Journey to Batik News

17 December 2021 until 12 June 2022 – Exhibition ‘Misleiden’ at De Lakenhal

Real or fake? That’s the question in Misleiden – Fakes from art and science. Stroll offline and online past more than twenty objects from nine Leiden collections that put you on the wrong track. On display from 17 December at Museum De Lakenhal and via digital platform Things That Talk. Do you dare to believe your eyes?

Whether an art object is real or fake is not always easy to say. Sometimes the desire for an object to be real takes over: then a researcher or enthusiast may have struck gold. We want something to be real, even if we can hardly believe our eyes.


What are counterfeiters’ motivations for doing what they do? And if an object is indistinguishable from the real thing, isn’t it a work of art in itself? These questions are central to the exhibition Misleiden, with which Leiden institutions offer a look behind the scenes of researchers and curators. The exhibition includes, for example, a stingray disguised as a dragon, a forged relief tile and a very cleverly copied eye.


The exhibition is a special collaboration of nine Leiden institutions: the objects come from the collections of Museum De Lakenhal, het Rijksmuseum van Oudheden, Rijksmuseum Boerhaave, Naturalis, Museum van Volkenkunde and Japan Museum SieboldHuis. There are also contributions from Leiden University Library, het Nederlands Instituut voor het Nabije Oosten (NINO) en Erfgoed Leiden en Omstreken. The collaborative project is an initiative of Alexander Mouret of the annual conference Brave New World and Fresco Sam-Sin of the digital platform Things That Talk, who is also a guest curator of the physical exhibition.

For the exhibition I was invited to be one of the storytellers. I share about the Leidsche Katoenmaatschappij and the imitations, the fake batiks, they made for the Southeast Asian market. On 17 December the exhibition starts at De Lakenhal with a display on this story & online you can read my story in full here

Echt of nep? Die vraag staat centraal bij Misleiden – Fakes uit kunst en wetenschap. Wandel offline én online langs ruim twintig objecten uit negen Leidse collecties die je op het verkeerde been zetten. Vanaf 17 december te zien bij Museum De Lakenhal en via het digitale platform Things That Talk. Durf jij je ogen te geloven?

Of een kunstobject echt is of nep, valt niet altijd even gemakkelijk te zeggen. Soms neemt de wens dat een voorwerp echt is de overhand: dan heeft een onderzoeker of liefhebber misschien wel goud in handen. We willen maar al te graag dat iets echt is, zelfs als we onze ogen bijna niet kunnen geloven.


Wat zijn de beweegredenen van vervalsers om te doen wat ze doen? En als een object niet van echt te onderscheiden is, is het dan niet een kunstwerk op zich? Die vragen staan centraal in de tentoonstelling Misleiden, waarmee Leidse instellingen een kijkje in de keuken van onderzoekers en conservatoren bieden. Zo zijn in de tentoonstelling bijvoorbeeld een als draak vermomde rog, een vervalste reliëftegel en een wel heel knap nagemaakt oog te bewonderen.


De tentoonstelling is een bijzondere samenwerking van negen Leidse instellingen: de objecten komen uit de collecties van onder andere Museum De Lakenhal, het Rijksmuseum van Oudheden, Rijksmuseum Boerhaave, Naturalis Biodiversity Center, Museum Volkenkunde en Japanmuseum SieboldHuis. Ook zijn er bijdragen uit de Leidse Universiteitsbibliotheek, het Nederlands Instituut voor het Nabije Oosten (NINO) en Erfgoed Leiden en Omstreken. Het samenwerkingsproject is een initiatief van Alexander Mouret van de jaarlijkse conferentie Brave New World en Fresco Sam-Sin van het digitale platform Things That Talk, tevens gastcurator van de fysieke tentoonstelling.

Boek ‘Misleiden – Schatten van verwarring’

Auteur: Fresco Sam-Sin & Alexander Mouret Fotografie: Cees de Jonge

Verschijnt op 1 April 2022 (echt waar!)

Pas op: de objecten in dit boek zijn vals en verwarrend. Negen Leidse collecties laten zien waarom misleiding de moeite waard is. Voor ons, omdat het knappe objecten met fascinerende verhalen heeft opgeleverd. Maar ook voor misleiders zelf, die er soms goed geld aan hebben verdiend.

