Batik and Javanese Cultural Wisdom with Agus Ismoyo and Nia Fliam
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Batik and Javanese Cultural Wisdom with Agus Ismoyo and Nia Fliam

April 16, 2022 @ 10:00 am - April 17, 2022 @ 4:00 pm


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Learn the art of batik, with Javanese cultural wisdom guiding the creative process in this 2-day hands-on workshop

student batik project by Jerri LinnThe Fibershed Learning Center in Point Reyes Station, California, welcomes Agus Ismoyo and Nia Fliam of the Brahma Tirta Sari Studio (Yogyakarta, Indonesia), for a 2-day workshop on the art of batik — based on their 36 years of creative exploration and research as artists in the medium. In addition to the technical aspects of batik, they will be sharing their creative process, which includes some movement exercises as well as explorations of our connection to nature to integrate creativity and aesthetic expression. Javanese philosophy speaks of karti kerdating sukma, work created by the vibration of the soul. Their dedication to this principle, including an understanding that such work must be collaborative, has given birth to the form of batik that is the signature of their studio in Indonesia.

Students will be working with various forms of batik to create several pieces dyed with indigo and Ceriops (mangrove tannin). The indigo vat is made with indigo paste from a farmer’s collective near Yogayakarta in Java, and the Ceriops vat (copper color) with dye material harvested from an FSC-certified, responsibly-managed concession in West Papua. The Ceriops extract is supplied by Threads of Life in Bali, and is now being offered by Botanical Colors in Seattle.

Open to beginners, as well as all levels of experience. Based on reports from others who have studied with Ismoyo and Nia, this workshop will be a unique opportunity to grow creatively.

If additional time is needed for students to complete their project, the ending time may go beyond 4 pm each day.

indigo vat, photo by Jerri LinnMaterials: Materials are included in the cost.

Please bring: Drawing pad, pencil and eraser for sketching your design ideas, rubber gloves, apron or lap cloth (or clothes that can get stained or dirty).

Also bring any personal snacks, lunch and beverages. Lunch is not included.

Important note: Depending on conditions at the time of the workshop, masks may be required in indoor spaces for all participants, and we will maintain appropriate physical distance during the workshop. The classroom is open to the outdoors and has plenty of ventilation. If conditions change and it becomes necessary to cancel because of the pandemic, your tuition and fees will be refunded.

This workshop will take place in the garage classroom, with doors open and plenty of ventilation. Restrooms are in the adjoining house. Lunch may be eaten on the deck or other outdoor areas.

To register:

Photos courtesy of Brahma Tirta Sari Studio, Threads of Life, and Jerri Linn

Nia and Ismoyo will also be teaching a separate 1-day workshop on preparing and dyeing with Indigo and Ceriops natural dyes on April 15th:

FREE EVENT: An Evening on Batik and Javanese Culture with Agus Ismoyo and Nia Fliam
Join us for a talk on batik by Nia and Ismoyo, whose work explores the roots of Javanese traditional batik, continuing its essence in a contemporary spirit.
April 14th, 6:00 to 9:00 pm. The Learning Center will open at 6:00 pm for tours of the gardens and classrooms. The talk will begin at 7:00 pm.
More information here

Fibershed Scholarship Program
Fibershed is offering two scholarships to most workshops; one scholarship if it’s a small class. If you would not otherwise be able to attend, and would like to be considered as a scholarship recipient, please answer a few brief questions on this Google Form. Responses will be reviewed by Learning Center staff and kept strictly confidential.

A more detailed description of the batik workshop follows:

In this workshop, Ismoyo and Nia offer tools and understanding that enable participants to carry out their creative projects using batik, but this can be applied to other art mediums in the future. The goal of this approach is to create a space for growth and understanding without sacrificing the cultural knowledge of this ancient technique, which can be expressed within a contemporary framework. There is a need for such values to support a sustainable ecosystem honoring nature and crafts. In this way, cultural wisdom may be a compass in explorations of art to enhance creativity. This is not only with respect to the evolution of aesthetics, but also to the wisdom found within the medium.

The Methodology of the Workshop

The workshop will be structured on the Javanese concept of Ngelmu Iku Kelakoni Khanti Laku or learning by doing. The elements of work shop will be:

  • Ngelmu—Seeking Knowledge
  • Laku—Gathering Skills and Experience
  • Kelakon—Putting It into Practice


NGELMU—Seeking Knowledge—The Tribawana Creative Process

We will begin with an introduction to the theory and history of batik’s creative process found in the ancient Javanese concept of Tribawana that describes how we exist in three realms of the self: nature, community and connection to the source of creativity. We will explore the meaning of this and the implications in creative work.

