Clear Your Clutter the Toy Box Way

DSCF2016Do you ever feel like your house is growing stuff?

We try our best to live a minimalist life, but things somehow still pile up and organizing them while also keeping the house tidy and cute is always a challenge. In addition, of course we ONLY have cute things but somehow, they just don’t always look amazing on display all the time.

Ibu Didi is our constant inspiration to battling these little problems and this is her solution that we can’t get enough of!

xx The Tulisan Team 

DSCF2010 DSCF2021The Toy Box is available in our flagship store at Darmawangsa Square, Plaza Indonesia Level 4 in front of Playground, on our website www.tulisan.com/id or send us an email at shop@tulisan.com. 

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Inside Tulisan’s Creative Process #6

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Step 6: Silk Screening and Protective Coating

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Silk Screening

The very essence of Tulisan’s artwork is accentuated with a classic reproduction art form that has dated way back since 1910, this silk screening technique uses filters where the pores are closed with a photo emulsion switched off by an ultra violet ray. This filter functions as a stencil blocker of the color substance resulting in a color print recording an image created by the emulsion layer.

As big admirers of artisanal crafts dating way back throughout century, the silk screening manual are often printed with uneven layers and registers untidy color prints highlighting the imperfections made by the involvement of hands. This screen printing manual are often presented deliberately in Tulisan’s work of the Original Editions and By MS with Love Edition, giving the illustrations a life of its own. On an advance scale,  particularly for the Tulisan Prints Edition, the silk screening art form is created with a rotary machine which focus on the basic mechanism and greatest level of precision.

Through extensive trial and error and manual dexterity, each Tulisan product ensures to preserve the traditional art form which values the highest artisanal craftsmanship.

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Protective Coating 

In our sincerest effort to promote a healthier infrastructure for both ourselves and our environment, all Tulisan soft goods are hand-made using non-bleached (chlorine- free) cotton canvas, eco-friendly water-based inks, non-toxic water-resistant coatings, and certified nickel free components with low impact and energy-efficient fabrication methods. Each components involved in the process ensures zero-waste are left behind, and so our workers working in the production site have a better exposure to materials which are less hazardous to their body. Each bags features a PU-coated poly lining, coating which creates, durable and resistant composite which eliminates brittleness and ensures each artwork is enriched with proper protection.

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Read the previous steps below:
Step 1: Preliminary Research and Sketching
Step 2: Writing the Stories
Step 3: Research and Development
Step 4: Prototyping (Print)
Step 5: Prototyping (Design)

- Tulisan Chronicles Team

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Her Love for Skylight

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There she was, having a ball
As the grass grows tall
Where the sun beams bright
With the love for skylight
She sits upright with a feeling of no fright
“Everything is alright,” she mutters
As her eyes twinkle, while the butterflies in her flutter 

- Athina Ibrahim

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Sunday Lunch: Beet Hummus with Baby Carrots

BLOG-TUlisan-GAB-20140404-007.JPG_effectedI know, we’ve expressed our love of treats here at Tulisan, but under it all we really are on the hunt for the best flavor and health ratio. With that in mind, we’ve whipped this awesome treat!

Not only is it so tasty, with those baby carrots, it’s gluten-free, great for your blood, cholesterol, high in protein and is also a crowd pleaser that will also appeal to your vegan friends!

BLOG--Tulisan-GAB-20140404-017.JPG_effectedSo it’s as simple as this:

-1 1/2 cups Beetroot, peeled, cubed and roasted until soft
OR
1 can Organic Beets

-1 1/2 cups garbanzo beans soaked and boiled
OR
1 14oz can garbanzo beans

- juice of 1 lemon

- 2-3 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

- 1 tbsp Organic Tahini

- sea salt to taste

Optional:
- 1-2 cloves roasted garlic
- feta crumbles (Non-Vegan Option)

Toss is all in a blender.

BLOG--TUlisan-GAB-20140404-014.JPG_effectedWe used some organic baby carrots to dip. You can use a toothpick to poke some deep holes into the top of the carrots and the cilantro fits perfectly!

