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Waxed, Stitched and Dipped in Bali

Alila Ubud Gallery Presents Handmade Batiks and Textiles by Simon Marks Through October 1, 2007.


Ripples of waves in a dream, sunlight on the water, faces carved out of stone. These are some of the inspirations behind the handmade batik designs of Simon Marks, a British national and part-time resident of Bali. Alila Ubud Gallery will showcase Simon's works in an exhibition titled "waxed. stitched. dipped." which opened on Friday, September 14, 2007, and will continue until October 1, 2007.

The exhibition is an exploration of how stitch, wax and color combine and contrast, becoming transformed into something to be worn, draped or simply admired. Simon is particularly drawn to the handspun and hand-woven cotton of Tuban, its roughness providing a counterpoint to the crisp lines that can be achieved from batik and the fluidity of silk. He is as passionate, though, about the process as he is about the end result. The beautiful colors of natural dyes and the alchemy involved in coaxing color from root, leaf or bark, the magic pungency of indigo, the wonder and elusive satisfaction of the color red, the unmistakable warm and cinnamon smell of released wax on cloth. It's the process itself that always leads to further ideas and possibilities.

Simon's love affair with traditional textiles began soon after he journeyed to the East. Having studied theatre design at London's Central St Martin's School of Art and Design, he spent many years working on costumes for productions at Shakespeare's Globe Theatre and Cirque du Soleil, among others. Touring with productions gave him a taste for the nomadic life and, in 2002, he traveled to Asia for the first time, where he became fascinated by the amazing array of costumes and clothing he saw in India, Thailand, Laos and Indonesia, and the textiles they were made from.

This fascination turned into an 'addiction' to learn all he could about the way these textiles were produced and the techniques involved. He traveled repeatedly to India to learn about block printing, embroidery and natural dyes, working with local artisans he met along the way. But it was on a trip to Indonesia that he discovered batik and everything he had learnt to date began to take shape from that point.

In Bali, he came into contact with Threads of Life, a fair-trade organization that is devoted to the continuation of Indonesia's traditional textile arts and the welfare of the archipelago's indigenous weavers. Under the guidance of its master of indigo and other natural dyes, Simon was inspired to start creating his own designs, finally finding expression for all of his different strands of interest.

waxed. stitched. Dipped - an exhibition of batiks and textiles by Simon Marks

Alila Ubud Gallery – September 14 – October 1, 2007 at the Alila Ubud Resort.

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