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Who Put the “Boutique” in Batik?

Quarzia did. This boutique-chic little enterprise has been making slinky high art batik fashion in silk for years. Mixing a  Marimekko-meets-Peter-Max eye for pattern with a subtle sense of colour and an acute understanding of cut, their clothes have given gorgeousity to the gorgeous-in-the-know of Bali (mostly Italians) for quite … Continue reading

Best-Looking Bali Villas Site

Maison Bulle was Pierre Cardin’s kinky bubble house near Cannes where he welcomed the bright young things of Europe during his heyday. Now the name of Cardin’s Cannes crash pad has been recycled by a French expat for her super stylish website showcasing super special rental villas in Bali. There’s … Continue reading

Bactrian Gold on Tour in America

This is a dazzling travelling exhibition not to be missed. Hidden Treasures from the National Museum, Kabul is touring US museums until September of next year. The show includes over 200 pieces dating from 2200 BC to 200 AD, which were thought to have been looted from the National Museum … Continue reading

Java Folk Art Furniture Book

My old friend David Smith is an enigmatic character who divides his time between three islands: Bali, Java and Vashon Island near Seattle. His business is furniture, and he’s been collecting antiques in Java for 20 years. As the supply of antiques in the field dwindled, David shifted his focus … Continue reading

Bali Commercial Photog with Technical Saavy

I keep coming across the work of a particular Indonesian photographer, Imp Winartho. His Ubud royal cremation photos are among the most dramatic and technically perfect out there. Frankly, I don’t know how he managed to process his raw files and perfect his finished work so quickly, as his images … Continue reading

The Nature of Bali Fashion Week ’08

The theme of this year’s Bali Fashion Week is “Fashion Meets Nature.”  I’m not sure what that means in style terms, but be there from 24 to 30 August and find out for yourself. Perhaps bamboo bikinis and pineapple fiber Carmen Miranda tango dresses? Who knows. Anyhow, this is an … Continue reading

Best Photog Blog in Bali : Rio Helmi

Rio Helmi is one of the most extraordinary characters in Bali. He’s best known as a photographer of culture, travel, buildings and food (sometimes), but there is much more to him than that (as if that wasn’t enough). I wouldn’t be so presumptuous as to describe Rio here, and risk … Continue reading

Brains + Taste + Restraint = Curated.

I chose to use the word “restraint” here deliberately. Restraint as in “child restraints” or “self restraint.” The concept of restraint is something I sermonise about every day. Good design requires a lot of restraint. There are a tremendous number of wonderful products out there for interiors, from flooring to … Continue reading

It’s All Greek to Me

I love it when I see antique textiles serving as inspiration for new ones. And here is a lovely example: Naxos upholstery fabric by the Pollack Studio in a high-tech cotton blend, woven in Switzerland. The inspiration for this elegant jacquard seems to have been an embroidered pillow cover from the … Continue reading

Ogle Great Gold Online

The Asian Civilisations Museum in Singapore has an impressive collection of ancient ornament from South and Southeast Asia. Early Javanese pieces like this large Sri ring (7th-9th century), are one of the collection’s strengths. Many of the most beautiful gold ornaments exhibited, including this ring, were part of a substantial … Continue reading

Royal Cremation in Ubud

The royal cremation in Ubud yesterday was the biggest ever, and the best publicised. A media centre was set up for the event, marshalled by Edelman PR Indopacific. I think this must be the first cremation in Bali to have its own publicists and press office. And its own blog, … Continue reading

The Yak Awards 2008

Saturday night we went to the Yak Magazine‘s annual Yak Awards party at KuDeTa. It was fantastic fun with free flowing Moet, and vodka shots sloshing out of an ice sculpture at the oyster bar. Trays and trays of kinky canapes kept the usual Seminyak crazies from drinking on an … Continue reading

Pantai Lima Preview Party

Friday evening we were at a sneak preview party at Pantai Lima, a collection of five luxury villas on the beach in Pererenan.  Mary Justice, Bali’s PR whizz kid, pulled off this publicity coup with aplomb despite the unfinished state of the villas. She was looking distinctly piratical on the … Continue reading

Meditate on This

All is Buddha. Each form, each particle is a Buddha. One form is all Buddhas. All forms, all particles, are all Buddhas. All forms, sounds, scents, feelings, and phenomena are also like this, each filling all fields.       – Pai-chang This great truth can now be made manifest on … Continue reading

