I write this far away from the sweltering heat of Seminyak in Bali, where I travelled to last year. Back in London, looking at the bare bone trees outside my window, I feel an age away from the swaying palms and blossom-scented air of this beautiful corner of Indonesia. But wrapped up as I am in an indigo kimono that graduates in colour from a cream specked teal to a smoky grey blue and was hand-dyed in Ubud, my trip is never far from my mind.
Tracking down fine indigo-plant-dyed goods was one of my many missions in Bali. I trawled through some recommended shops in Ubud, but didn’t find anything spectacular. It was in Seminyak instead, at the Katamama hotel, I uncovered a treasure trove. This new design-focused hotel worked with a number of local artisans to create cherishable objets – from carpets, ceramics, and glassware to the indigo kimonos to be used by guests during their stay, but also available to buy (IDR750,000, about £45).
More treasures were to be found in the shop attached to the hotel. Canaan – signalling the wave of new cool in Bali is nestled next to a juice bar and coffee shop – showcases some of Indonesia’s best craftsmen, from weavers to ceramicists. I picked up many beautiful things for the home; a powder-pink ceramic beaker (about £8) by Jakarta based Polkaa Home Goods goes into my basket, along with some exquisite cups (about £18 each) from Ubud-based Gaya Ceramic. Echoing the colours of indigo and the texture of Ikat fabric, their surface juxtaposes glossy and matte glazes, lending it a shimmery glean.
More dip-dyed indigo goods from Sumba take my fancy, including a fabric-covered journal (about £30). And as I peruse the textile pieces on offer – very tempted by a blue pyjama set (about £90) to go with my kimono – the smell of wild fig, tomato leaf, sandalwood and vetiver fills the air. This scent stays with me all the way to London in the form of a deliciously perfumed diffuser (about £29) by local company Republic of Soap. Tempted? These local designs can be shipped internationally from the online shop.