I was raised in a Chinese-Madurese family in Jakarta, Indonesia, where Indonesian textiles were part of casual everyday life. It was not until I left Indonesia to study in the US that I was able to gain a new perspective on the importance, meaning, and beauty of textiles, and the role they play throughout history on shaping and reflecting cultural and artistic influences on a community.
Through my academic studies and professional work in New York City and Los Angeles from the 1980s to the early 2000s, I entered into a community of preeminent textile specialists. There I had access to world class textile collections at the Cooper-Hewitt Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, where I learned to examine ancient textiles under a microscope to decipher woven structures and what kinds of looms, dyes, process, and techniques were used in the creation of each textile.
In my early career, I focused on textile conservation and worked as textile conservator at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in New York City as well as assistant curator of Costume and Textiles at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. From there, my interests expanded from conservation to research which led me to pursue a Ph.D. in art history at UC Berkeley where I conducted research on depictions of textile patterns on stone and metal sculptures and temple reliefs in Java from the 8th to 15th centuries (Hindu-Buddhist period).
As part of my doctoral work, I lived in Leiden, the Netherlands, for three years, researching its great repository of ancient Indonesian arts and early colonial textile collections.
I founded the Tracing Patterns Foundation in 2018 with the vision of creating a community of international scholars, textile makers and designers to conduct research on both traditional and contemporary textiles.
In addition to running the Tracing Patterns Foundation from my home in Berkeley, California, I teach university classes in Indonesia, seeding the next generation of Indonesian textile and fashion designers to have an appreciation and understanding of ancient and contemporary textiles.