(above photo: Pete and Pepen on Pepen's family farm in Bali)
The Republic of Indonesia is comprised of 270,000,000 people, 17,508 islands, 700 languages, 34 provinces, and an incredibly diverse selection of flora and fauna. In all of this, we were incredibly lucky to have met Pepen on our first-ever trip to the beautiful Indonesian island of Bali 22 years ago. A good friend put us in contact with him, and many moons, thousands of garments, and uncountable smiles later, we still see him every year and consider him a good family friend and business associate. His Batik textiles are unrivaled in their artistic beauty, and his aura is comforting, welcoming, and genuine.
Pepen has a joyful laugh that is contagious to all those around him and when we are doing business together, laughter is booming! He lives with and manages his business with the help of all of his extended family members and is an incredibly active member of his local community. He gives back through time and leadership in a number of local organizations, and hires community members in his artistic fabrication studios. The result is a friendly and fun workplace that invests heavily in the local community and preservation of local customs and traditions.
Pepen takes pride in the consistency and care that goes into all of the batik garments that he crafts, and the attention to detail and artistry is unmistakable. This is the first year that we have been unable to visit Pepen and when Kim messaged him, “We miss your smile,” he responded with, “don’t worry, my smile is still here.” We look forward to sharing more smiles, and to continuing to share Pepen’s family’s artistry with everyone in the Mexicali Blues family.