Josephine Komara Obin–Woman behind Batik Museum Kain in Bali

Bin   House   is   an   Indonesian   fashion house  founded  in  1986  by  Josephine Komara  Obin.  She  was  inspired  and intrigued by the centuries-old fabric-making techniques of batik, ikat weaving, tie, dye, and  stitch  mastery  that  made  Indonesian fabrics famous. And she calls herself rather a cloth maker, than the designer.

Bali Pocket 010 - August 2016_page47_image64What inspired me? It was Indonesia itself – the way we are; so many cultures, wearing different clothes, different patterns, having different concepts, elements, and philosophy – said Josephine Obin in an interview for Bali Pocket Magazine.

The exquisite fabrics from Bin house are entirely hand-spun and handwoven by the finest Indonesian artisans, with no assistance from modern technology. Each piece of cloth is  a  product  of  meticulous  craftsmanship that  often takes  months  and  sometimes  a whole year to finish. In cooperation with her beloved late husband Josephine Obin also managed to make something nobody managed  before–making  batik  pattern  on  wool and cashmere. Unique is also a technique of making white batik designs on a white base.

Bin house also makes great silk fabrics with batik that you can wear as wraps, sarongs or shawls. Josephine also began collecting vintage cloth pieces from all over Indonesia in the mid-1970s. Obin’s search to find contemporary fabrics that could compare with the antique textile pieces in her collection convinced her that the rich heritage of Indonesian textile weaving and dyeing had been almost forgotten in the midst of machine mass production.

But rather than lamenting the passing of an era and the loss of art, Obin set about breathing new life into the dying handmade cloth industry. And so with only a handful of spinners, reelers, and weavers Obin and her team began to make materials in the late 70s. All of that inspired one fabulous idea – to make a batik museum where people can learn about the history of this ancient art.

My husband who was an archeologist wanted to do that very much, and it was his dream. When he passed away four years ago, I wanted to give up, but my son said we should continue the work. So now there is Musem Kain in Bali made with lots of love – said, Josephine. There you can start a journey through the rich world of Indonesian cloth tradition. It is an oasis of culture and knowledge situated in the heart of Kuta. So if you want to dive deeper into Indonesian culture, the museum is opened Tuesday till Sunday from 10 in the morning till 19.30 in the evening.■

Bali Pocket Magazine