The Original in Bali Batik design since 1981  

BATIK BY MIRAH

PRINCESS MIRAH INVITES QUILTERS TO THE PALACE

Princess Mirah welcomed the quilters on the ninth day of the ninth month of the ninth year. There must have been something magical in the air, or a special chemistry between the quilters and the princess, because never have there been seen so many smiles at the palace.

Princess Mirah took time to speak of the history of the palace and the King, her grandfather, showing that Maskerdam, the inner courtyard of the palace, was the living room of the last King of Karangasem, the Raja di Raja of Bali. Still Puri Karangasem is the living ceremonial heart for the royal family of Karangasem, where each pavilion is devoted to a stage in the life of the royal family: birth, rite of passage (tooth-filing ceremony), wedding and even cremation.

There is also a shrine in the east dedicated to Nirartha, the founding father of Balinese Hinduism, and since this was the holy day of Buddha Wage, a day where the gods are more likely than not to show their grace, the quilters were invited to take part in a purification ceremony. The officiating Shiva priest blessed the quilters with holy water three times three times, before the Kalpika headband that connects each person to her soul's guardian was tied.

Again there were smiles all around. In between the smiles Princess Mirah found time to invite the quilters to a Balinese feast, and there was a refined Balinese dance performed by Princess Mirah's nieces and nephews, a Gebug war dance that honors the war between the Kingdoms of Karangasem and Lombok, and there was a chance for the quilters to pick out their favorite Princess Mirah batiks.

Towards the afternoon, the quilters realized, being at the Palace itself, they could not go home without Princess Mirah's signature, on books and quilts. And to round off a very special day, the quilters gathered in front of the Nirartha shrine to commemorate a very special visit with a photo. And in the eyes of the quilters, you can see that special glimpse, that sometimes you truly feel blessed.
 
 
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PRINCES MIRAH FACTORY TOUR

It was a light drizzle in the air, as if a blessing from the Gods of Bali, when the quilters arrived early morning at one of Princess Mirah's factories. It was perhaps auspicious, since the quilters arrived only late the night before, that their first true impression of Bali was to be greeted by Princess Mirah at one of her factories. But was that not why the quilters were in Bali, to get true insight into the magic art of making batiks?

The quilters were enthusiastic, knowledgeable, curious, and more than once during Princess Mirah's introduction to the secrets of design and batik making, quilters and Princess Mirah drifted deep into talk about designs and motifs, patterns and quilts, more than once speaking of the passion and sophistication it truly takes to appreciate colors and shapes and fabrics.

But more than talk, the quilters got to try their hands at the art of batik stamping, to the joy of everyone. And more than talk, the quilters could see and touch, the upcoming Princess Mirah collection right there in the batik master's workshop, knowing full well that it was from such a workshop that Princess Mirah introduced batiks to the quilting community for the first time more than 26 years ago.

The quilters wanted to see more, and got a glimpse into the workshop of the color master, who knows the astonishing and complex art of blending colors for Princess Mirah's vibrant designs. And more than see, the quilters could not resist the urge to pick out some of Princess Mirah's wonderful batiks.

The day at the factory was so smooth and delightful that Princess Mirah more than once had the feeling that she had met many of the quilters before. But maybe that feeling stems from a common sense of beauty, a shared delight in shapes and colors. Who could know, that in such a humble workshop, batiks of such astonishing beauty could be made. And perhaps for some of the quilters, as they continued their journey in Bali, all they could think of was the beautiful patterns they could make with Princess Mirahs batiks.


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