Holiday Gift: Hand-painted Silk Robes from Bali
Occasionally, you receive that rare holiday gift that actually makes you feel like a rock star–a very pampered, gorgeous rock star. These hand-painted silk robes from Bali are that kind of gift. When I recently slipped into my deep royal purple robe, I felt glamorous and hip, a bit like Mick Jagger, but perhaps a healthy, radiant version, hanging out at a spa in Mallorca.
Oh, that we could all receive a holiday gift that made us feel so fabulous: smooth, draping silk to make us feel sexy, hand-painted wings to make us feel like we could take flight. As you can see in this short video here, each feathery detail on these robes is painted with focused attention by a team of Balinese artisans.
Using a batik process, the wing pattern is drawn on by hand with wax, then a team of painters color in the design in tandem. No machines, no sweatshops, nothing but real people working together to make something beautiful. The fact that this robe is a custom-made creation between Balinese artists and the small Austin-based company Brilliant Imports, makes this luxury feel good on many levels.
Brilliant Imports is the passion project of Amy L. Campbell, a former banking executive who loves treasure hunting while traveling so much that she turned it into a business. The company was born out of Campbell’s desire to find a quality alternative to the cheap handicrafts that you see at every tourist trap abroad. Campbell seeks and creates well-made uncommon objects, many one-of-a-kind, which still feel like a good deal.
“I love finding things that you can’t find in the States,” says Campbell, “the unique pieces that represent the country where they came from in an authentic way. I want real artistry made by people with whom I have a real relationship.”
Campbell’s first stop in this treasure-hunting endeavor was Bali, a country that she fell in love with easily. She forged ties with the people she met, collaborating intimately with the artists she hired. “Everyone is an artist there,” she says, “even if it’s the simple creativity of offering baskets of fruit and flowers to a Hindu deity. The island has a magic quality,” she explains.
And in return for all of the collaboration and support Campbell receives from her Brilliant Imports’ counterparts in Bali, Campbell provides stable work and helps support their children’s education.
With an eye for the items that adapt well to modern Western homes–ikat pillows; clean, contemporary baskets; hand-made meditation cushions; and a pantheon of handsome Buddhas and delicate Balinese deities—she prioritizes easy ways to create a little corner of calm and joy in your home, too. Campbell calls it “sanctuary in design.”
“You don’t have to be Buddhist to want a Buddha in your house, just to bring a little Zen in,” says Campbell. “These Quan Yin statues and the Saraswatis– you don’t have to have an affinity towards that religion to take in their beauty. So many of these things, when you take a moment to really look at them, they have a calming effect. That’s what I want to give people.” Available online at Brilliant Imports.