We Dig Kundig

Olson Sundberg Kundig Allen is one of my favourite architecture firms. So of course I am delighted that OSKA partner, Tom Kundig has won the Cooper Hewitt National Design Award 2008 in the architecture category. Bravo, Tom. His work and that of his partners and associates in this Seattle-based firm … Continue reading

Better Than Bling: Pyu Gold

The Pyu Empire was a network of  city-states which held power in what is now Burma, from the 3rd to the 9th century AD. The Pyu were Buddhists, and had a rich material culture which left behind, among other things, a wealth of gold beads and jewelry. The armlet above … Continue reading

Find Textile Info at Warp Speed

Find out about textiles fast. The Arthur D. Jenkins Library at the Textile Museum in Washington, D.C. has a fantastic online resource called “Textile Muse“. It’s a search  system for going through the library’s archives to find publications and visual material related to textiles of the world. Not only does … Continue reading

Your Coffee Table Wants This Tome

My friend and colleague, Bruce Carpenter just co-wrote a fine tome on the art of the Batak of North Sumatra, with Achim Sibeth, a leading scholar of Batak culture. The photographs are very good, and the collection which was the basis of the book is extraordinary in its breadth and … Continue reading

Interior Design, As It Should Be

One of our favourite interior design firms is Douglas Durkin Design. Douglas and his partner in the firm, Greg Elich, are two of the smartest, most honest and most genuinely talented designers out there. Specialising in high end residential work, the firm has grown exponentially since it was founded, exclusively … Continue reading

I’m Talking to a Jade Circle

I’m giving a lecture to the “Jade Circle” of the San Francisco Asian Art Museum on the 15th of July in Ubud. Donors who make significant financial contributions to the museum are granted membership in the “Jade Circle” which comes with a wealth of special privileges and programs. One of them … Continue reading

Beauty Breakout Behind Bars

Schapelle Corby, the celebrity inmate of Bali’s Kerobokan jail is in trouble again. She’s in for 20 years for smuggling drugs, in case you managed to miss this high profile case. Well, last week when her appeal of the sentence was denied, she came down with a bona fide case … Continue reading

Socialist Pays Social Visit to a Crumbling Palace

Sukmawati Soekarnoputri, daughter of Indonesia’s founding president Soekarno, is touring Bali this week. She is the chairman of PNI Marhaenisme, one of the political parties now vying for recognition in anticipation of Indonesia’s April 2009 presidential election. Sukmawati is a strikingly elegant and gracious lady, who during her tour of … Continue reading

Indonesian Textiles @ ArtIC

From last December until March an extraordinary exhibition of Indonesian textiles was up at the venerable Art Institute of Chicago, entitled The Art of Indonesian Textiles. It closed in March, so if you didn’t go, you missed it.  But you can still get the book, which is as extraordinary as … Continue reading

Parcours de Paris: Be There

The Parcours des Mondes is one of the most anticipated art fairs in the world for collectors of African, Oceanic, American Indian, pre-Columbian and Asian Art. Held every September in the Saint-Germain-des-Prés neighbourhood of Paris, the fair brings together over sixty exhibitors from around the world. This year, with new … Continue reading

The Design Library for Textilians

An amazing resource in New York State, serving the world.  The Design Library sells and licenses antique textile designs from their vast collection of original documentary textiles. Most of their clients are in home furnishing, fashion and graphic design industries.  They have satellite offices in London and Manhattan, and staff … Continue reading

Brussels Oriental Art Fair 2008

The Brussels Oriental Art Fair (BOAF) is an annual event that takes place in early June, concurrent with the Brussels Non-European Art Fair (BRUNEAF) and the Brussels Ancient Art Fair (BAAF). All three fairs are centred on the Sablon district of Brussels, which is a divine place to spend a … Continue reading

Southeast Asian Ceramics at the Sackler

Photos ©The Smithsonian Institute 2008 Clay vessels have been part of the everyday lives of the people of Southeast Asia for four millenia. Wherever there have been people, there have been pots, and the diversity of styles reflects the complexity of this region’s cultural heritage over time and across great … Continue reading

Rangda Comics?

Western popular culture often depicts Bali in strangely distorted ways. Case in point, the kitschy 1952 film, “Road to Bali” with Bing Crosby, Bob Hope and Dorothy Lamour. Here’s another popularised version of Bali: the Belgian comic book, “Barelli en Nusa Penida” by early ligne claire master Bob de Moor. … Continue reading

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