February 16, 2016

Latitude Batiks

Keeping a secret like this is so hard, but at last, i'm happy
to introduce Latitude Batiks.
In creating my first line of batiks with Moda Fabrics and their artisans on the island of Java, i was reminded of hand-spinning the world globe in my grade school library. I'd close my eyes and spin the globe then stop it with my index finger. Wherever it landed, i'd zoom off to colorful, exotic places i could only begin to imagine. Those horizontal lines of latitude around the belly of the world were the guides i'd follow to find my way back to home. I've always loved maps for the dreams and journeys they inspire. And in collaborating on this fabric collection, some of all that came to life.
Section of a 17th century map of Java and Surrounding Areas
I had a feeling you'd scroll down to the fabric photos (am i right?), but wanted to share how interested i was to learn that Java is home to about 150 million people, or about half the number of us in the United States, and it's just a bit bigger than Pennsylvania. Surakarta (also known as Solo) in central Java is where the Latitude batiks were made by hand. Surakarta is not only a major center for dyed batik fabric, but also the historic royal capital of Java. There is a batik museum there. On October 2, 2009, UNESCO designated the art of batik-making on Java as a "Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity." Since then, October 2nd has become National Batik Day in Indonesia. I hope to get there some day to thank the team who did such great work in making these for me, Moda, and, I hope, for you!

Having never designed batiks before – other than as part of a summer camp project – i thought a good place to start would be "at home" with familiar prints and colors so i could see what happens to the designs and colors throughout the process. Because of this, Latitude includes some favorite prints from my previous Moda collections including Fandango, Terrain, Sunnyside, and Paradiso, along with some new ones, that i interpreted and simplified for batik. The artisans in Java took it from there and brought their incredible talents and skill to our collaboration. I specially selected the palette to include colors that will coordinate with almost all of my collections, including the most recent ones, Canyon and Aria.

 I have also never tried to use batiks in my quilting before. Have you? It's probably because i felt somewhat intimidated by not having a sense of how they can work together. So i figured i'd better get busy and dip a toe in. I picked out a range of blues and intended to make only a small block of 1.5" squares, but ended up quadrupling it and making this block because i wanted to see the full effect of the gradient created by the color placement. Now i can see a whole quilt – but these pieces are way too small! Maybe this will become a pillow... or...?
I'd love to see what you make with Latitude! Please hashtag #LatitudeBatiks when you post on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter. I look forward to seeing the special places that you take these fabrics to, to color your world.

P.S.: Latitude will also coordinate with a future line that I'll be telling you about in May ;)