Tussen de objecten vind je misleidingen als een eeuwenoud draakje, een Romeinse propagandistische badkamertegel en – jawel – een zeemeermin. Daarnaast bevat Misleiden essays van specialisten over beroemde en beruchte gevallen van fake en verwarring. Eén ding is zeker: na dit boek laat je je niet meer zo makkelijk voor de gek houden.


Fashion Conversation ‘The Future of Batik’ for JFW & Erasmushuis

Streamed first in a shorter version on & Youtube, now the Fashion Conversation hosted by Jakarta Fashion Week in collaboration with Erasmushuis is online in full!

Batik is a masterpiece, a national treasure, an identity. Sadly, it is suffering a slow death. It’s no easy task to keep it alive amid changing times and taste. Some, understandably, gave up halfway, daunted by the challenge. So how do we make this traditional art appealing to the younger generation? To produce and to wear. Can we truly succeed in merging traditional values with modern lifestyle?

In ‘The Future of Batik’ hosted by Tony Sugriata of aNERDgallery we discuss this topic with presentations given by me, Ibu Sita and Mas Direz. A discussion at the end in which we responded to the points of view of 4 pembatiks. Very thankful Ibu Widianti Widjaya, Ibu Ramini, Miss Dwi & Miss Nurul share their ideas on ‘The Future of Batik’ with me for this talk.

It was great to share on Batik in a more historical context within an platform focussed on new fashion. Happy I get to bring something else to the runway. Watch it back on Youtube! What are your thought on this topic? And how do you think we can take Batik with us to the future? Let us know in a comment under the video!

Thanks Jakarta Fashion Week & Erasmushuis Jakarta for invited me and hosting this great inspiring talk on ‘The Future of Batik’!


Magazine BATIK! out now

Months in the making and finally here, the magazine BATIK!

After we, me, Romée Mulder & Myrthe Groot, hosted the Batik Stand in 2019, the Tong Tong Fair invited us to collaborate to make Batik the theme for the next TTF. Unfortunatly the TTF couldn’t take place in 2020, so we hosted an online Batik Stand instead. 
From beginning of this year till about July I was working, together with Florine Koning & Leslie Boon, on this magazine. Again the TTF couldn’t take place in September, but the idea was to publish the magazine either way. 
With a lot of things going on behind the scenes, the magazine is now finally here.

You find in the magazine next to several articles by my hand, much more great Batik content. Interviews with Guave, Batikmaker Miss Nurul & batikscholar Renske Heringa. A lovely illustrated tutorial how to wrap a Batik by Jeroen Krul , great to have made this together. A wonderful step by step Batik DIY by Shuen-Li Spirit. Two of our Online Batik Stand guests return, showing the Batik kept & passed on in their family, Rachel de Vries & Cindy Smits, and we find two more to share their precious heirloom, thank you! Spread throughout the magazine are Batik wannahave items by LARAS, DEWI, Istimewa, Francis Bakt & Maureen Tan, thanks for your contribution. 

Thanks Tony Sugiarta for the interview with Miss Nurul!

Also a thank you to NMvW, Wereldmuseum & UB Leiden voor providing us with historical & high quality photos of Batik for the magazine!

And thank you to Eliza Bordeaux for shooting new portraits of me . So happy with them!

Buy the magazine BATIK! now, order online at Stichting Tong Tong or ask for it at your local bookstore. The magazine is in Dutch. 


14 November 2021 – Talk at Madua-middag Utrecht

Madjoe Dua Madua-Middag op zondag 14 november 14u – 18u bij het Zimihc Theater Stefanus, Braziliëdreef 2 in Utrecht. Naast een lezing over mijn ‘journey to batik’ bent u welkom om batiks uit eigen collectie mee te nemen naar het spreekuur.

Meer info op


25 October 2021 – Talk ‘De reis naar batik’ in Lunteren (NL)

On Monday 25 October 19.30pm I am invited to give a talk on my ‘journey to Batik’ at Stichting Ana Upu in Lunteren. More info in the Facebook event


9 October 2021 – Shishani & Sisterhood online at SIPA

More info on


29 September 2021 – Shishani & Sisterhood at Paard, Den Haag (NL) & online

Tong Tong meets Erasmus Huis Jakarta is a varied musical program organized by the Erasmus Huis in Jakarta, DutchCulture in Amsterdam and the Tong Tong Foundation in The Hague. The Tong Tong Fair Foundation has been serving the Dutch public for more than 60 years with a strong bond with Indonesia. The Erasmus Huis has been committed to a sustainable cultural relationship between the Netherlands and Indonesia for more than 50 years. For the first time, both are joining forces with this program in PAARD. Various artists perform whose work is strongly influenced and inspired by Indonesian, Indonesian and Dutch culture.After a long period of online meetings, we are all longing for a physical event where we can meet.