This is also really tasty with warm pita bread, pretzel chips, or any other array of fresh veggies! AND, if you have leftovers, use this instead of mayo in your sandwiches!
BLOG-Tulisan-GAB-20140404-009.JPG_effectedBon Appetit!

xx Gabbie

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Inside Tulisan’s Creative Process #5

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Step 5: Prototyping (Design)

Our design instructor Sébastien Théraulaz always repeated time and again “when we have an idea, make the prototype,” that way, we see the tangible form of our ideas and notice if it translates well visually or whether we would need to tweak bits and pieces before achieving our desired result. After the four separate creative process of research, sketching, writing, and playing around with patterns, here is where everything should come to its ultimate form.

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When Melissa and the Tulisan team has already sat down and settle on the type of bag they want to realize, the process from here is to first produce a very detailed technical package. As I once talked to Tulisan’s technical designer, this activity requires an eye and sensitivity for detail. A strong sense of logic in calculation and imagining form is key in this step. From here, the team would need to research on the various fabrication methods, test the components used for the bag, develop cutting patterns which apply the zero-waste principles of leaving no waste behind to the final construction of product prototype.

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Often, during the cutting pattern development, the extra materials are turned into a completely new product which occur spontaneously and stray from the initial plan — making it a bonus product complimenting the rest. Other times, once a form has been produced, many changes of removing, adding, or replacing the components to altering size may occur to ensure the design still retains its main function.

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Even though Tulisan is rich with character and bold colors, a minimalistic approach in product design is still necessary to follow the functionality foremost. Prototyping here is  crucial in evaluating the simplicity of the bag without overdoing it. A contributing product designer of Muji, Sam Hect once said, “it [product design] requires great restraint from a designer. The designer must almost not design. The removal of unnecessary function, to allow gaps to exist. In these gaps, life can breathe.”

Through these gaps is where the patterns and livelihood of Tulisan stories breathe on the simple form of canvas.

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Read the previous steps below:
Step 1: Preliminary Research and Sketching
Step 2: Writing the Stories
Step 3: Research and Development
Step 4: Prototyping (Print)

- Tulisan Chronicles Team

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Discovery: The Beauty of Nursery Floribunda

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As nurseries are meant to serve its role as a place of care, Nursery Floribunda has the exact same purpose of initiating care to its environment. Firstly established in the year 1988, this humble plant development has been a family enterprise handled by a mother and her two daughters. Having encouraging the habit to be concerned of their surrounding since a young age, Nursery Floribunda has extended their voice in making us aware of the importance of organic farming. They offer a range of green initiatives by being an agritourism offering their variety of plants, cooking class, flower arrangement class, to vertical garden services.

With a two-hour ride (more or less) from Jakarta, Nursery Floribunda will help you stay in tune with the lushness of mother nature.

Kampung Dawuan, Desa Cimacan
Kecamatan Pacet , Cianjur
West Java, Indonesia
info@bundaflori.com
+6221 7379326
www.bundaflori.com

- Athina Ibrahim

Photography by Jatidiri Ono 

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Discovery: Revitalizing the Past at Jak Art Space

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 “The revitalization of  Jakarta since 2014 is a creative agenda. Without nostalgia, we could not return to the past; we “return” to the future, back to the future. We revitalize Space to Time; we change something stagnant to something of movement”Goenawan Mohamad

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Jakarta’s Old Town or familiarly known by the inhabitants as Kota Tua has always been a place to gather recollection of Jakarta’s past. The Old Town Area has beared witness of being the remaining district during the Dutch colonial time in the 16th century. Recognitions of history are now gathered at Fatahillah Square in its surrounded choices of Jakarta History Museum, Museum Keramik, Museum Bank Mandiri, and Pos Indonesia.

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To date, the compound has already gained masses of local dwellers and tourists seeking for a place to casually spend their afternoon enjoying a bike ride or sipping coffee while overlooking the beautiful architecture view through the favored Café Batavia.

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While the past can mesmerize us to stay in, time remains on going, and the once adored buildings of those era have for years faced its slow decay. The revitalization program organized by Jakarta Old Town Revitalization Corporation (JOTRC) and the Jakarta Endowment for Art and Heritage has gathered the best names in contemporary design and art world in Indonesia to relive the beauty of the place.

