Unique Batik Blog

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The threads that connect us all

No matter where your address falls relative to the equator, there will come a time when an extra layer of warmth is required or appreciated. Winter is also a time when less sunshine can equal a glum mood. Unique Batik has remedies for both winter’s chill and the winter blahs and it all starts with fabric.

For centuries, layers of fabric has been used to create both practical and artistic clothing and quilts, but without local fabric stores, it wasn’t an easy process. Fabric yardage was costly and not as easy to come by before the 20th century. Dying techniques required specific plants to produce individual colors – through the 1920s, colors known as cheddar yellow, Turkey red and indigo were common. Most of the botanicals needed for fabric dying grew in only one part of the world, adding import cost to the finished product.

High cost and relative scarcity meant that quilters had to be creative when sourcing materials. Even the most worn items of clothing were re-cut and stitched into quilts. The industrial revolution was a seamstress’s dream come true as more colors became available. Fabric also became much more affordable and plentiful.

Among the many textile-related myths through the ages is the one about flour- and feedsack fabric. Many grandchildren remembered stories their grandmothers told about making clothing and quilts out of flour- and feedsacks that mysteriously were made of decorative fabric. Eventually the story became one of poverty and despair (families so poor that they made clothing out of feedsacks).

The truth is more about the power of advertising premiums. Just like the toy inside the cereal box, flour and livestock feed producers lined their sacks with attractive sewing fabric. But more than one sack was needed to create an entire dress so excess flour and feed was often purchased.  Dresses, aprons and quilts made of flour- and feedsack fabric is a slice of true Americana and an item in mint condition now fetches a high price.

Unique Batik features a wide variety of fabric and textile items. Sewing is a craft that remains popular as both a hobby and a livelihood.

Our Quilt Wallhanging does double duty as a throw or a wallhanging. Bright colors also make up for lack of sunshine. For little ones that find geometric combinations stimulating, our Crib Quilt can also provide warmth or a fascinating focal point on a nursery wall. For quilters and sewers that find happiness in creating their own masterpieces, our batik fabric from Ghana is available by the yard.

But it’s our vast selection of bags that is sure to brighten even the darkest days. Created with a wide variety of techniques – from crocheting and embroidery to weaving and quilting – it’s a rare item indeed that won’t find its perfect bag match.

Brilliant hues, warm layers and fashionable details can all combine to keep your mind off the temperature and cloudy days. Fabric has brought comfort to many people over time and continues to illuminate every day.


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Coins that adorn, coins that deliver a message

Thousands of years before Google’s or Facebook’s algorithms, there was the I Ching – a form of divination where coins are tossed like dice and the numbers that are thrown are read. But first, the numbers are organized into one of dozens of formations that, in turn, correspond to a section of the I Ching text. It is believed that your personal energy works through the metal in the I Ching coins to determine what numbers appear. Therefore, whatever section of the I Ching the coins point to is the message you need to hear.

Over the millennia, the I Ching has been manipulated to serve individual practitioner’s uses. Hard core I Ching practitioners are considered sages and the interpretations they deliver are considered divine wisdom. But, like tarot cards, the Ouija board and even fortune fish, many modern applications of the I Ching are for amusement.

IMG_0616The I Ching text itself offers moral messages that are widely applicable. Think horoscopes that offer broad messages that could apply to anyone, regardless of birth date and time. If you sought the skill of an I Ching practitioner in ancient China, you were likely to get an interpretation that corresponded to the wishes of the ruler of the time. If an army needed to be built and you were a young adult male, your message would probably encourage you to show your bravery and join your countrymen and fight.

Unique Batik’s iching bracelets and iching mini bracelets are among our best selling products. Who isn’t attracted to the idea that the I Ching coins on the bracelet you were drawn to might nudge you toward your destiny? Around the globe, customers are encouraged to touch bracelets made with I Ching (or similar) coins so their personal energy can connect with the coins that will best guide them.

Personal destiny is a theme that has been used throughout art and literature and – no surprise – on the Internet. Many people seem to have an innate need to discover their purpose on the planet and the Internet seems to be the new marketplace for the 21st century version on I Ching practitioners to set up shop.

IMG_0617There are I Ching interpretations that allow web surfers to click on a button to get a reading. More sophisticated online resources require the user to concentrate (Harder! You’re not concentrating enough! Give it everything you’ve got) before clicking in order to increase the likelihood that the I Ching coin buttons you chose to click were truly chosen through your personal energy.

Taking time to choose an iching bracelet or to hold I Ching coins in your hand to warm them with your inner spirit before you throw them, poses little harm. The concept that there is a greater purpose for our lives and we can reach our destiny through encouraging messages is not specific to just the I Ching. Whatever drives us to find meaning in our lives so we can more effectively play a larger role in the world is positive movement in the right direction.