Evening program:
17.30 Walk-in
18.30 Robin Block (singer-songwriter) with guest Annabel Laura
19.45 Storyteller by Boi Akih (worldjazz)
21.00 Shishani & Sisterhood (singer-songwriter and dance)

For more info & to buy tickets go to

Journey to Batik News

Article in Textile Asia Journal

My first international English publication of an article is out now! The Textiles Asia Journal was happy to add a shorter version of the three articles I wrote in Dutch on the Elie van Rijckevorsel collection at the Wereldmuseum in Rotterdam (NL).

With the great title, suggested by my research supervisor Francine Brinkgreve, Interpreting Batik from the Van Rijckevorsel Collection, the article can be read in the September issue of the Textiles Asia Journal.

You can order a copy through or send me an email to request the PDF


August 2021 – Workshops during Summerschool All You Can Art

All you can Art Summerschool Kick-off 2021, photo Marco De Swart

This upcoming month, August 2021, I am invited to give a few workshops during the Summerschool of All You Can Art at Kunsthal Rotterdam. The workshops are only for the students joining the Summerschool this time, yet so great to get an opportunity to give workshops again and especially giving some insights in the Art of Batik. Also very honoured that I was invited by two artist I greatly admire, Liesbeth Labeur & Pris Roos. I also collaborating with Pris Roos on two projects which I hope to share about more soon :)


Wax Print Film – Screening 7 August 2021 at Centraal Museum

New screening date in the Netherlands. The Wax Print Film is part of the exhibition & program ‘Voices of Fashion’ now on display at Centraal Museum in Utrecht (NL). There has been already a talk between director Aiwan Obinyan & curator Janice Deul, watch it back here. On 7 August 2021 the film will also be screened, on & offline.

Check the website of Centraal Museum for updates!

Surprised to learn from her Nigerian grandmother that ‘traditional’ African wax printed fabrics were a colonial invention made in the UK and Holland, British-born filmmaker and fashion designer, Aiwan Obinyan, sets out on a journey across the globe to trace the two-hundred year history of this iconic textile. From the intricate hand-crafted batiks of Indonesia to the cotton fields of North America and from European industrial mills to the bustling markets of West Africa, the story of how one fabric came to symbolise a continent, its people and their struggle for freedom.

In June 2018 Aiwan Obinyan visited me in The Netherlands after we talked online. She asked me questions on Batik and my view on the complex and interesting textile history of Wax Print. So I got featured in this amazing documentary, still so honoured and happy I can be part of her journey!

You can watch Wax Print: 1 Fabric, 4 Continents, 200 Years of History online on Aya Films the whole month of August 2020

For more visit the website or watch the trailer below

Journey to Batik News

Article in publication Studies in Textiel 11: Revival van textiel

De noodzaak van duurzaam produceren en hergebruik van grondstoffen wordt steeds duidelijker, ook in de wereld van textiel. Kopen en dragen van vintage en tweedehands kleding is geen teken van armoede meer, maar is een statement geworden. Onderzoek binnen museumcollecties laat zien dat duurzaamheid en hergebruik bij textiel van alle tijden is: de meeste stukken blijken eindeloos vermaakt en gerepareerd. Er is een groeiende belangstelling voor huishoudelijk textiel en technieken als damast weven en (goud)borduren. Textiele ambachten worden opnieuw gewaardeerd. Onder de noemer Revival van textiel wordt in dit nummer van Studies in Textiel aan deze ontwikkelingen aandacht geschonken. Meer over mijn bedrage ‘Batik, tien jaar immaterieel erfgoed van Indonesië’ hieronder.