  • How do we connect to nature?
  • We will look at a few historical Javanese traditional batiks showing the ecology of place
  • Utilizing our body in movement is one of the important lessons taught through this method—creating with our whole body

Olah Rasa—Utilizing Our Inner Sensibilities

  • Utilizing our inner sensibilities as well as our outer sensitivities is part of the integral creative process taught through batik

Nyawiji (As an analog: return to the feeling of becoming a seed)

  • Utilizing your whole body and becoming one with universe, to feel the touch of an intimate communication with nature (Father Sky and Mother Earth, humans, flora and fauna, and the source of creativity. As an example, like the light from an oil lamp that is used to illuminate a shadow puppet performance)
  • Prep—Movement and breathing exercises/stretching/walking in place

LAKU—Learning How to Do It

An explanation of projects to be carried out in the workshop. The focus of these projects are on the process not the product.

  1. Batik layering with dots in three colors
  2. Batik layering with lines in three colors
  3. Introduction to cap batik and experimental cap batik techniques
  4. Introduction to dyeing with indigo paste
  5. Homework to create a personal symbol


NGILMU—Seeking Knowledge

The Tree as the Nest of the Wind/Kayu Gong Susu Ing Angin—how Bima found his true self

Olah Rasa—Utilizing Our Inner Sensibilities

  • Utilizing your whole body and becoming one with nature
  • Prep—stretching/walking in place

Laku—Learning How to Do It

  • Create a batik of a personal symbol—free to use hand and/or cap batik
  • Create a multi-layered cap batik

Kelakon—The Synthesis—Evaluation of Work

  • Final questions
  • Sharing knowledge—a group discussion and showing the work you have accomplished
  • Complete the final evaluation form and return it to Ismoyo and Nia

About the instructors: Agus Ismoyo and Nia Fliam

Crossing both visible and invisible boundaries—of nationality, ethnic background, the traditional, the contemporary, art-craft—Agus Ismoyo (Indonesian) and Nia Fliam (American) have been working collaboratively to produce contemporary textiles in their fine art batik studio, Brahma Tirta Sari in Yogyakarta, Indonesia since 1985.

Ismoyo’s ancestors were batik makers in the court city of Solo in Java. He was trained in industrial management at the Industrial Academy (AKPRIND) in Yogyakarta. Nia originally explored dye resist techniques from Africa and Asia in America. She completed her fine arts degree at Pratt Institute in New York City before coming to Indonesia in 1983 to study traditional batik.

“This collaborative art team is renowned for their intricate, nuanced and time-intensive contemporary fine art textiles. They have exhibited at many prestigious exhibitions including biennale and the triennial exhibitions in Indonesia and around the world and worked with world distinguished curators. Their work has been collected by museums throughout the world in public and private collections. Since 1994 they have explored and worked in collaboration with Australian Aboriginals, American First Nation, African artists from Mali and Nigeria and various Asian, American, European and Australian artists. They have received critical acclaim for their successful use of traditional textile techniques in exploring their own realm of creativity while pursuing an understanding of the value, role and meaning of tradition in the development of our world culture.” — Christine Cocca, Director Yogyakarta Open Studios, Yogyakarta Indonesia

When Ismoyo and Nia founded their studio, they were committed to exploring the rich lessons of traditional Indonesian art both in terms of technique as well as symbolism. Beyond the creative process and symbols of these ancient techniques they have found an unending rich source of inspiration in an ever-expansive journey of artistic discovery.

Their studio, Brahma Tirta Sari—which means “creativity is the source of all knowledge”—produces fine art batik and was founded on the belief that there are many relevant traditions rooted in cultures throughout the world which are important resources in the creation of contemporary art. Brahma Tirta Sari is a division of the Culture House Babaran Segaragunung which Ismoyo, Nia, Pang Warman, Desmond Anabrang and Agung Harjuno founded to support their exploration of traditional cultures, in order to understand basic cultural principles found through local wisdom that act as a guide through an integral artistic process. The focus of the culture house activities is the understanding and teaching of batik’s intangible culture found through its ancient creative process.

Regarding their own work, Ismoyo and Nia explain:

“We seek to read the visual texts of traditional Javanese batiks which are expressions of the knowledge imbued in batik’s cultural heritage and to express it in a contemporary form. This richness is founded in a deep connection to nature and manifested in an artistic ecology which supports the growth and development of all forms of artistic creativity.”

IG: brahmatirtasari / bsg.culturehouse / baragung.bsg /


April 16, 2022 @ 10:00 am
April 17, 2022 @ 4:00 pm
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Fibershed Learning Center
14000 Point Reyes - Petaluma Road
Point Reyes Station, CA 94956 United States
(415) 455-3070‬
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Fibershed Learning Center
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Fibershed Learning Center
14000 Point Reyes - Petaluma Road
Point Reyes Station, CA 94956 United States
(415) 455-3070‬
View Venue Website