Monthly Archives: February 2012

Movies with A Twist of Cruz

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J’adore Penelope Cruz! Not only because she is that beautiful, but I literally spent yesterday watching two of her movies and found it highly productive to find muse. Both movies were recommended by Melissa. The first was ‘A Matador’s Mistress‘ starring Adrian Brody and Penelope Cruz in a 1940’s Spain setting. It  was a story of the life of Manuel Laureano Rodríguez Sánchez, also known as Manolette,  the best matador ever known to date. The movie depicted his short life and the love that led him to his death. He was madly in love with Lupe, acted out by Penelope Cruz. And the movie plotted the morning when he was about to meet his last bull fight, time took him to go back to what matters most in his life: Lupe. It was a passionate and intense movie of loving and never giving a chance to let the one you love leave your thoughts. The time traveling plot carried us around to Cordoba, Madrid, Linares, and Mexico with the classic Mediteranian breeze that seemed to come out of the screen.

I adore the movie and the detailed pattern it built, literally and figuratively. The vintage fabrics and dresses the ladies wore, the beads that went to the matador’s outfit, the fenced terrace where Lupe dried her linens, the little boys with dirt covering their clothes and faces, or even the arrogance of a bullfighter in his court.

Now, I am making a list of movies that I’d propose to Melissa for our next productively inspired movie session. xRs.


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Composing The Story of Admiral Kasarung

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When Melissa first shared me her idea of incorporating Indonesian folk tales on Tulisan’s 2012 edition series, I wondered if I could still explore these stories as much as I could do on an original story. The Secret Garden of Admiral Kasarung was my first attempt. The story of Admiral Kasarung was derived from a West Java folklore, “Lutung Kasarung”. Melissa had a very vivid idea of how she wanted the illustration to be elegant and exquisite with a monarchial touch. Her brief gave me a platform to work on the original story and it conceived a concept of how to twist the story. I was in the middle of reading  Siddhartha  by Herman Hesse when I started writing Kasarung. Siddhartha’s devotion to Kamala, the beautiful courtesan in the book, reflected how I imagine Kasarung and Purbasari exchanged their feelings toward each other.

Melissa and Melany Zwartjes helped edited and enriched the story with their eloquent words and ecstatic insights. I still get the shivers whenever reading the final story. Here’s a full version of the story. xRs.


In a time long ago, there lived deep in the forest of Java an enchanted admiral by the name of Kasarung. Kasarung was half man, half ape but he was no beast. His goddess mother had cast a spell on him which made him lose his handsome features. It was an act they had agreed upon such that Kasarung could find a lasting and true love. Having embraced a facade that would deter disingenuous suitors he then fled from heaven and built himself a sanctuary in the jungle to set about finding a soulmate.

Kasarung quickly came to know the forest by heart. Apes were not a common sight in the dense forest, but Kasarung’s wisdom and sophisticated style had earned him the friendship and respect of many of the forest’s animal residents. Moreover, the forest was mysterious place. The trees whispered enchanting tales of mystical events. The river, carrying the roar of the sea, spoke of times when magic unfolded on its misty banks. Everyone seemed to agree that this curious being was destined to set in motion yet another numinous happening.

“The Admiral is here!” the little boars cheered whenever Kasarung passed by. In his uniform and with a cigar in his hand, he would cross the river to chat with the crocodiles. “The weather has been rather humid lately,” he would say with debonair charm. Sometimes, when relaxing atop the forest canopy, he would whistle to the birds and applaud them for their orchestrated tweets. Though he loved to frolic and socialize with his woodland friends, he always remained mindful of his real purpose for residing in the forest: to discover and experience true love. He recited poems to the lovebirds seeking insight on the matter. He wandered the rose garden and admired the exquisite flowers but still somehow the pleasure of beholding their beauty felt shallow. By night, he indulged in chemical experiments and botanical research. His goal was to create a secret garden, overflowing with enormous flowers and eccentric vines, to share with the woman in his life.

One afternoon during a mountain stroll to a nearby lake, he spotted a cottage hidden within a pool of lotuses. As he walked along the water’s edge something caught his eye. There, in the milieu of pink flowers, was a majestic beauty that he could not resist. As his eyes focused he was instantly love-struck by a young lady with long black silky hair and dark skin. Thrilled by his discovery, but unsure of how to proceed, Kasarung returned home to seek out the advice of his friends. 

“Her name is Purbasari,” revealed the geese when the dashing admiral told them of his encounter. “She feeds us crumbs of bread, but always is innately shy toward strangers.” With the help of his docile comrades, the Admiral devised a plan to meet the lady and win her heart. 

That next morning, Kasarung jumped in the lake and pretended to drown as he approached Lady Purbasari’s cottage. As she pulled him out of the water, he was profoundly taken aback by her tender kindness.  Her skin was coarse but a seductive grace filled her presence. As she comforted her rescued prince, Purbasari realized that she shared with Kasarung the unyielding wish to spend a lifetime with someone unconcerned with facades.

That happy introduction was followed by countless hours of conversation and an invitation from Kasarung to explore the forest. A thrilling idea indeed! For years, Purbasari had wanted to explore the jungle but her shyness had kept her from venturing too far from her beloved home. From then on, Admiral Kasarung and Lady Purbasari were inseparable. He introduced her to the creatures of the forest and she taught him the Latin name of each plant they encountered. She was fascinated with the way he collected specimens of the Celosia cristata and Amanita muscaria in the woods. “Why are you so concerned with meticulously gathering those plants?” Purbasari would often ask. Kasarung simply smiled and kissed his Lady’s hand. Purbasari did not mind his vague response for she had once heard that the best companion accepted that some things are best left to the imagination. 

