You can also view this article in our official WeChat account:

For English : https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/m_WdzlN-mRbe149Thw1yuw

For Chinese (中文) : https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/9Wz5_hnvW8BuWpBdwSfUwg


ABOUT KALA

KALA was founded by Mia and Elza Tedjosaputro, in May 2020. KALA provides high quality stylish home decor and accessories that highlight a few simple attainable changes towards an eco-friendly lifestyle. There is always an Indonesian touch ensuring we empower our craftsmen and promote Indonesian culture and craftsmanship. KALA’s specific design language is the use of natural materials and artisanal, with a sense of play of texture and product functionality. We are based in Indonesia and China.

Continue Reading

KALA x Gwen: Turn and re-use glass jars into soy wax candles

Giving your used glass jars some extra life!

At this beginning of 2021, we are celebrating craftsmanship by initiating four collaborations with local artisans in Ningbo, China. One of the four is Gwen, a Ningbo based candle maker. We are launching our joint initiative to re-use glass jars. I am pretty sure you will echo this sentiment of not enough projects to re-use the empty glass jars (apart from your favourite jam, pickles, sundried tomatoes, peanut butter, and many more). Well, I do.

It all clicked when I met Gwen (阿滚), the idea of giving more life (many more because you can keep sending them to us!) to these glass jars seem to resonate with both of us. In particular, it also ticks this idea of small steps towards more sustainable living in the most attainable form, the design language that KALA uses in each of our product. Now allow us to present the initiative we have been brewing for the last week or so.

Add Mia’s WeChat to get the delivery details and confirm your order. You can send us your jars (ideally labels will have been peeled and cleaned), and we’ll do the magic. You might want to wait for a bit as we’ll do them in batches of 5 jars to do it more efficiently. Prices can be found in the graphic below and delivery back to you is included.

An introduction about Gwen can be found in subsequent article.

Also if you have been practicing this DIY in your leisure time, do feel free to share to us your DIY tips. We would love to hear from them.

Important note: only for Shanghai and Zhejiang areas. Unless you have a big batch (>10) coming to us, it is not exactly environmentally friendly to ship them from all over the country- perhaps consider saving them up and doing a bulk order with your friends!

You can also view this article in our official WeChat account:

For English :  https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/awUP2E4j81Ll1SGBUsJnag

For Chinese (中文) : https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/58wkn2k00SSiLSXxul36zQ


ABOUT KALA

KALA was founded by Mia and Elza Tedjosaputro, in May 2020. KALA provides high quality stylish home decor and accessories that highlight a few simple attainable changes towards an eco-friendly lifestyle. There is always an Indonesian touch ensuring we empower our craftsmen and promote Indonesian culture and craftsmanship. KALA’s specific design language is the use of natural materials and artisanal, with a sense of play of texture and product functionality. We are based in Indonesia and China.

Continue Reading

KALA x Pan Xiao Xing: “Cro-net” bag

ABOUT ‘CRO-NET’ BAG

In a previous article (click here), we introduced the nature of our collaboration. There is a wee bit about Pan Xiao Xing, how we met, design processes including our prototyping stage. In this article I would like to reveal a glimpse of how the final products look. We were thinking about bold colours to distinguish from other produce net bags. The bamboo handles serve as homage to the other KALA products which are mostly made of bamboo or other natural materials.

Using chain stitch (abbreviated in patterns as “ch”) technique using a 7mm diameter needle, these chains allow V stitches to occur. The three-dimensional form is achieved through crossing the stitches. Made of cotton yarn, the stitched mesh has a stretchy property. This in turn creates a unique affordance for the produce bag. They stretch as we put in more weight. The bag is ideal for medium and larger- sized fruits as the openings are bigger than usual net bags and as such, they are less recommended for smaller items such as mini carrots or cherry tomatoes without putting them in another small produce bag (ideally paper or washable cotton), as they will find their way out of the bag.

It is something we want to hear your opinions about, so please make sure send us your thoughts about the bag via email ( [email protected]) or drop a line to Mia via WeChat (QR as follows).

You can also find this writing in our official WeChat account.

For English : https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/GL1xazlSTvsnluQksv2dew

For Chinese (中文) : https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/Uk-T6E2aKd58w0TZ9quYZg


ABOUT KALA

KALA was founded by Mia and Elza Tedjosaputro, in May 2020. KALA provides high quality stylish home decor and accessories that highlight a few simple attainable changes towards an eco-friendly lifestyle. There is always an Indonesian touch ensuring we empower our craftsmen and promote Indonesian culture and craftsmanship. KALA’s specific design language is the use of natural materials and artisanal, with a sense of play of texture and product functionality. We are based in Indonesia and China.

Continue Reading