"I was surprised and felt proud one day, when my handwoven sample was bought by a beautiful woman who said my design is very comfortable to wear."
I'm Rudi Wijoyo. Parents and friends know me as a creative person. I'd say I'm a person who loves new things. I like soccer and tennis and love gardening, especially organic gardening. I'm a married man and God hasn't yet blessed me with children. My wife is from Sumatera in the western part of Indonesia and they have different cultures that sometimes also inspire my designs.
I was born in 1985 in Jogjakarta province to a simple family. My parents are elementary school teachers. Our region is dry where almost no water can be found. Maybe that's why I wanted to be a fireman when I was a little boy.
Our life is very basic and once we went through a very tough situation. It was a long dry season and my father and I had to go to get what little water we could from a faraway well. This made me think about how money cannot always save us, especially when we face problems from nature. We as people can only make the efforts, but God will determine the result. And if you think it isn't satisfying you, then you have to think about the paths you chose and check whether the ways you took are right or not. All problems we face are actually to train us to be more mature, and to not be scared or feel ashamed to learn new things.
At school, I wasn't a clever one but wasn't the least intelligent, either. In classes, I always ranked in the middle. I was also impressed by my neighbor, who is a photographer. That inspired me to be a creative person. When I was 23 years old, I began working as a photographer's assistant, then became a teacher at a university in the city.
I started focusing on batik in 2015 because I realized that our batik can go international if we blend it with modern contemporary fashion. I found the current fashion in America at that time was batik with natural dyes. I'm Javanese and feel that I should able to introduce our batiks to the world.
I learned about batik from many sources, since every single craftsperson has a personal specialty. I made many experiments. I was surprised and felt proud one day, when my handwoven sample was bought by a beautiful woman who said my design is very comfortable to wear.
I do the designs and quality control with the help of two tailors and five other people who assist me. My inspiration comes mostly from Java's rich cultures, and ideas can range from folktales, traditions, architecture and even food shapes and colors that will work with contemporary fashion. We use manual tools like the canting, which is a traditional pen for creating batik motifs, block stamps, tongs, and a stove.
I want to be closer to nature and this motivated me to use natural dyes. The natural indigo dye we use is from the fermented Indigofera plant. The waste is then used as compost to fertilize the indigo plant itself. This is a sustainable process.
I hope you will help my mission to introduce our batik to the world so I can make this project better and better. My dream is to create more work opportunities in my neighborhood so the younger generation can be productive and work nearby, not migrate to other provinces or even overseas.