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Contemporary architect Andra Matin has started by redesigning the Post Office without changing the façade of the building. Instead he has incorporated the rustic feel of the place with a cleaner foundation. Inside the second floor is where the amusement lies. As a way to attract younger and urban locals to the site, the space is transformed into an art gallery consisting of over 40 contemporary pieces of artwork by 47 artists which highlight the theme of Identifying Indonesia.

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As Jakarta itself is broad to discover, Indonesia, as a country is much difficult to pinpoint, the diversity of islands and cultures raises questions of identity for its own people.  The exhibition itself aims to give a glimpse of varying interpretation of Indonesian taken from the perspective of these contemporary artists. Mix-mediums were used to highlight the varying themes of colonialism, identity, globalisation, women empowerment, emancipation, to exploitation, memories, or even obsession.

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When discussing the term ‘contemporary’ with a friend, she mentioned the term contemporary needs to speak for certain relevancy of time, place, and events. And as stated by Oei Hong Djien, a member of the Jeforah board of advisors, the 47 artworks in the exhibition is created for varying purposes, but the relevancy and theme is to highlight the Fiesta Jakarta Old Town today.

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In order for us to move forward, this exhibition invite us to take a step back and peer into the past before we can bridge a newly constructed future by the new generations.

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Identifying Indonesia
Until Sept. 24
Jak Art Space
Post Office, 2nd floor
Kota Tua, North Jakarta

- Athina Ibrahim

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Inside Tulisan’s Creative Process #4

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Step 4: Prototyping (Print)

The production process and raw materials used at Tulisan is thoroughly evaluated with proper research and development to comply with the Sustainable Design Principles – a design standard emphasizing environmental preservation by reducing carbon footprint.

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While the initial process of illustrating is spontaneous, full of character, and would capture emotions and stimulate the imagination, the composition of the prints must always be manually developed to become the patterns for textile.

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This art form is taken from the ‘Originals’ editions where each element is manually transformed to become a textile pattern. In order to keep up with Sustainable Design Principles, the patterns must be maximized and be able to fulfill the anagram concept, a perspective play on patterns, having it rearranged in various ways to have it face one direction only.

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By avoiding the usage of a pattern making software, each step in Tulisan is done organically without technical measurement which reduces flexibility and make it too rigid for cutting and change.

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Before applying the pattens on the materials, Melissa [Sunjaya] would continuously experiment with texture, shapes, and penmanship before the patterns are printed on a rotary machine which applies the latest technology called ‘reactive dye’ – a method where the dyes is absorbed to the material’s surface to produce vivid colors that withstands any weather conditions.

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Read the previous steps below:
Step 1: Preliminary Research and Sketching
Step 2: Writing the Stories
Step 3: Research and Development

- Tulisan Chronicles Team

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Discovery: The Weight of Weightlessness

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As a brand, Tulisan always tries to find the middle ground in bridging tactile work of art and its counter digital format. As much as possible, we always find a way to incorporate the love for traditional production methods in every step of Tulisan’s artwork. Thus, paper with its weight, texture, and printing methods are often a point of discussion at the office.

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In the following exhibition held at Dia.lo.gue artspace titled “The Weight of Weightlessness: Rhymes and Rhythms of Paper,” three Bandung-based artist, Prilla Tania, Irfan Hendrian, and Ivana Stojakovic, expose us to experience the symbolic love they have for paper.

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In their body of work, the three artists experiment with the heaviness and lightness of paper, often pushing their techniques to the extreme, they cut, shred, re-assemble, print or paint over their canvas paper before forming them into new forms visible seen in the art space.

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Deconstruction of ideas and methods become the main theme of their work, showing us visitors the various compositions paper can bring to life. Whether it is structured heavily with weight or kept light through its texture, we understand paper has transformative characteristics leaving us astound by its capability to influence an overall sensory experience.

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Dia.Lo.Gue Artspace
Jl. Kemang Selatan 99 a
Jakarta 12730, Indonesia
T. +62 21 719 9671
F. +62 21 719 9677

- Athina Ibrahim

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The Last Hurrah & More…

FB ProfileAs Spring is around the corner, we are preparing to put winter behind us, but not before we release the VIth and Final Delivery of the FW 13/14 collection of the Marigold Knit: Smokey Plum and Fuchsia Fantasia. Smokey Plum and Fuchsia Fantasia are the perfect transitional pieces to move from Winter to Spring, with colors just bright enough to evoke the spring spirit but subtle enough so you’re not dreaming of summer before spring even sets in!

