Batiks in Bali: Extreme Quilting Tourism

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Craft tourism is a quickly growing travel trend. From scrapbooking and quilting cruises to card making retreats to quilting and yarn tours abroad, there are many possibilities for quilters, crafters, fiber artists, and artists period.

Why use good vacation time on a crafty tourist package?

For most fiber artists and quilters, it’s more than a hobby, it’s a passion. And craft tourism allows you to experience a whole new side to those artistic endeavors.

You can learn about the history, see new trends, walk through museums, and see how things are made first hand. With quilting or knitting cruises you often take classes from the greats in the industry and still get to see and do all the touristy things you would expect on vacation.

 

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One adventure that takes quilting tourism to the extreme is a unique batik Bali trip.

 

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This tour immerses you in all Bali has to offer while taking an exclusive look the batik industry.

Batik refers to a dying process for fabrics that uses wax. Batiks are made in several different countries including Singapore, Bali, Indonesia, and Malaysia to name a few.

 

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A batik craftsman shows his skills at Kuala Lumpur’s Jadi Batik Centre. Photo by Schubert Ciencia

 

The Bali Batik Tour is a once in a lifetime opportunity to see how batiks are made, learn about Balinese culture, make your own batiks, oh and, probably the biggest draw, purchase Bali batiks at a steal (sometimes $2.00 a meter!). Better leave a lot of room in your suitcase.

The Bali Batik Tour is offered through World of Quilts Travel and hosted by Deb Roberts Tours. Deb Roberts guides a number of tours worldwide.

 

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I reached out to one of my Rushin’ Tailor quilt shop co-workers who has traveled all over and went on the batik Bali tour herself.  I asked her a few questions about her experience to see if it was as amazing as it seemed.
Q. Would you recommend this tour for all quilt and fabric lovers?

A. “If you love learning, adventure and fabric, this is an awesome tour. It’s the right blend of scheduled activities, time on your own for exploring and thoughtful caretakers of you as a traveler. Yes, I do recommend this tour.”

Q. What were some of the unique things you learned about Bali and the batik industry?

A. “I was amazed at how labor intensive it was with a simple combination of minimal machinery and using natural resources to make a piece of batik. The “chops” or designs are handcrafted from copper and used by hand to print thousands of yards of fabric. The completion of the final batik is highly dependent on the weather as the dyed fabric is laid on the grass outside with the final chemicals and dye sprinkled on and set to dry in the sun. If it rains, no batiks can be finished.”

Q. How long had you been quilting before this and how did you hear of it?

“I had been quilting about 10 years but this would be an awesome trip for the novice quilter as well. I heard about it from a customer who visited Rushin Tailor while I was working in Skagway.”

Q. What impacted you the most from your tour?

A. “Bali is a beautiful country with highly devout people firmly set in their belief in karma.  How you treat the world greatly influences how the world treats you. The working wage is extremely low. When asked if he ever went to the KFC and McDonalds we saw, our guide exclaimed, ” I can’t afford to eat there” and when we asked him who did, he said “the tourists”! Revelatory!”

 

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To learn more about this exciting tour check out the Bali batik experience. It’s a smaller tour so it sells out QUICK. If batiks in Bali isn’t your cup of tea, there are so many quilting, crafting, and fiber arts related adventures just waiting for you.

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