Films Journey to Batik Projects Work on paper

Business card & Batik Consultation Suze Zijlstra

Two years ago, in 2020, historian and author Suze Zijlstra asked me if I knew someone to design her business card. She wanted something maybe with batik and referring to her research & upcoming book ‘De Voormoeders’. I sayed I would love to do it . When we had our first lockdown I started designing her card. A year later her card was printed and in September 2021 her book was published.
Since up till now Suze did not had many opportunities to hand out the card, I thought it would be nice to share the card, the inspiration & her book in a Batik Consultation video.

We talk in depth about one of Suze’s ancestors, Tan Kim Njo, and the batiks that she wore. And how those batiks inspired the business card I designed for Suze.

Now online on Youtube with Dutch & English subtitles:

Batik Consultation with Suze Zijlstra, historian and author of the book ‘De Voormoeders’ that was published last year. We talk in depth about one of Suze’s ancestors, Tan Kim Njo, and the batiks that she wore. And how those batiks inspired the business card I designed for Suze.

Books in the video:

‘De Voormoeders – Een verborgen Nederlands-Indische familiegeschiedenis’ by Suze Zijlstra (2021)
‘Batik Klasik – Classical batik’ by Drs. Hamzuri (1981)
‘Gedragen doeken – verhalen in batik’ by Liesje de Leeuw (2016)
‘Batik – Traditional textiles of Indonesia from the Rudolf Smend & Donald Harper Collections’ (2015)

Photo credits for photos/images used in the video:

Photos made available by Suze Zijlstra
Photos from the UB Leiden/KITLV collection:KITLV 4525 & KITLV 54280
Photo from Tropenmuseum TM-60033564
Photos of Batik, also styled with kebaya, special thank you to John Ang

Films Projects

Hidden between the leaves

Animation ‘Hidden between the leaves’
Duration: 1 minute
Made by Sabine Bolk
Music by Koen de Wit

During these strange times, I try to be positive and creating new things helps with that. My dear friend Emmy Dijkstra send me a short animation she made. Inspired by this, I made this one minute animation myself.

Looking for ways to explain motifs used in Batik this seemed a nice format. ‘Hidden between the leaves’ is based on motifs found in Batik on the North-coast of Java. In the animation I use Batiks made by Nurul Maslahah, a young Batikmaker from Batang, and one by KUB Srikandi, run by Ibu Ramini in desa Jeruk near Lasem.

The title comes from my Batikmentor Pak William Kwan. He pointed out this hidden world on Batiks that I hadn’t noticed before that moment, so thank you!

For the music, you hear Koen de Wit on clarinet accompanied by a shruti box, thanks!


Films Journey to Batik Projects


Kopi lelet
Batik Smoke
Rokok Kopi
Cigarette with Batik motif drawn on with coffee 

By Pak Saefozi
At Warung Kopi Pak Ndut in Lasem
Java, Indonesia
October 2016

Special thanks to Jennifer Wanardi
and Pak Kwan Hwie Liong

By Pak Saefozi
At Warung Kopi Pak Ndut in Lasem
Java, Indonesia
October 2016

Read more about this on my blog in the posts ‘Batik, Cethe, Tari & Kartini‘ & “All we can give are coffee & cigarettes”

Films Projects

Rice Reis

Rice Harvest in Batang
Photo made in 2016

Duration: 5 m 12 sec
Filmed in 2016, edited in 2019 by Sabine Bolk
Locations: Train to Yogyakarta – Rice harvest in Batang – Flight to Yogyakarta – Planting rice in Sleman – Bus to Pekalongan

In preparation of my third ‘journey to Batik’ is made a short video of some of the things I filmed during my second visit to Java. With the title ‘Rice Reis’ I refer to the cycle of rice shown in the video; from planting, growing to harvest. And with ‘reis’ to journey, ‘reis’ is Dutch for travel or trip.

