Sunday, May 30, 2010

Ohio SAQA Members, Debra Lunn and Michael Mrowka Lecture on Batiks

Debra Lunn and Michael Mrowka of Artisan Batiks, a division of Robert Kaufman Fabrics

On June 27, 2010 , Michael and Debra of Lunn Studios presented a lecture on the design and production of their exclusive batiks at Olivedale Senior Center in Lancaster, Ohio. Michael and Debra are internationally known batik artists who started up a batik manufacturing business on the island of Java in Indonesia several years ago. They design and manufacture approximately 600 batiks a year.

Michael Discussing Batik Design and Production in Java

Michael stated that it takes about 2oo weaving machines to produce enough cotton fabric each year to supply the production of Artisan Batiks. All of the batiks are handmade outdoors in the very hot and humid environment close to the equator, which actually helps to heat set the dyes. The facility employs well over 200 local workers and Debra and Michael take their commitment to the community seriously. They live, eat and work with their employees and attend ceremonial events such as engagement parties, weddings, funerals and other events. They have constructed a dedicated water treatment plant to ensure that they are not polluting the environment.

Michael Presenting Use of a New Line of Striped Batiks

In addition, they recycle much of the wax used in the production of their famous line of batiks. A strict quality control process is a part of the production, and fabric that does not meet their high standards is used to sew shirts for employee uniforms.

Lager View of Quilt Featuring Striped Batik

While the company manufactures one to two millions yards of fabric a year for shipment to quilt stores around the globe, Michael and Debra state that they are committed to giving back to the employees enaged in producing this cherished fabric. To that end, they have started up a non-profit lending library called Ganesa. Libraries and reading have not traditionally been a part of the Javanese culture, and Michael and Debra have the only library in the area. As librarians, the couple make book recommendations to even the most reluctant of readers. They are in fund raising mode in order to continue to add books to their current catalog of 3,000 titles. So, during the event, half yard samples of their fabric were on sale, with the proceeds benefiting the library. The couple met in a bookstore so it seems appropriate that they should undertake this endeavor. After talking with this amazing pair of artists, it is clear that they live passionate lives. Their zest encompasses their dedication to design, the Indonesian people and their culture and each other. So, the next time you take out your wallet to purchase this staple of the art quilter's supply chest, please take a moment to remember why it may cost just a little more and consider it a bargain.

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