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We also know since we released the collection in October, many of you have been just dying to get your hands on the Journalist Tote (Trust us, we have been waiting rather impatiently here too!) Well people, the time is now!

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On Wednesday, March 19, 2014, we will be releasing both the Fuchsia Fantasia and the Smokey Plum plus the Journalist Tote in 12 colorways! We will be serving tea and some cookies to anyone who stops by from 9AM until closing, and Melissa Sunjaya will be around from 1-3PM for signings!

BLOG-VI--Delivery-1So many options!!! We’re so confused about what to choose. What are your most excited about?
See you Wednesday.
xx Tulisan Team

P.S. Don’t forget that if you can’t join us in the store that you can order online at shop@tulisan.com AND that orders within Indonesia enjoy FREE shipping! 

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Inside Tulisan’s Creative Process #3

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Step 3: Research and Development

If the first two creative steps involve in creating the basis and content of the artwork. Proper research and development pushes the collected idea into the ideal visual representation and clearly defines the achievable objective. Each step has its own challenges. Starting from making the patterns work, selecting the right color, designing the bags and preparing the technical drawings for the factory before having the designs improved over and again until the designers are finally convinced with the outlook.

To understand step three in greater detail, we interviewed product designer and Tulisan’s design consultant, Weina Ding on the exploration of product development and how trend forecasting plays an important role in making Tulisan’s artwork stand on its own.

Can you briefly explain, based on your experience, what are the basis of fashion trend forecasting?

The trend forecasting is not only about fashion. It is a bit like alchemy — you are looking for the elements in trying to make something. Not one person says “this is the next trend” or “this is how it will be,” there are many analysis and reports involved and people who specialize on that. They generally investigate what is going on in the world, culturally, artistically, and through technology also.

After the research is made, they can forecast future projection. Where a social phenomenon can lead us in the next few years. The more advance specialist can make a forecast for the next five years.

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Who are these groups of people and how do they make their analysis?

It is a big operation. You have a group of people who specialize in this basis of observation. For example, right now, 3D printing is very popular in terms of its technology. Before when people wanted to make something they have to make a mold of the ceramics they are working on and making that requires you to go to a factory. Now, it is accessible to be done at home. This liberates the production processes for a lot of designers. It then becomes a new tendency. In the future, 3D printing is going to be affordable.

Moreover, there are also a lot of digitalized information available, so how people react to it would affect people in the artistic sense which can inspire trends. New aesthetics often develops based on the development of the culture.

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If you are a trend forecaster, do you need to always be very aware of what is going on around you?

Yes. They need to be very aware of every social, economic, or artistic development. A lot of it is also based on the intuition of the specialist. They have to have good sensitivity and to be good in overlooking what is going on. A sense of the bigger picture, because you are looking forward.

And this forecast is done annually?

The aim is to do it seasonally. Normally, it is done two years in advance. The clients who pay for this information need to be convinced that these projections would occur two years ahead.

It acts like a pyramid, you have the trend forecasting which is trickled down to all these retail space, but I am not talking about big brands because normally these brands already have good designers with their analysis and intuition. I am talking about fashion-related brands on the mid-range to start-up levels often receiving information on this trend forecasting. The process involved is not black and white, only receiving information and digesting it. They receive the materials and take it as an advisor. They do not put direct use to it, inside their company structure the designer has to be aware and make their own element.

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From the very deliberate trend forecasts, how do you select the elements and make sure they still appear to showcase Tulisan’s characteristics?

The simplest idea can be in the form of taking color trends. We do not necessarily have to copy the exact trends but we take it as references.

We need to adapt it to the Tulisan brands. For example, in Tulisan, Melissa [Sunjaya] does a lot of illustrations. These illustrations become the base element of the brand. How the elements are chosen are often based on intuition, picking something which is fresh and nice, and we then have to observe what is out there.

The narrative of the pattern is a big part of Melissa’s illustration, and how to bring that out to make it original and bring out Tulisan’s characteristic. There are many ways to make this interesting or inspiring. It could be organic forms or even a story background – there are countless of elements to be taken. You take what you can and see what works and what does not and that is based on our judgment. It is a tool that every designer must have. You need to have that intuition. It is not something people can tell you.

