Boody Wear

Boody call!

Are you still looking for the most comfortable and ecologically responsible undergarments known to man and woman? So were we, but it looks like we’ve found them: Boody Wear.

Here at Bambu Batu, we never stop striving to find the best bamboo options on the market. That’s how we’ve stayed in business for ten years now and counting. That’s also how we discovered such favorites at the deluxe bamboo towels from Daisy House and the 100% bamboo sheets from Bed Voyage.

And now we are delighted to announce a new day in the world of bamboo panties. In the interest of full disclosure, I should say that my wife discovered and purchased a pair of Boody Wear classic bikini panties at a health food store up in the Santa Cruz mountains. After having tried out a dozen different brands and styles of bamboo undies over the past decade, she was quickly convinced and these became her new favorites.

So we now carry those bikini briefs and several other styles of women’s bamboo undies from Boody Wear, as well as three different styles of leggings (another personal favorite) and a wide variety of tank tops, camisoles and undershirts. Boody also makes a couple styles of men’s bamboo underwear—both boxers and briefs—and some exceedingly comfortable and well-made bamboo socks. And like my wife, many of our customers are quickly becoming addicted to Boody’s superior softness and quality fit.

If you’re looking to enjoy the comfort of bamboo, with softness where it really counts, I invite you to come on in to Bambu Batu and peruse our undergarments. (Yes, I really said that!) But be careful, you might get hooked.

Life in the SLO Lane

Over the years, Bambu Batu has earned a pretty solid reputation for creating some of the best bamboo t-shirt designs available anywhere. So we are very proud to introduce the latest jewel in our eco-conscious crown: Life in the SLO Lane.

Anyone who’s ever worn a bamboo t-shirt can assure you that it’s about the softest, most comfortable material known to man. Not only that, but its fast growing and resilient growth habit make it one of the most sustainable resources as well.

And anyone who’s ever spent any time on California’s gorgeous Central Coast can tell you that there’s no place on earth like San Luis Obispo. Often described as the happiest city in America, SLO has a charm and a lifestyle all its own. Situated almost exactly halfway between the sprawling metropolitan areas of LA and the San Francisco Bay, and about 10 minutes from the pristine coast, the little town of 44,000 features many of the cultural opportunities and amenities of the city, without all the hassles of traffic, smog, crime and congestion. Spend a couple days here, and you’ll soon realize just what we mean by the “SLO Life”.

This original t-shirt celebrates our way of life with style and comfort. It comes in several colors—sky blue, brick red, harvest orange, pine green and mustard—and in all sizes for men and women. This unique design is printed locally in small batches, so they’re not on our website yet, but feel free place your order by phone (805-788-0806), or better yet, stop by Bambu Batu and see it for yourself.

Holiday Boutique

Two days till Thanksgiving, and there’s a sense of hustle bustle in the air. People are coming and going, plans are congealing, and calendars are being marked. So we thought we should spell out our plans for the next few weeks.

· Bambu Batu will continue to be open every day for the remainder of the year, with the exceptions of Thanksgiving (Nov.26) and Christmas Day (Dec.25).

· We are open the days before and after Thanksgiving, and the Saturday after Thanksgiving (Nov.28) marks our biggest sale event of the year, Green Saturday, also known as Small Business Saturday. Enjoy savings of 25% off any item in the store, as well as refreshments and a chance to win a set of deluxe bamboo towels.

· On the first Monday of December (12/7), Bambu Batu is hosting its first ever Invitation Only Holiday Boutique Sale, from 6-8 pm. The idea behind this event is three-fold: 1) To have fun shopping for a change. Why not invite your BFF and make it a girls night out? 2) To create a wishlist for yourself with items that you’ve tried on and checked out. You know – the right size AND the right color. We’ll provide the list for you to fill out. And we’ll keep it for you behind the counter. You can then tell your friends and family, who might be shopping for presents for you, to swing by Bambu Batu and ask for your wishlist. They can choose items from your list and you will still have the surprise of not knowing which item you’ll receive. 3) To have the opportunity to shop for family and friends without them being around. We’ll also have some fancy favor bags for each participant and a one-time store discount to be used that night.

· There will be no Art After Dark in the month of December or January.

· Bambu Batu will be open on Christmas Eve (Dec.24) until 4pm, closed on the 25th, and open again on the 26th.

mandala

Even before the emergence of myths and drama, our ancestors produced symbols to express the quandary of their condition. No image encapsulates the pattern of human experience quite so precisely and succinctly as the ancient mandala, rendered most elegantly in the icons of Tibetan Buddhism, but dating back dozens of millennia to man’s most primordial symbol making and as far forward as his most contemporary dream weaving.

Stripped bare of its elaborate ornamentation, the mandala essentially consists of three basic elements: a small circle, enclosed by a square, enclosed by a large circle. As I see it, these three simple shapes correspond ever so neatly with the three elementary components of every great story, namely every great myth that has endured the ages. In The Odyssey, the classic hero’s tale, we have departure, adventure and return. In the Riddle of the Sphinx we hear of childhood, manhood and old age. The Book of Genesis speaks of Paradise, Paradise lost and Paradise regained, or in the parlance of the New Testament, we have birth, death and rebirth. These are but four of the best known examples, from which we could extrapolate ad infinitum to draw parallels with every familiar storyline.

