A covetable cache of Indonesian crafts

From textured ceramics to indigo textiles at Bali boutique Canaan

Gaya handmade ceramic cup in green
Gaya handmade ceramic cup in green

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.

Canaan naturally dyed indigo shibori pyjamas set
Canaan naturally dyed indigo shibori pyjamas set
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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).

Republic of Soap wild fig, tomato leaf, sandalwood and vetiver-scented reed diffuser
Republic of Soap wild fig, tomato leaf, sandalwood and vetiver-scented reed diffuser
Gaya handmade ceramic dinner plate, side plate and cup in green
Gaya handmade ceramic dinner plate, side plate and cup in green

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.

Indigo kimono from Katamama hotel in Seminyak
Indigo kimono from Katamama hotel in Seminyak
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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.

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