with excepts from LoUniverse Gallery, All About Lou, www.louzeldis.com
If you have visited our shop in Ubud, Bali, you may remember the exquisite, bold batik panels displayed at the end of the upstairs gallery. These were all designed by Lou Zeldis, and made by him in collaboration with batik artists and natural dyers in Java.
Since Lou passed away in 2012, batik works from his collection have been on sale at Threads of Life. But as this trove empties, his estate has offered us the exciting opportunity to continue reproducing his batik work, using detailed documentation of his designs and colour schemes.
We are therefore reengaging with his producers, though it will be a journey to rebuild production. Where there were once a hundred families involved in Lou’s batik work, less than ten households are still producing. Without demand for their detailed and highly-skilled work, many took jobs in local cement and sugar factories. Threads of Life hopes to not only continue to produce Lou Zeldis designs with these artisans but also to focus on reviving old natural dye recipes and the use of sustainably sourced dye materials.
Lou Zeldis was born in New York City in the USA in 1944. “From an early age he had an affinity for the performing arts and when his family moved to California, he began a formal study of ballet. His father, a pathologist at UCLA, researching the effects of the atomic bomb in Hiroshima, moved the family to Japan when Lou was in high school. These two years in Japan exposed Lou to a culture that would inform his sensibilities for the remainder of his life.” www.louzeldis.com
Lou was enchanted by how world cultures expressed themselves in the form of textiles, jewelry and sculpture. When he began living on Bali, he described his approach to his art as “Modern Eyes, Ancient Hands”. Lou worked closely with gifted batik artisans on Java and jewelers and craft sculptures on Bali.
Lou’s experience of extensive travel around the world attracted him to jewelry and he applied his creative imagination to using sterling silver, wood and 22k gold jewelry as he worked alongside masterful metalsmiths. His body of work along with exquisite new Lou-inspired pieces are available at www.louzeldis.com
On the island of Java, he created an extensive body of batiks. This hand-drawn batik is the result of much time and effort using traditional techniques of wax-resist patterning and natural dyes. His masterful designs were inspired by nature, found objects, and his travels across the world. After Lou died in 2012, his batiks were produced on a much-reduced level as his warehouses in Los Angeles and Bali were still full of past production.
Lou Zeldis was an artist, a collector, and a supporter of all things beautiful, mystical, ancient and new. The body of work manifested in his sixty-eight years is staggering; it is the product of genius. A shaman, a wizard, a magician, a dancer, a performer, a down to earth and wonderfully eccentric human being: Lou created timeless magic.
And the beat goes on… Threads of Life has always valued its connection to Lou and the magic and brilliance of his work. It is our privilege to have been granted the rights to his designs so that more of you can enjoy and appreciate his story and work.
Thank you, Lou. Your brilliance is always an inspiration to us.