Something I don’t share very often is my modest collection of batik textiles. They date back to a short span of years between the late eighties, and early nineties. I know this because they belonged to my mother, and that was the timeframe in which she visited Bali and Java. I guess I don’t share these pieces because I’m reluctant to chop them up. That’s pretty much what I’m doing most of the time: I dismantle things, and make new things out of the pieces.
This particular batik fabric was once an oval table cloth. After my mother died, I asked my father to send me her Balinese textiles, and this tablecloth was one of them. Mom liked these things as much as I do, but apparently she was never good at taking care of them. The damage indicated that it was left on the table for a really long time until the table corners ripped through the fabric. I figured this was a good opportunity as any to harvest this fabric, and make something new.
I like long scarves. I’m sure many of you know that by now. Most of the pieces I’ve designed have been in the range of eight to ten feet. Visually, I’m drawn to this aesthetic. I like thinner, finer fabrics with lot’s of area. If I want it thicker, I can wrap it around twice or even three times.
All together there are six pieces in this patchwork, seamed together with running stitches, then triple whip stitched. There was a lot of ironing and measuring involved. You may have noticed that I leave the raw edges. I like them. In time they will fray, but the whip stitching holds things in place. Something else I did was orient the folds of the seams so that verticals sat on one side, and horizontals sat on the other. Again, this was just me celebrating those raw edges. All together, this piece measures 20in (50cm) wide by 108in (274cm) long.
I never saw this table cloth on the kitchen table in our house on Guam. I wasn’t living on the island anymore at that point, I was here in California. But this piece let’s me be there on that hot little island in the Pacific. There were plants everywhere, and a beach down the street, and humidity that would eat your table linens alive.