Films Journey to Batik Projects

The journey to Batik – Tari Batik

Duration: 12 m 18 sec
Film:  Sabine Bolk
Dance: Dwi Anggraeni                                                        
Drawing: Mak Sium
Canting: Ibu Rasminah, Nurul Maslahah and Ibu Kustiyah
Dyeing: Ibu Juwariyah and Ibu Ramini
Filmed on location in Sleman, Jeruk and Batang on Java, Indonesia in 2016

From September till begin December 2016, Sabine Bolk was on Java (Indonesia) to capture the creative proces of Batik, Indonesian textile, in a short film. In 2009 Batik became to official UNESCO heritage of Indonesia. The technique of Batik, specifically Tulis (‘Handwritten’), have been under pressure for a long time. In the film Sabine shows the creative process through the hands of the makers. The leading role in the film is for Tari Batik, ‘Batik Dance’, performed by Dwi Anggraeni. This new traditional dance visualises the making of Batik. The dancer and Batikmakers show how Batik is still being made today, under pressure but far from forgotten.

Past Screenings

During my third ‘journey to Batik‘, October 2019, my film was shown in Jakarta, Pekalongan, Batang and Lasem. For more read more on my blog.

On 2 November 2019 during my talk at the Vrijmetselarij Museum, I wil also show my film, more info in News

From 24 – 26 May 2019 my film was in the exhibition ‘West meets East‘ at Stokvishallen as part of the ‘In The Spotlight’ program by Nieuwe Veste.

On 26, 28 and 30 May 2019 my film was screened at the Tong Tong Fair.

On 25 April 2019 my film was part of ‘HERSTORY, a program penayangan film’, organised by Perempuan Berkabar, at Ruang Audio Visual, Dinas Perpustakaan dan Kearsipan Kota Padangpanjang in Sumatra (Indonesia).

On 4 April 2019 my film will be screened at CultuurSpoor in Best as part of the Indonesische Culturele Maand by Stichting Hibiscus.

From 16 December 2018 my film was screened, on a big screen, during the opening of my exhibition ‘De reis naar batik – Dag en Nacht‘ at De Nieuwe Veste in Breda. Until 20 January 2019 my film was part of the exhibition.

On 10 January 2019 my film was screened during the third ‘Save The Loom‘ event at De Nieuwe Dakota in Amsterdam. 

Private viewing for the Red Hat Society of Capelle aan den Ijssel on 11 December 2018

On 17 November 2018 my film was screened at Masoek Sadja in Zwolle

On 15 July 2018 my film was screened during Madjoe Dua in Utrecht, I also gave a presentation about my journey to Batik.

On 25th of April 2018 my film was screened during Kopi Kecil in Eindhoven

On 24 & 25 February 2018 my film was screened during the first edition of Wastra Weekend at animal park Taman Indonesia. More information on

On  26th of January 26 2018 my film was part of the Shorts Program III of the SEAxSEA: The Southeast Asia x Seattle Film Festival. More information on

On the 14th of September 2017 during the Grand opening of the Asian Library my film ‘The journey to Batik-Tari Batik’ had its world premiere together with three other selected movies in the Cinema Room of the Asian Library at the University Leiden. The screening was part of the ‘Tour of Asia’ program and was organised by Framing Asia. More information on

For information on screening ‘Tari Batik’, please send me an email at

For more on the making of ‘The journey to Batik – Tari Batik’, please visit my blog The journey to Batik

Films Projects

Kraplap for Community Dressing

Last week the new episode of ‘Community Dressing’ was put online. ‘Community Dressing’ is a documentary series about the Dutch National Costumes. Thijs Adriaans looks at regional costumes to define the state of contemporary fashion consumption. By focusing on the almost disappeared Dutch costumes and its traditions, standards, values, creation and its passing, he hopes to be able to offer a glance at the costumes compared to today’s fashion system. Episode III of Community Dressing focus on the regional dress of Bunschoten – Spakenburg. And I got invited to design together with Thijs a ‘Kraplap’.

