Meet The Maker: Pepen from Bali 🇮🇩

Meet The Maker: Pepen from 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...

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Meet Nyoman, the talented woman behind many of our hand painted batik designs! Join the Mexicali Blues owners, Pete and Kim, as Nyoman takes us on a tour of her workplace and shows us how her gorgeous one of a kind textiles are crafted. In this video she walks us through the process of creating a hand painted sarong - a popular item we’ve carried for many years.

Thinking back, Kim muses, “I remember when we discovered Nyoman, we were on a motorbike headed to a market outside of town and I spied some great hand painted chakra flags and wall hangings. I made Pete turn around!

Carly, Nyoman, and Kim in Bali.

Carly, Nyoman, and Kim in 2018.

“Upon entering Nyoman’s shop we were greeted with a huge smile and welcomed as if we had been working with her for years. We started with a small order, which was no problem for her because she knew that her quality and attention to detail would keep us coming back with more and more orders. Nyoman’s beautiful smile and personality radiates happiness, kindness, and a feeling of being in the ‘now’.”

With so many talented artists in Bali and everywhere our team travels to, we have one simple rule when it comes to who we choose to work with. If they’re smiling and in good spirits, then we know it’s the right match. We instantly could tell that Nyoman and her family would be the makers we wanted to collaborate with when we met her about ten years ago in the market we almost zoomed right past.


And thank goodness we did turn around that day! With over 30 years of experience in batiking, Nyoman has helped us design one of a kind pieces and she even helps us pick out colors–which can be so difficult when they’re all SO gorgeous! She has a certain way of making you feel that you are the only one that matters, even though you know she has many other buyers she is creating for.

The hand painting of all her textiles is all done at her family compound in Ubud. Families in Bali usually live communally with extended family all living close by. You can see in the video that their home is beautiful and filled with joy. Their deity is established in the center of the courtyard and watches over all of them and offers protection and good fortune.

See what we have available from Nyoman’s shop right now!



You might be asking yourself, “Why do I need to hand wash my batik clothing?” The answer is: you don’t need to. But you should. Not only can you save money by hand washing, but you also preserve the color, shape, and texture of the clothing! Not to mention it can be a fun experience, especially if younger children agree to lend a hand!

What does ‘batik’ mean? ‘Batik’ clothing means that the clothing was created by blocking out selected areas of the cloth by brushing or stamping hot wax over it. After the wax has dried, the artisan dyes the cloth. The parts covered in wax resist the dye and remain the original color. Often, the fabric is dyed once before it is batiked, allowing a complimentary color to show through the stamped or stenciled pattern. All Mexicali Blues batik items are handmade in Bali, Indonesia, by artisans who have learned this ancient traditional art as it has been passed down through the generations. We just love the way this process makes every Balinese batik item we sell a one-of-a-kind work of art!

If you must machine wash your batiked clothing, the best thing to do is to put it in a washing machine with mild detergent, select a non-spin cycle (delicate mode), and set it to cold. To prevent any unfortunate color running incidents from occurring, you should separate your batik clothing from your other clothing. Be sure to air dry after washing!

Batik Care Tips

To perfume your batik, cover it with newspaper and then spray it with a scent. Remember, batik uses natural colorant, so you do not want to spray your Batik directly with perfume or scented spray.

Avoid wringing! Twisting can cause damage to the fibers. Instead, press down with your hands to push excess water out. Then, lay the item on a clean towel and roll it up, which will help to extract more water before laying or hanging the item to air dry.

To iron, putting another fabric on top of your batik and iron it indirectly, since high temperature can ruin it.

Not sure how to hand wash? Check out our instructional video here!

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