"We had to find a way to survive after the earthquake though. We still had 200 pieces of batik and three million rupiah for our daily needs. I had to start all over again."
"My name is Sudalyiah, but everyone calls Ibu Daljiyah, where Ibu is said as a sign of respect and Daljiyah is my both my nickname, and my artistic name. I was born on June 7th, 1963, and I live in a small village in Yogyakarta. I am married and I have two beautiful daughters, the oldest one just started college. When I asked my friends to describe me, they said I am very a honest person, I say things just the way they are, and I don’t exaggerate.
"When I was seven years old I lived with my aunt in Solo, where I constantly saw people working with batik techniques. I was enthralled with everything they did! I loved watching the women draw a pattern repeatedly on empty fabrics.
"When I was a teenager all I wanted to do is help out my parents by working as hard as I could, so I didn't go to college after I finished high school. My neighbor offered me to work in Malioboro, but my parents wouldn't let me, so I tried to find another way for them to give me permission. Finally I joined a youth organization in my village, a group of young people who collected swaths of cloths that were left over, and turn them into bed sheets. We sold them in Yogyakarta, so I could go back and forth to Malioboro and earn some money for my parents. That experience taught me the basics about fabrics.
"I started to learn about batik after I got married, when I was 22 years old. My grandmother was the one who taught me. When she was young she used to make her own batik and sell it to rich people who lived in Yogyakarta. In 1995 I started to buy my own fabrics and make my own batik. But since I didn't have sufficient funds, I gave my batik to a big batik company owner for the finishing part.
"The big earthquake of 2006 destroyed everything that me and my family had. We lost our small house and a small groceries store that we built with the money that I made from my batik products.
"We had to find a way to survive after the earthquake though. We still had 200 pieces of batik and three million rupiah (approximately $300) for our daily needs. I had to start all over again. The money from selling those 200 pieces of batik was enough to buy a few more material and pay some people working with me. Since I have regular customers, within a year I was able to overcome this difficult moment, even working at a small capacity.
"The most challenging part of making batik is working with silk, as the fabric comes from nature. We have to be very careful when picking the perfect kind, so when it goes through the coloring process it won't be uneven.
"Now, I have invited more people to work with me who are experienced batik artists, and sometimes my neighbor helps us when we have too many orders."