Batik, tien jaar immaterieel erfgoed van Indonesië
Sabine Bolk

In 2009 ondernam Sabine Bolk haar eerste ‘Reis naar batik’. Als net afgestudeerd beeldend kunstenaar zocht ze naar een manier om diepere betekenis te geven aan haar gebruik van, en liefde voor, patronen. Batik leren maken leek de oplossing te zijn, dus vertrok ze in 2009 voor een maand naar Java. Batik was op 2 oktober net immaterieel UNESCO erfgoed geworden, maar hoe ging het eigenlijk met deze traditie? Wat ze aantrof was een industrie ver verwijderd van het romantische beeld dat er in Nederland van heerst. Terug in Nederland realiseerde Sabine zich dat ze niet zelf een pembatik wilde worden: het zijn de verhalen, de patroonleer en de historie van batik die haar fascineren. Ze ging verder met haar blog en volgde de ontwikkeling van batik als beschermd erfgoed. Nu, tien jaar later, staat batik als ambacht helaas nog steeds onder druk. Gelukkig geeft de nieuwe generatie hoop! Er zijn nieuwe batikmakers die de traditie van het maken voortzetten. En er zijn nieuwe dragers, onderzoekers, ontwerpers, kunstenaars en andere batikfans, overal ter wereld, die batik verzamelen, tot mode maken en promoten.

Leden ontvangen een exemplaar in de week van 21 juni 2021.
Niet-leden kunnen exemplaren via mail bestellen o.v.v. SiT 11 Revival van textiel. Meer info op

Prijs: € 20,00 exclusief verzendkosten


Article on me & Batik on Belindomag.

In Dutch & Bahasa Indonesia, you can change the language in the menu, enjoy!


20 April 2021 – Lunch talk RCMC

Mini ‘Brown Bag’ Research Session from 13h – 16h

In an effort to nurture research on the collection of the Nationaal Museum van Wereldculturen (NMVW), which consists of nearly 450,000 objects and 750,000 photographic images, the Research Center for Material Culture (RCMC), the research institute of the Tropenmuseum, the Museum Volkenkunde, the Afrika Museum, and the Wereldmuseum in Rotterdam, welcomes fellows, junior fellows, research associates and university student interns. To learn more about each other’s inquiries and offer a means of doing research in a time in which social distancing and travel restrictions ask that we think our work differently, this mini-conference offers just one way for us to connect across spaces. 

15:20 – 15:50:

Panel IV: Fashioning the stories we tell

Moderator: Daan van Dartel

  • Ella Broek, Jane Stjeward-Schubert & Michelle Piergoelam, ‘The technique and the experience of Afro-Surinamese costume’
  • Sabine Bolk, ‘Project Re-telling the History of the (Indo-)European Influence on Batik’

Sabine Bolk | Project Re-telling the History of the (Indo-)European Influence on Batik

Batik WM-27272

My researchproject is focused on batiks made between 1840-1890 that are either attributed to an Indo-European Batikentrepreneur or are seen as having an Indo-European style or influence. I am trying to re-tell this history by determine what we can actually view as ‘European’ or ‘Indo-European’ influence.  To re-tell the history of the (Indo-)European influence on Batik, I use as a starting point the story and batiks attributed to Carolina Josephina von Franquemont (1815-1867). 

She is seen as the first entrepreneur that introduced a European style into Javanese batiks. Over the years many batiks got attributed to her with little or unclear provenance, mentioning the Batiks are made ‘in the style of Von Franquemont’ or using the term ‘Prankemon’. They were used in books which even resulted in new attributions from the 1990’s onwards. On the other hand I found donated pieces of which the owners claim it was made her, but some of these pieces have never been displayed or weren’t photographed yet.

At the moment I am mapping out what is actually the Dutch, European and Indo-European influence on Javanese batik. I am working out the provenance of all batiks attributed {at one point in time}  to Von Franquemont in the NMvW and Wereldmuseum collection. And hopefully I can share a little on the laboratoriumresearch we are hoping to do on the colours used in these Batiks.



Sabine Bolk (1984) is a Dutch artist who has been exploring Batik, the Indonesian resist-dye technique for textile, for the last 12 years. The inspiration doesn’t only come from the technique, but also from the language of the patterns and the philosophy of Batik. On her blog ’The journey to Batik’ she writes about her discoveries, journeys and research. In 2009 and 2016 Sabine went to Java, Indonesia, to document to process of Batik making. In October 2019 she went to Indonesia to launch her current researchproject. In her researchproject she works on Retelling the History of the (Indo-)European Influence on Batik. Sabine is currently a Research Associate at the Research Center for Material Culture in Leiden (NL) to research the batik collections in Dutch museums & archives. She writes for different platforms, organises events, gives talks, presentations and workshops. She not only gets inspiration from Batik, she also works on promoting, preserving and protecting Batik. 

