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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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KALA x Pan Xiao Xing: about the collaboration

The first of four KALA collaborations with local artisans in 2021.

I met Pan Xiaoxing (潘小星) at the Ningbo Coffee Festival in December and she was one of the vendors. I don’t possess skills related to knitting needles (or crotchet hooks), it always piques my interest. This was not long after our KALA brand in Indonesia (run by my baby sister) did collaborations about personalised Christmas hampers with a crotchet maker, a macrame maker, and an artisanal baker. Suddenly it clicked. I showed Pan what we do in Indonesia, our special Christmas theme crotchet work, and we exchanged contacts.

The honour is KALA’s to be collaborating with her and we also want to learn from her. The intricacy of crotchet to create three dimensional objects amazes me. Selected products from Pan will be available on the KALA platform.

Cro-net on prototyping stage, we tested on fruits and vegs

We also want to practice good collaborative work and share the idea of co-creating. Together we create new products which reflect both design principles and directions, be they KALA’s and Pan’s. For instance, our first co-creation is the crotchet produce bags with bamboo handles and shoulder straps. We call them “Cro-net bag”. The produce bags are great substitutes for plastic bags for groceries. Cro-net is distinctive (made of crocheted natural materials which are worked by hand) and you can switch between the bamboo handles and shoulder straps easily according to your needs. And this bag, I am sure, is just the beginning of our collaboration.

Cro-net highlights KALA’s small steps to promote more sustainable living and at the same time it highlights Pan’s exquisite crotchet techniques. They are handcrafted, each one of them by Pan. Final products options are blue and green.



Pan hand crafting Cro-nets (the Crotchet Net produce bags)

ABOUT PAN XIAO XING

The brand was created in 2013 and it started with coffee and craft shops. As a hobby, Pan likes to make all kind of hand crafts including weaving, wood art, cloth art etc. She likes to hand create. In the last two years gradually the brand becomes a full-time artisanal studio in her hometown Taizhou, Tiantai County.

Pan is taking us to the journey on how to make Cro-net, from a simple sketch to finished products:



Step-by-step making processes

Due to the artisanal nature of the product, we are launching the first few through Mia (Wechat ID: miatedjosaputro), or scan her QR code as follow. Available in GREEN and BLUE. They are also available in Weidian.

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

For English : https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/y-oxoCoZ10oUQ7dthldmtA

For Chinese (中文) : https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/IDZqyHlnVzy72PjmuMfm-A


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.

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Batik for Christmas

Batik uses a wax-resist dyeing process to produce patterns and colours, is a traditional Indonesian craftsmanship/ After an online training with Luki a couple of weeks ago, I decided to make something Chrismast related to put my knowledge into practice. Fast forward a week, I managed to visualise my design in three countries: the UK, China and in Indonesia. Printed locally in each country and shipped domestically so it is more environmentally friendly.

The two design have turned into: fleecy blanket, canvas panting and summer scarves. Here is what I received in China, felling chuffed to wear my own design. Design by me for KALA, our product design line.

Merry Christmas!

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KALA: Christmas Hampers +62

Delivery in Indonesia (+62) only.

Hi all, not to scare you off the upcoming Christmas vibe. Just putting it out there in case you need to work on your gift ideas.

KALA is subsidiary brand of Aksen, and it is our product design line. KALA focuses on the use natural materials with Indonesian touch, promoting attainable yet sustainable lifestyle in form of day-to-day products. We design, produce and work with our team of artisans in Magetan.

For our Christmas line, we curated distinctive 5 basic sets allowing for highly personalised hamper sets, in collaboration with 3 local artisans (a baker, macrame maker and crotchet maker).

Basic set (starts from IDR 75k per set) + add-ons you can choose from the list.

Any queries, via WA please drop a line at +62 812 1115 5532 or via a direct message in IG: @kalaartdecor

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KALA: Sept and October 2020 Events

I am pleased to report that KALA had busy couple of months 🙂 We joined two markets in September and two markets (including one virtual market) in October. KALA products are also in semi permanent display in Shanghai, in Eco Pop Up Shop @Upbund and the Eco Pop Up Shop @Daning, taking part of Eco Design Fair China’s community.

The Indonesia Fair (22-24 September 2020) was a memorable one as KALA was invited along with 8 other big Indonesian brands, those I grew up knowing about them. Such as Indomie, Kapal Api, etc. The event was organised by the Indonesian Consulate in Shanghai and ITPC (Indonesia Trade Promotion Centre) Shanghai.

KALA was also at the Health and Wellness Festival in Shanghai, the two-days home decor virtual market and the Eco Market @UpBund.

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KALA: an introductory video by me

I compiled a short video about KALA, an infant brand founded by myself and my sister Elza in 2020. Nowhere near a professional video, but this encompasses what we envisage KALA as a brand. It focuses on using natural materials in day-to-day products, contributing to small steps on the use of more sustainable materials as part of our daily life.

Inspirations come from time I spent in the nature in Ningbo particularly, the vast bamboo forests and mountains as we cycle, camp, hike during the weekends. Other inspirations also come from summer spent in the UK as my second home.

KALA is a subsidiary brand of our family company based in Indonesia and China, Aksen. Aksen celebrates its 19th year anniversary this year and I am heading the design branch in Ningbo, China and in Surabaya, Indonesia. We now operate in both countries, hoping to expand to the UK soon.

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