A Kraplap is found in other Dutch Traditional Wear, but only in Bunschoten – Spakenburg has it developed into a kind of harness that rest on the shoulders. The Kraplap is made out of textile, traditionally Chintz for the outside and Damast for the inside and is hardend with a paste. The paste make the Kraplap feel like a piece of cardboard. This Kraplap is then secured with a ribbon. It was a big challenge to get our designs as flat and hard as the traditional ones, but we were both apply to wear our versions to the premiere on March 10th in Arnhem (NL).

For my design I got my inspiration from how the Spakenburgers use color to show their state of mourning and I wanted to make a version that would reflect my state of mourning. I worked with a motif that was popular on Chintz and I had written a post about for Modemuze last year { read more about it on my blog The journey to Batik} Learn more about the design in the episode, it includes English subtitles and in the photos below.

For more Community Dressign visit


Films Installations Journey to Batik Organic floor carpets Projects

Dance in a ricecarpet

Titel of work: ‘Dance in a ricecarpet’

Locations: Argument Vertoningsruimte in Tilburg (NL), Paulushofje in Etten-Leur (NL) and in backyard in Yogyakarta (Indonesia)

Year: 2009 – 2011

‘Dance in a ricecarpet’ is a project in which art, dance and music are combined to a performance. The project was partly developed during a workperiod from the 19th of April until the 22nd of May 2010 in Argument Vertoningsruimte in Tilburg (NL).

During ‘Dance in a ricecarpet’ a ricecarpet is destroyed as well as created by dance. A ricecarpet is a carpet made of several organic materials such as rice, beans and lentils.

‘Dance in a ricecarpet’ was created by Sabine Bolk (ricecarpet) in collaborations with Barbara van Kooten (dance), Chester L. Brandes (classical guitar), Koen de Wit (clarinet), Dirk Elst (percussion) and Berk Aarts (light). It was performed in Yogyakarta, Java, Indonesia (the try-out) in 2009, in Argument Vertoningsruimte in Tilburg (NL) in 2010 and in Etten-Leur (NL) in 2011.

Films Organic floor carpets Projects

Tour des poulets

Titel of work: ‘Tour des poulets’

Location: Different locations in province Zeeland (NL)

Technique: Ricecarpets for chickens, pictures – movie – soundtrack

Year: 2008

My ‘Tour des poulets’ project started as a pitch for a residency at the location KipVis in Middelburg (NL). My plan to let my ricecarpets be eaten by chicken sounded good to the jury and I was invited to make a project for 2 months.

My plan was first to get chicken at the exhibition space, but it quickly changed into a tour. A local newspaper published my quest for artistic chicken and my phone rang all day. I decided to just visit the first callers. My tour brought me to 5 chicken-owners and  a quail owner.

I started on every location with asking for the location the birds mostly eat their food to set up the camera and cooked some rice in their kitchen. Everywhere people were really excited and invited friends and family to come watch. The surreal situation of the chicken eating the carpets and people watching it and realizing that they normally never watch their chicken eat, was such a great experience. Koen de Wit joined me on my tour to play clarinet for the chicken (while they were eating the carpets, the original idea was that it was like a candlelight dinner for the chicken) and took some great photos himself.

The end result of ‘Tour des poulets’ is a full length, slow-TV, movie of 107 minutes. But it also resulted in a soundtrack and an overview exhibition at the end of my residency were all chicken owners were present. One of them performed her poetry about her chicken. I organized a pre-opening for which I reached out to one of the callers. I asked if I could still make a small carpet in their garden to launch my movie. Around the corner from where the exhibition was held, all early visitors were watching three chicken eat a little carpet while Koen played clarinet. I later exhibited my project in Breda at the StadsGalerij and the movie was shown full length at the BlindeMuur at Chassé and KleurenteleviZie.

To order the DVD and soundtrack of ‘Tour des poulets’ visit

Films Organic floor carpets Projects

Patience of Job

Titel of work: ‘Engelengeduld / Patience of Job’

Location: ‘Kunst op het hof’  at a farm in Ginhoven (B)

Technique: Pattern made of rice, lentils, maize and beans

Year: 2008