Journey to Batik News

Watch back ~ Online presentation ‘Batik Lasem’

On 22 April from 19h till 20.30h I gave a presentation for Stichting Hibiscus for their online Cultural Month. This year the focus is on ‘Batik Lasem’. In my talk I take you through my journey to Batik of the last 12 years. As special guests Romée Mulder and Myrthe Groot of Guave made an appearance to share their first Batik journey and we revealed more on our collaboration for their new collection!

The Webinar is in Dutch

Journey to Batik News

Batik Stand Online – Batik Consultation with Cindy Smits

In this Digital Batik Consultation we talk with Cindy Smits about two special Batiks from her grandmother. What can these Batiks tells us? This Batik Consultation was released online on Instagram in June as part of our Batik Stand Online Program for Tong Tong Fair 2020.

The Batik Stand online is a collaboration between Guave, Tong Tong Fair & Sabine Bolk

Editing: Myrthe Groot & Sabine Bolk

Batiks: collection Cindy Smits

Photos & videos: Cindy Smits

Journey to Batik News

Spring 2021 – Third article in magazine ‘Tribale Kunst’

The third and final part of my article in three parts in the magazine ‘Tribale Kunst’. It was great to write in more depth on the development of Batik in the 19th century and to zoom in on some of the collections that make it possible to learn more about this time. It was wonderful to get to see the Dr. Elie van Rijckevorsel collection up and close and to write about the Batiks now on display at the Wereldmuseum (NL).

The magazine is only available for members of ‘Tribale Kunst’, you can see the magazine on their website & download it as a PDF. You can also send me email at to request it as a PDF. I am working on the English version, hopefully soon more news on that!

Journey to Batik News Projects

Batik Stand Online – Batik Consultation with Rachel de Vries

In this second Batik Consultation we talk with Rachel de Vries who we met in 2019 at the Tong Tong Fair when she visited our Batik Stand and showed us two amazing Batiks. Both Batiks have an interesting place in the history of the Dutch East Indies and Indonesia. This Batik Consultation was released online on Instagram in June as part of our Batik Stand Online Program for Tong Tong Fair 2020. It is now on Youtube with Dutch & English subtitles.

The Batik Stand online is a collaboration between Guave, Tong Tong Fair & Sabine Bolk

Editing: Myrthe Groot & Sabine Bolk

Batiks: collection Rachel de Vries

Photos & videos: Rachel de Vries and Sabine Bolk


Duo Interview with Lara of the brand Dewi

I have been following Lara on Instagram for a while now. When she asked me for an interview on her site, read it here ‘#DewiMeets: Sabine Bolk, I thought it would be nice to also make a blogpost about her and her brand Dewi in return. Her love for Batik and how she shares it online is wonderful. It was also great to talk with her in person, we talked for 2 hours and honestly probably could share Batik stories all day. So I am happy to introduce Lara of the brand Dewi on my blog The journey to Batik.


Craft Council Nederland

So happy and honoured to be added to the Craft Council Craftmap
And also with the interview they did with me – check it out!

Re-watch aNERDspective special on Insta

Being on of the firsts guests of Tony of aNERDgallery‘s great Instagram interview series aNERDspective, I asked if he liked doing a look back on 2020 and a welcome 2021 with me.

We had some difficulties with IG live, of course haha, but you can now re-watch the full episode on IG tv of aNERDgallery:

aNERDspective: Happy Batik New Year!

If you missed it last week, here is our conversation with @sabinebolk recapping 2020 and planning our 2021. 

Here are some the highlights:
– Like 2020 that gets interrupted, so does recapping it! But, we added a little surprise intermezzo, courtesy of Sabine.
– A brief discussion on #blacklivesmatter, colonization, identity, appropriation/appreciation and hear Tony’s stand on “Singapore batik” and his @batik.infinity project.
– Too many things, so little time, our convoluted plans for 2021 around languages, curatorial/research projects, knowledge sharing and many more.
– Our favorite batik motifs, a question from @khaya.heritage

Watch/listen to the (almost) full interview and share with us what your 2020 highlights and what are your plans for 2021? 

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