There is no exact formula, a lot of times it is experience, Melissa has many years of experience as a designer, there is a mental note of the observation and trends she sees and gathers. When you start working it may seem like an abstract way of working but it really shows into the work produced.

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Does every designer need to have an aim in picking the elements they want to take in their designs?

Melissa definitely has her own vision because she understands the brand inside and out, through that she can bring other inputs to see how she can improve it, but she has a goal in what she wants to achieve.

In talking about trend forecasting, most of this projection is happening on a global level. How is this project scaled down and made relevant to a local level?

The design team is part of the work. You also have the marketing team and sales, especially if you are running a retail space. Each role is important. It is important for the shop manager to know how to display the shop, so a little marketing plays to that as well and they need to also be aware about what product is selling and what is not. He/she has to be keen on customer’s behavior. His/her intuition and opinion values a lot and works for all retail space.

Suppose you have a shop based here and a branch based in Paris and you have different kind of reports from the sales manager, you can retrieve information on what products are selling in each distribution point. That is how the products become localized. You also have the marketing team and buyers, what elements work for customers on a local level. This has great influence on the design process. If you have the right system with the keen sense of alertness and awareness of each team member, everything becomes interconnected and every aspect can then translate to a local level.

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When do you know when a design has achieved your desired result? When do you stop?

You can modify it and change it constantly. But we all have limited situations, for example, time, not everyone has endless time to develop a product, if not you would not have any products in the shop. You need to have a dedicated goal and deadline. Timing is important to be calculated. When you need to develop a product and when you want to deliver it into the stores.

We are not reaching for perfection but the best result in the given time. The other challenges lies in the timing of the production process, suppose you want a particular zipper with matching color to the bag you designed, to order that to the factory requires waiting time and you also need to consider buying it in minimum quantity, even though you wanted to have it for sample first. So you have to see what you can do with the best, maybe you can not have a particular trimming, so timing and financial constraints can also be a challenge.

Do you think it looses the instinctive process and originality of the artist when one says trend forecasting makes a brand too commercial?

I think every designer has to be aware of what is going on, even though you do not necessarily have to make use of everything you receive. Originality is very objective nowadays. True originality is very diffused. It is not so important because it does not mean you have to do something that has not been done before. You can take a complimentary source of elements and in the end infuse it with your personal touch. It is not about being the most original of all. It is not relevant nowadays, it is important to retain the characteristics of your brand. Trend forecasting is mainly the knowledge you must posses.

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Read the previous steps below:
Step 1: Preliminary Research and Sketching
Step 2: Writing the Stories

- The Tulisan Chronicles Team

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Bibliofiles: The Species of Spaces and Other Pieces

perec2Breakfast on Tuesday.  8:14 a.m.  Warm toast.  Salted butter.  Milk forming lazy swirls atop the dark coffee in my cup.  The butter takes precisely 1 minute 47 seconds to dissolve into a salty puddle (which is just the way I like it).

These are the little things that you begin to take notice of after reading Georges Perec’s Species of Spaces and Other Pieces.  This book is a collection of the author’s essays and articles translated from his native French into English.  Even in its translated state each passage retains the author’s signature word play and his passion for the artifacts and instances that form and inform the everyday experience.

It is perhaps no surprise that a man who held a full-time job as an archivist in a science laboratory for all but a few years of his adult life would be infatuated with observing and classifying what he encounters.  What is surprising is that this same man was a key member of the OUvroir de LItterature POtentielle (commonly referred to as OuLiPo).  This collective of writers and mathematicians focused on word games and the use of formal constraints in literature, a practice that Perec wrote about with a deft gift for examining the mundane (or infra-ordinary as he would say) and extracting meaning from its seemingly drab façade.

Perec’s writing grapples mainly with examining, questioning, and occasionally solving life’s micro mysteries.  He writes:

“To question the habitual.  But that’s just it, we’re habituated to it.  We don’t question it, it doesn’t question us, it doesn’t seem to pose a problem, we live it without thinking, as if it carried within it neither questions nor answers, as if it weren’t the bearer of any information.  This is no longer even conditioning, it’s anesthesia.  We sleep through our lives in a dreamless sleep.”

