On the weekends I try to get away with just Roan. I try to find something to do with him that’s fun. We both love movies, so we go often. We both love getting pedicures so we go often. And lucky me, Roan is a kid that loves to try new things. So when a reader named Robyn (who lives near me and has twins), got in touch to tell me about her shop I knew it had to be on the books for my boy and me.
Hiho Batik is a shop in Park Slope, Brooklyn owned by Robyn and Julia. Now – I had never heard of “Batik” but everyone I’ve talked to about this place has, so maybe you too already know about it. If not – simply put, it’s decorating cloth, and in this case t-shirts, with wax and dye. (They also have hoodies, bags, long sleeves etc. available.) This was so completely up mine and Roan’s alley. Not so much because we’d be good at it, but because we do love to customize our little hearts out, in everything we do.
Roan and I invited our friends Lola and Javier to join us. This place is just awesome. The walls are lined with these cute T-shirts. I will happily admit that I’m a sucker for T’s. It’s basically my uniform. T-shirt, jeans. Original, no? But these are actually original. All one-of-a-kind. And the toys they sell there are carefully curated – none of them mass-produced. I had to spring for a bow and arrow set for the boys, because well…I mean. How could I not?
Ok – so the process. It’s superfun and even if you’re an artistic flub like me, you will not feel dumb. It’s easy and kind of mistake-proof because there’s not a definite defined look, really. I went for a star because it’s one of the three things I can draw. Roan went abstract, Lola went with a message and Jav went with a skull. After drawing the design and tracing it on the shirt, we line it in hot wax at a space-age underlit hot wax bar. Then comes the color – I sort of couldn’t stop myself. I kept mixing and adding until I was gently reminded by my son that sometimes we have to edit ourselves. He hears that on Project Runway a lot. He was not wrong.
Finally we choose what color we want our T-shirt to be dyed, then we say goodbye. The Hiho Batik elves work their magic and finish up the process over the next few days, and voilà! A T-shirt that is all my own. The results are great which is a testament to the ease of this process. Also, as a bonus the T comes to you super soft because it’s been washed seven-thousand times. Maybe less. But soft!
All said, I am a huge fan of Hiho Batik. This was one of the funnest things Roan and I have done together. There’s a lot of interaction and conversation that can take place during the process. As much as we love doing things together, it is kind of rare to find something that we can collaborate on, or that keeps our conversation going. This did both for us. I have a feeling an adult group – birthday party, first date, team building – whatever – would be awesome here. So gold stars all around, and if you’re a Brooklynite or are in the area, go there with my full-on, highest, most emphatic recommendation.
[Update: Robyn from Hiho Batik has offered a discount to readers of Pistols + Popcorn. Through the rest of 2012, mention Pistols + Popcorn, and get 10% off.]