The art of quilt-making: Memories, stitched together

20 Februar, 2014 | Source: The Jakarta Post

In Cipete, an affluent neighborhood in South Jakarta, the women of the Cipete Quilt Community have invented various quilt patterns, not only for blankets but also for pillow cases, tablecloths and to praying mats.

“The community was established sometime between March and April of 2008,” Jakarta-based quilt maker Nisa Hariadi, owner of Nisa’s Quilt, told The Jakarta Post on the sidelines of the community’s annual gathering in Kemang, South Jakarta recently.

Nisa is the patron of the community. Her quilt products, under Nisa’s Quilt, have been exhibited at Inacraft, Indonesia’s largest annual craft exhibition, since 2006 as well as several other expos such as the ones organized by the Women’s International Club, La Femme and Indo Craft.

Besides producing and selling products, Nisa’s Quilt also offers quilt-making classes to the public.

“The idea came from some participants of my basic class in 2008. They enjoyed getting together, making quilts and they refused to quit the activity after the class ended. Hence, the community, which we all have maintained for five years now,” she added.

Nisa attained the skill of quilt-making after taking a three-year course in Houston, US, between 1999 and 2002. She was first introduced to quilts in Dallas in 1990 when she accompanied her husband, who was posted there for work.

“When my husband was relocated to Rumbai, Pekanbaru, I also got the chance to learn the skill from some expatriates there,” explained Nisa.

As soon as she got back to Jakarta in 2004, Nisa’s husband encouraged her to maintain her quilting skills. She then focused on setting up Nisa’s Quilt, which has grown into a community of 350 members. Most of the members are stay-at-home mothers.

“It’s great because quilting has developed quite well in Jakarta. I’ve got at least five groups in the community who have been participating in Inacraft,” she said.

Jakarta keeps up fairly well with the latest trends in quilt-making. The handicraft products not only include bedding but also home decorations and even fashion.

The community has produced, among others items, quilts in the form of cushion covers, water gallon covers, praying mats and even long skirts and vests.

In terms of motifs and patterns, the quilt makers have grown accustomed to America’s classic Grandfather’s Quilt, Jacobean and outdoor activity themes.

Memory quilt is also an interesting motif. It allows quilt makers to produce quilt products based on their memories.

“We have more options in memory quilt, such as birth, wedding and longing for someone,” said Nisa.

As for painted quilts, the community started working on them a year ago. The motifs have adopted Asian and Indonesian styles as well.

“We now have owls and gecko motifs. I use colorful Balinese batik for the gecko parts,” said Nisa, adding that quilting can only use 100 percent cotton, which is not slippery.

As Nisa is getting more skilled in quilting, she has grown confident enough to create a pattern.

“I’ve created a pattern with a chicken motif. I was so inspired by decorative plates with chicken imagery, which is sold in an embassy office. I scanned the imagery and I turned it into a pattern.

“I chose chicken because it is my Chinese zodiac,” said Nisa.

Unlike some years ago, it is now easier to buy materials and tools for quilting in Jakarta. Some quilting machines are also available in the city.

Looking ahead, the Jakarta-based quilting community thinks that landscape will soon be the new trendy pattern.

The landscape pattern also requires the use of a sewing machine for some parts.

“For example, if you want to put a flower in your landscape pattern, you take a fabric with flower imagery. And then, you cut the flower part, and paste it onto your landscape quilt,” said Nisa.

 

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