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To avoid this dreamless sleep, Perec urges his readers to fully and thoughtfully examine their everyday habits and surroundings.  By perpetually observing, questioning, comparing, and analyzing what we take for granted, we learn about ourselves as individuals as well as a society.  To help the process along throughout the text he offers up several simple exercises.  With each assignment the author advocates you to “force yourself to see more flatly” for in doing so you are able to detect and deduce more information.  Where the eyes and mind are more attracted to the grandiose, out-of-the-ordinary, salacious, attractive and/or unusual, this is not where essential information is established or where fundamental questions are initiated.

It’s a refreshing perspective that transforms the backdrop to our lives into the stage on which we dwell.  It’s no wonder that Kerri Smith, author of the wildly popular interactive journals, Mess, Wreck this Journal, and Tear Up This Book (among others) has listed Perec’s Species of Spaces and Other Pieces as one of her all time favorite books.  It’s at once avant-garde and very down to earth.  Georges Perec manages to pair the cogent sensibilities of an adult with the precious imagination of a child, all the while encouraging his readers to do the same.

So, in the spirit of the book I have an assignment for you.  Don’t worry, you won’t be graded!  I ask that you take a perfectly timed ten minutes to sit somewhere in public (on the steps outside your apartment, in a coffee shop, on a bench in a mall) and document every single sound you hear.  For extra credit you can classify the noises you hear into arbitrary categories of your own design.  Most importantly after paying full attention to what would otherwise go unnoticed, what did you come away with?

~Melany Zwartjes

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**Up next from our bookshelf:  Born Under a Lucky Moon:  A Novel by Dana Precious.  Let’s delve into this engaging and quirky story of family, love, scandal, and new beginnings!

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On Top of it All: New Products!

hatsWe’ve got HATS in our Darmawangsa Square Store!

We are all currently swooning of all the ways we are gonna wear these! They are a perfect accessory to spice up an outfit, for a day when you just don’t have time to do your hair, need a quick way to cover it all up and look awesome at the same time, OR for that awesome vacation you’re planning!

Processed with VSCOcam with s2 preset Processed with VSCOcam with s2 presetTwiggy (Bucket Hat) is available in Luca Blue Note, Orange Tangerine, Fuschia Fantasy, Green Lime and Marigold Red Sangria, Yellow Canary, and Green Grass for IDR 398.000/-

 

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If you can’t make it to the store, don’t forget we have FREE Delivery in Indonesia! Just send us an email to shop@tulisan.com!

xxTulisan Team

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Kopi Asli Indonesia: Anomali Coffee & Promoting Indonesian Coffee

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Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetHere at Tulisan, our coffee ritual is on the verge of sacred. Like clockwork, every morning, lunch and afternoon, someone is basking in their coffee, and like fingerprints, and snowflakes, the art, and preparation is different for all of us. Between Nescafe, Nespresso, Starbucks and Ibu Didi’s Bali Coffee, it’s everywhere.

That said, hands down one of our favorites is Anomali Coffee, Kopi Asli Indonesia. We all have an Anomali love story, of our first love at first sip.

image_7Anomali’s goal and title, Kopi Asli Indonesia, aims to present Indonesian coffee to the world. From a brand taking its’ inspiration from Indonesia’s vibrant culture, and geography and with the same goal, introducing what Indonesia has to offer to the world, Anomali is one more muse, and reason for us to be proud. Although Indonesia is the 4th largest producer of coffee in the world (and 3rd for Robusta), countries like Ethiopia and Costa Rica are still one of the first choices for a cup of Java (hello! JAVA, like Javanese, like the Indonesian Island, perhaps it’s just me but it wasn’t until I came here that it clicked). Because Indonesia is known most for it’s Robusta coffee, it is assumed that Indonesia does not have high quality Arabica varieties to offer. Anomali is out to set this story straight.

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image_3With their brick covered walls crawling with ivy, warm lighting, funky vintage chairs and tables, the sack covered trays, and their beautiful packaging, it’s really just the perfect place to go to work, for a business meeting, to think, read a book or just daydream.