Two years after their first encounter, and on the second day of the second month of that year, Admiral Kasarung threw an intimate rendezvous. Purbasari arrived elegantly dressed with her dark hair flowing to her waist was.  Kasarung’s heart was pounding, as he led Purbasari to the secret garden he had carefully nurtured. There she saw the giant Celosia cristata with its colors so beautiful it brightened the night.  Placed beside the stunning flower was a potted bush that had been painstakingly cultivated to form the number “2”. It was a night like no other. The Admiral simply whispered “All of these wild beauties that are mine now belong to you my lady, for you have given me peace in knowing that you exist in my world…”

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Happy belated Valentine’s Day! What a fun day it was for us. Melissa was invited to do a live shooting for TV One’s Coffee Break program with Irwanardi and Nira Stania. She talked about everything! From the story of how Tulisan started and worked as a channel to capture emotions, our latest edition, and even the technicalities of choosing color ways.

When we got back to the office, we found this lovely cake from Sarah waiting on our table. Thank you, Sarah! xRs.

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Thinking Outside of The ToyBox

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By now many of our New Year’s Resolutions have been cast aside or mentally filed away under “naively ambitious projects.” At Tulisan, we may not be able to make a treadmill pleasurable, or dieting a treat, but we can help make getting organized a beautiful task.

Our Toybox is a great way to sort, store, & keep your things nice and tidy. Of course it’s perfect for keeping toys out-of-the-way, but it’s also an excellent tool for keeping your groceries, reusable market bags, and/or essential car supplies conveniently accounted for in your trunk.

The Tulisan Toybox can also keep your pet’s belongings stylishly hidden in plain sight. When headed to the beach, your towels, sunblock, and toys can all be carried with ease while your keys remain securely clipped to the attached carabiner.

The Toybox is a great size for using as a hamper. Since they are completely collapsible you can even stash one in your suitcase to use for laundry storage, or as a general means to elegantly unpack when staying with friends/family.

Overall we think the Toybox is terrific for more than just child’s play. Drop us an email and fill us in how you use yours.

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Newly Minted Ideas

On a recent trip to the Mint Museum of Toys in Singapore I was so enchanted by the bright colors and fonts seen on the packages of the delighful vintage toys, that when I returned to Jakarta I immediately went to work on creating items that conveyed the same of cheerful  and flamboyant qualities.

Tulisan’s Pepe Doll project was actually inspired by treasures housed in the Mint Museum.

 These rich colors and eye-catching fonts convey a kind of idealism & nostalgia that I wanted to further explore.

I love to delve into the past to seek out inspiration.  Often I find it when I look at vintage batiks or iconic graphics, but on that day it was found in the childhood playthings from decades past. Triple kisses, Melissa Sunjaya

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Daisy Loop

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Last week my mom, Didi, gathered different scraps of our printed canvas and turned it into daisy-shaped ornament loops. It can be used to personalize your hand bags, color code your luggages or decorate your room. These hand made daisy loops are produced in a limited amount and are now available in our store at Darmawangsa Square. Thanks for this brilliant idea, mom! Hope you enjoy these daisy loops.  Triple kisses, Melissa Sunjaya.

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The Sketches of Admiral Kasarung

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Dear you who reads this,

It is close to midnight in Jakarta and here I am in my art studio, having a little insomnia and thinking of my new collection “The Secret Garden of Admiral Kasarung” – the first illustrated edition of this year. It marks Tulisan’s second anniversary. After two gratifying years of becoming a storyteller and a dream-catcher, I have decided to dedicate this year to depict a selection of Indonesian folk tales that were my childhood’s favorite and to share with you both my imagination and fascination on these stories.

Lutung Kasarung is a Javanese mythology about a true love that cannot be measured by materials or physical beauty. I love this story because it shares similar values with “Notre-Dame de Paris” by Victor Hugo or the Grimm brother’s “The Frog Prince”.  When my grand mother first told me about this enchanted ape, prince Kasarung, I created a heroic figure inside my mind. I pictured this ape as a quirky, poetic and charming aristocrat who was also a fearless rebel like Che Guevara. What won my heart the most in his character was how he recognized the true quality of his best friend Princess Purbasari despite her skin disease which covered her natural beauty. I always imagine the surreal setting and ambiance of how they first met in the forest: the smell of a tropical rain-forest combined with some Provence antique furnitures and a collection of vintage Italian music from Jula De Palma.

I love what I do as a dream-catcher and storyteller, but the real ecstasy in this job always happens when I get to brainstorm with Rassi Narika and Myra Bianda, my crazy creative duo in Tulisan. Rassi writes most of my dreams. She composed it into poetic short stories, and she does it passionately. Myra orchestrates the complete product collection. She is an eclectic and sensitive creature who makes sure my dreams are translated well into the bags, skirts and all sorts of things in our reality. At the moment, Rassi is writing the complete story of “The Secret Garden of Admiral Kasarung” while Myra is busting her times in finishing the product collection.

Giclée print reproduction of this first illustrated edition in 2012 is now available in four sizes at our shop in Darmawangsa Square.

Triple kisses, Melissa Sunjaya.

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A Box of Love

Putting a gift for Valentine’s Day might be tricky. You want something nice and thoughtful, but you don’t want to over do it. So we put together our favorite traditional cookies in our gift box and fill it up with a sprinkle of love. For an even more special person, get her our special package set of Breakfast for Two or Siesta Tote. And of course you can always customize an exceptional combination that would win her heart.


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