When we posted about the process of applying wax for the batiks, we thought you might like it. It's always interesting to get a different view on a product you love and we wanted to share a bit from Michael's perspective. Boy, did it take off! Batik lovers had all sorts of questions and comments for us.
Since Michael and Debra are the power duo behind Lunn Studios batiks, we reached out to them to get some answers for you on working conditions, benefits, wage and just how it works over there in Indonesia. He sent along some pictures, as well, so we're sharing that here in order to help all of us understand not how batiks are made, but who makes them.
Batiks are a traditional art of Indonesia, using a manual wax-resist dyeing technique. In fact, UNESCO has designated Indonesian batik as a "Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity," preserving the art form for future generations of artisans and admirers. It continues to be produced primarily on Java, with other production facilities scattered on other islands. The factory where the Artisan Batiks are produced is in Surakarta on the island of Java.
For more than a decade Michael and Debra have been working with the people in the area to provide jobs and support. They do this through special efforts with their employees, as well as in the community with the Ganesa library they founded several years ago.
Partnering with a local landowner, they have made great efforts to improve the working conditions for the batik factory employees, including
- pay at least the minimum wage, plus incentive and production bonuses
- provide lunch on-site for all employees
- pay 13 months of wages each year
- give time off for religious holidays
- require employees are a minimum of 16 years old and graduated from secondary school
- host an annual celebration with a buffet of food and giveaways including refrigerators, microwaves, bikes, money and more
- installed a ventilation system in the wax stamping areas, adding windows, ventilation fans and requiring masks (all are not required and a rarity in batik production)
- put in a water treatment facility on property to filter water used in all areas of production to prevent further pollution of the area
- buy school uniforms for workers' children when needed, as well as bicycles for employees who need transportation