Let’s not forget the mention the most IMPORTANT part. We just go ga-ga over the quality of the coffee. Their baristas go through an extensive training, and their single origins are truly decadent and just SO smooth. Just like a fine wine, you truly taste all the notes from each variety, and it’s genuine to the legendary deep body and low acidity attributed to Indonesian coffee. Not to mention, the coffee is roasted onsite. I lived in Seattle, one of the coffee drinking capitals of the world, home the the infamous Starbucks, and it wasn’t until Anomali, that I became hooked.

image_2 image_5So next time you grab your cup of Java, remember that you can also have a fabulous cup of Papua, Bali or my favorite, Sumatra Mandheling (…or many many more).

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Until the next time, we’ll be daydreaming & people watching over our cup of coffee.

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xx Gabbie

PS. There are a few other wonderful Indonesian Coffee companies with similar missions of promoting high-quality, sustainable Indonesian coffee. Below there are a few links of some of them!

Morph Coffee
Kopi Kopi NYC
Jakarta Coffee House

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Artistic Processes: Ancient Art Forms in Singapore

Kiratham 2014Singapore has been a “melting pot” as long as the Indians and Chinese were trading. The country stands proudly on a campaign of cultural harmony, and aims to be a petri-dish for artistic innovation in Asia.

With that in mind, we were introduced to an ancient art form, that rarely travels from in roots in Kerala, South India. Kathakali is believed to have been developed in the 1500s -1600s in South India. It is an improvisational, dance drama who’s stories depict epics derived from the Mahabharata and Ramayana.

Bhaskar’s Arts Academy, founded and based in Singapore, is one of only a handful of companies outside India that promote Kathakali and host a troupe of artists.

Here at Tulisan, we really admire the process behind any art form and Kathakali is a perfect example of how the process is just as important as the art itself. This weekend, we went behind the scenes to discover the process behind the mask.

Much like in Balinese Dance, the connection and artist has to his character is considered divine and very personal. Because the artist is not only dancing, but also acting, improvising and usually embodying a Hindu deity, the performers’ experience is like a meditation.

Kiratham 2014Every Kathakali performer is required to know how to play every character in the traditional 101 “plays” within the Kathakali repertoire. Traditionally, performers came from several different regions for a performance, and it is not until they start their make-up routine that the characters they will play are determined. This means that the artist should have a deep understanding of the literature in both the Mahabharata and the Ramayana and are able to take on any role at any point.

Kathakali is an incredibly extravagant and exaggerated art form and the costumes parallel this trend perfectly. Every character has a large, ornate head piece or crown, which are also indicators of who the characters are. A halo like crown being hero, a tribal headpiece for a tribes person, a veil for women.

They also wear large “tutu” like skirts that exaggerate their movements, and add an almost comedic clumsiness and as well as frighteningly, intimidating giantlike presence.

Kiratham 2014Kiratham 2014Perhaps, on of the most striking parts of the costume are the masks that they apply. In addition to emphasizing the facial expressions (these people have facial muscle control like I have NEVER seen) they serve as symbols to the audience about which character is which.

Kiratham 2014Green indicates a  benevolent or heroic character.
A black or red beard indicates a bad character or the villain.
Beige/Yellow indicates a saint or a female.
Black face indicates a tribal character.

Each step is preceded by a prayer including putting on the bells.

Kiratham 2014 Kiratham 2014The entire process of getting ready takes 2-3 hours. Although here in Singapore they are not able to practice this as often, the ritual usually includes an traditional oil massage, and the make-up is made by the artists themselves using natural products like realgar, indigo, kohl and coconut oil.

Kiratham 2014The lengthy and strenuous process of getting ready for a show is preceded by years and years of training, and research.

Bhaskar’s Arts Academy presented Kiratham on Sunday, February 23, 2014 at the Goodman Arts Center Blackbox Theatre to a full house.

The improvisational style leads to an incredibly funny and entertaining depiction of ancient Hindu epics. Kathakali is always presented with live percussion, and vocals which serve as the narration of the story. Aside from being thoroughly struck by the acting and dancing, the experience is also accented by music and vocals.

Bhaskar’s Arts Academy regularly produces Kathakali and other Classical Indian performances in Singapore and abroad. Check out their website and blog for more information!
Kiratham 2014
xx Gabbie 

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