Archive for July 2014


Jul 28 2014

Sarongs and the Art of Batik

about sarongs and pareos / Crafts / Home Decor / uses for sarongs - 3 years ago -

Blades of Grass Batik Sarong (1)We like to focus on the amazing versatility of the sarong, but did you ever wonder what gives sarongs their stunning and original designs and those vibrant colors? It’s the batik process that’s used. Batik is an ancient art that has been practiced over the centuries in different parts of Asia, Africa, and India. Indonesia and Java are noted for their long history of making fine batik clothing and decorative items.

Tahitians brought their art to the island of Hawaii long before it was part of the United States, and Hawaii has developed its own tradition of batik.

The ancient tradition of using wax and dye is still practiced in many of these countries. Areas of the cloth are brushed with wax, and the cloth is then dyed. The areas covered with wax resist the dye and retain their original color. Highly skilled craftspeople repeat the process for more elaborate designs. After the process is complete, the wax is removed and the piece is ready.

The word “batik” is thought by some to be derived from a Malay word meaning “to write.” Others say it’s from a Javanese word, “tik,” meaning “to dot.” The art is, in fact, very common on the island of Java. When batik was first developed in Java, it was for the exclusive benefit of royalty and nobility. Royal women practiced batik as a hobby. Particular designs were the property of aristocratic families. The family’s status could be ascertained through these proprietary designs.

Today, tradition holds that certain designs have their own meanings and that they confer good luck and prosperity to those who wear them.

Batik artists today work with various fabrics such as silk, cotton, wool, and leather. Batik is also done on paper. The ancient craft is practiced in China and Europe as well as in the traditional strongholds of Malaysia, Java, and India.  Here at Turtle Island Imports, we are proud to carry stunning sarongs and other items of beauty and originality from the Indonesian island of Bali.


Jul 21 2014

KIDS HAVE FUN… WITH SARONGS

about sarongs and pareos / Crafts / Home Decor / uses for sarongs - 3 years ago -

Colorful Animal Print SarongDo you think kids can only have fun when there are dozens of toys available? Or when they have access to video games? Actually, kids have a grand time when they can let their imagination have free reign. Sometimes the fewer the toys, the better the game.

Marci found this out by accident when she got stranded with three kids at a riverside campsite. Not one of the kids was Marci’s. In fact, Marci didn’t have kids. Truth be told, kids made Marci nervous. What was worse, she barely knew these three kids. As she tells it, she did not volunteer to watch the kids.

It all started when she and the other campers were packing up to leave. Her friends and fellow campers, Mark and Leslee, parents of said kids, began to haul the kayaks to the trailer, a distance away. They called over their shoulders as they staggered along with the kayaks, “Marci, would you keep an eye on the kids for a minute?” Then they disappeared from sight. And didn’t come back.

As one minute turned into five and then ten, it became increasingly difficult to keep the kids close by. Thinking fast, Marci rummaged through her bag and found her sarong. She had brought it along as a cover-up and had only worn it once. “Hey kids, look at this!” she called out. The trio trooped over to where she was securing one end of the sarong to the picnic table with a few heavy rocks.

“What are you making?” asked the oldest. “Where’s Mommy?” asked the youngest. Marci kept working. She, too, wondered where Leslee was, but she wasn’t about to let the kids see her nervousness. She continued with her project, securing the other end of the sarong to the ground with more rocks. Voila! A play tent.

The kids caught on immediately, diving into the tent and beginning a game that took their minds off their missing parents. The makeshift tent was a fort, then a pirate hideout, and finally a secret clubhouse. They played and played, much to Marci’s relief, until Mark and Leslee reappeared, full of apologies.  On their way to the car, they happened to discover a campers who had slipped down a bank and sprained his ankle badly. Mark had gone looking for a ranger and Leslee had stayed with the injured camper until help came. They both admired Marci’s ingenuity and vowed to try it themselves in their backyard.


Jul 14 2014

Latest Turtle Island Imports Contest!

about sarongs and pareos / uses for sarongs - 3 years ago -

How do you wear your sarong?  Are you creative with your sarongs? Compete in our contest.  Starts July 21st!

What is the most creative way you have tied a sarong?

What is the most creative way you have tied a sarong?

Here are the details!  

Post your submission on our page:  https://www.facebook.com/turtleislandimports .

To win:

The grand prize for best way to tie a sarong wins $25 gift certificate to turtleislandimports.com. The three most creative, interesting or funny ways win any sarong we have in stock, up to a $15 value, including free shipping.

