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Jakarta Post

Merdi Sihombing: Weaving an adventure

  • Bruce Emond

    The Jakarta Post

PREMIUM
Jakarta   /   Sun, May 18 2008   /  10:48 am
(JP/Ricky Yudhistira)(JP/Ricky Yudhistira)

(JP/Ricky Yudhistira) Merdi Sihombing declares proudly that he has a bit of a nationalist streak. The onetime designer of the va-va-voom bustiers favored by entertainers has found his calling in reviving the tradition of woven arts. Batik is where it's at today in its much-trumpeted embracing by designers and their socialite devotees, but Merdi Sihombing knows there is much more to be found in the treasure trove of traditional fabrics of the archipelago. Ikat, weavings, embroideries -- no, batik is not the be all and end all of what the nation has to offer. "Batik, batik, batik," says the designer, who half-jokingly reproves me for addressing him by the Javanese term of mas. "I don't agree with that. Indonesia's weavings are even richer than batik." But he does take heart from the success of the drive to modernize batik, to take it ...