In 1922 a remarkable man was born in Pekalongan. He was a joyful man who loved a challenge. When he became old, he joked to his son that he would like to swap ages because he was still so very full of the possibilities of life. The 89 years that he was allotted were too short for him. In his home where his daughter continues to lives, there is a cartoon of him hanging on the wall. Beside his head, in big letters, a single word that characterizes his life is written: “THINK”.
|Kadir's son and daughter in their ancestral home.
|furniture made with water hyacinths
None of these materials are new today, but he was the first in his region to make use of them. He transformed waste newspapers into weft and he batikked towels. He also invented a remarkable technique that he called “banun” that collapses batik (the “ba” part of the word) and tenun (the Indonesian name given to woven unbatikked cloth, the “nun” part of the word).
The technique works like this. First a length of cloth is woven. A pattern is then wax-drawn, as though to make a batik, onto the finished cloth. The cloth is then dyed, dried and unwoven. Then the batik-dyed warp is re-woven with a new weft. This is why Kadir’s son and daughter explained to me that the cloth was “woven twice”. Why would one go to so much effort when it would be just as easy to ikat pattern the warp yarns? Moreover, there would be no waste in the form of discarded weft. “Because people here are willing to weave, but they are not willing to tie ikat patterns” was the response. The technique coincides with a social circumstance.
|unwoven warp up to the not yet unwoven part
|Batak textile "fake" made by Kadir's children