 


A Sarong by Any Other Name

about sarongs and pareos / Crafts / Home Decor / uses for sarongs - 3 years ago -

Would a sarong by any other name be as beautiful and useful?

Would a sarong by any other name be as beautiful and useful?

We know that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. Would a sarong by any other name be as beautiful and useful?

 

We’ve talked about some of the many uses for a sarong or pareo. Perhaps you’re wondering about the countries where these versatile garments are used, and the different names they are known by.

 

When you hear the word “sarong,” you may picture a beautiful Balinese woman wearing one. Sarongs are worn in many countries, from Malaysia, Indonesia, and other parts of Southeast Asia, to parts of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. In some places the rectangular lengths of fabric are worn by both men and women. Malaysian men wear their checked-pattern sarongs only when attending Friday prayers at the mosque. Women in Malaysia wear theirs every day. Arab fishermen in the Persian Gulf, Red Sea, and Indian Ocean also wear sarongs. In Sri Lanka, sarongs are traditionally worn only by men and mostly as casual dress at home, since the culture views them as a sign of the lower classes.

 

The word sarong derives from a Malay word meaning “sheath.” The sarong is the traditional clothing of Java and the Malaysian archipelago, where it is wrapped around the body and tied, usually at the waist.

 

In different cultures, sarongs are called by different names.  In certain parts of Africa, sarongs worn by men are termed “kangas;” those worn by women are known as “kikois.” In Saudi Arabia, one hears the name “izaar;” in Oman, they’re known as “wizaars.” In the south of India you might hear the term “mundu,” referring to sarongs worn at religious ceremonies. The better-known name for a sarong in India is “sari,” which means “strip of cloth” in Sanskrit. Saris tend to contain more fabric and be tied differently than the Southeast Asian sarong.

 

In Jhumpa Lahiri’s bestselling novel, Unaccustomed Earth, the title story’s protagonist speaks of her Indian mother owning 218 saris. That does seem like a lot. But when you consider the many different colors, designs, fabrics, and patterns, well, it still seems like a lot. Then compare it to the number of shoes some women own. Okay, we admit it. 218 is a staggering number of sarongs/saris. We’d love to hear from readers about the number of sarongs you or your friends own and the different ways you use them.

 

A sarong by any other name is still a comfortable, convenient, beautiful, and versatile cover-up. The possibilities are numerous, and we’ll explore more of them in future blog articles. Watch this space for more great ideas for using your sarongs this summer.


Jul 9 2014

Planning a Barbecue? Don’t Forget the Sarong

about sarongs and pareos / Crafts / Home Decor / uses for sarongs - 3 years ago -

Planning a Barbecue? Don’t Forget the Sarong

Planning a Barbecue? Don’t Forget the Sarong

Many Uses for a Sarong

Jeff and Joslyn hosted their first barbecue on July 4th this year. Young and married for just one year, they nervously ventured into the untried territory of entertaining guests. Friends had told them, “You can’t go wrong with a barbecue.” Hmmm. Are you sure?

No Apron? No Problem

The first thing to go wrong came out of left field just as the hamburger patties began to sizzle. As Jeff reached over to flip the burgers, he heard his father’s critical voice. “You’re not wearing an apron! Do you want to spatter grease on that nice shirt Mom and I got you for your birthday?” Jeff had worn the shirt because he thought his parents would be pleased to see him using their gift, but there was no pleasing Dad.

Joslyn had his back. In a second, she had grabbed her favorite sarong and draped it over Jeff, covering the endangered shirt. “We don’t have any aprons,” she said sweetly to her father-in-law. “I’ll be sure to get one next time I’m at the store.”

Sarong to the Rescue Again

She had just finished silently congratulating herself for her quick thinking when Jeff asked if she knew where the oven mitt was. She knew exactly where it was. It was on the ground after being slightly chewed on by the dog. No point explaining this in front of their guests. She reached for another sarong that she had been planning to cover the table with, and handed it to Jeff. Wrapped around the chewed up oven mitt several times, it worked quite well as an oven mitt cover-up. And no one knew there was a slightly chewed up oven mitt underneath, protecting his hand!

Decorative and Useful

As soon as Joslyn could reclaim the oven mitt/sarong, she spread it on the table. It looked beautiful and festive. When the barbecue was turned off and there was no longer a need to protect his shirt, Jeff peeled off the first sarong and spread it on the grass. He and his Dad sat down to eat and talk about a safe subject, one of the few they actually agreed on: baseball. Joslyn took a deep breath and sank into a patio chair. Her first attempt at entertaining seemed to be going well, thanks to the multi-purpose sarongs.