In other words, the simple geometry of a mandala acts as a metaphor for the simple structure of the myth, which is a metaphor in itself. So, let’s see if we can’t do a little metaphorical unpacking here to unravel the symbols of the human experience.

Our story begins in the small circle. A one-sided shape with neither top nor bottom, the circle signifies wholeness, unity. This is the circle of bliss, in the ignorance of infancy, where the undeveloped psyche  draws no distinction between itself and the other. Then the child grows and enters the square, defined as having a top and a bottom, a left and a right, perfect pairs of opposites. As she encounters the unknown, the child must learn to classify things, to differentiate between good and bad, and to categorize the objects of her world into neat little boxes. The hero spends a lifetime navigating this terrain, which many mandalas aptly portray as an intricate maze, much like the labyrinth of the Minotaur.

The rigorous complexity of the square eventually takes its toll, and the individual longs for the simple unity it knew in the womb or in childhood. But there’s no going home again. To fulfill his destiny, he must advance to the next level, and this metaphor functions equally well for every stage of development and maturation. When the going gets rough, you can’t just move back in with your parents and resume the life of a happy child anymore than you can squeeze your toothpaste back into the tube. And yet, how many unhappy adults do we know who try to pass themselves off as happy adolescents?

Finally, the page rescues the princess; the martyr is reborn and crowned king; the Jedi knight reconciles the forces of darkness and light. The protagonist overcomes his challenge after grappling with the pairs of opposites, and he comes to terms with male and female, good and evil, right and wrong. The cycle is now completed in this state of enlightenment. He enters the higher circle and recognizes his oneness with an understanding he never had as a child. He has differentiated himself from the other, wrestled with the unknown, and now he embraces a unity vast enough to include all of it.

The terminology of archetypal psychology describes these three stages with marvelous clarity. The mandala diagram essentially illustrates what Carl Jung calls unconscious perfection (of childhood), conscious imperfection (of middle age), and conscious perfection (of old age). We may recall a passage of the Bible that puts it similarly. “Except ye become as a child, ye cannot enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.” (Matthew 18:3) Indeed, the ultimate destination is a circle, just as the starting point is a circle, put a circle on a whole other order of magnitude.

It is vitally important, in the imagery of the mandala, that each shape is contained inside the other. Moving from one level to the next does not mean abandoning the previous stage, but requires the act of transcending and including. This is worth remembering through any and all stages of maturation, for the initiate will inevitably be tempted to reject his prior identity and cling to the “better” and more sophisticated self. But this is a mistake. The true sophisticate will retain all of it, understanding that even those inferior qualities contribute something valuable to the whole.

The large circle seems to represent the highest realm of consciousness, enlightened Buddhahood and oneness with the divine. For most of us then, the mandala provides a helpful roadmap for spiritual development, even as we realize we are unlikely to attain that state of total nirvana on any regular basis. It this case, it is useful to see the image a metaphor for incremental improvements, as we climb upward step by step. So don’t get too comfortable when you reach the big circle; it is not the finish line, but merely the opening of the next mandala, in a cycle that repeats itself indefinitely, as we continue to step out of our comfort zones and into the unknown, always striving to include and transcend and grow as humans.

Finally, we can read the mandala as a metaphor for human development on a larger, historical scale. In antediluvian times, our as forefathers gathered around the fire, danced naked in the moonlight, and threw virgins off of the pyramids, they experienced a unity with god, or “participatio dei.” Even in more recent history, the prophets and patriarchs of the Old Testament spoke to God, through angels and shrubs.

Only in the last three or four centuries, thanks to the paradigm shattering discoveries of Galileo, Kepler, Newton, etc., whose discoveries literally moved the earth, mankind has been driven into a quagmire of spiritual uncertainty where God is dead. We have succeeded in naming the elements, categorizing the life forms, and dating the universe, but we have separated ourselves from Mother Earth and Father Sky. We have learned to dominate our environment, but at what cost? The last century has seen a mad rush to return to the comfort of the small, infantile circle, in the form of religious fundamentalism, astrology and wicca. Yet we know that this regression will get us nowhere.

In order to thrive and regain the state of blissful unity, we must move forward, we must take the next step up that spiraling staircase. Our faith in the forces of the market are no substitute for an immovable faith in the All Father, but this is where we have arrived.  Adam Smith’s invisible hand cannot replace Neptune’s triton, but for many it has. To restore the lost paradise we must rediscover one another, we must reconnect with highest forms of human potential, we must abandon the false idolatry of materialism, and we must learn to see through the eyes of others as if they were our own.

Ganesh

Some call him the elephant head, some call him the Remover of Obstacles. What is this fascination we have with the glorious Lord Ganesh, India’s mighty and most revered elephant deity? None can deny the charm of the thick-skinned behemoth, the largest animal to walk on land since the ice age, with its chunky tree trunk legs, its floppy ears and that ridiculous protrusion of a trunk. Legend of both the savannah and the big top, the elephant lends itself easily to fairy tales and folklore; but take a close look at the iconography of Ganesh and you’ve got a regular circus of mythological exegesis.

Ganesh stands out unmistakably among any pantheon of gods, with his prepossessing elephant head, that of an animal widely associated with long life, strength and wisdom, not to mention a perspicacious memory. The symbolism is fairly explicit, and the disproportionate size of Ganesh’s head suggests wisdom in every way. But a further look at the elephant noggin reveals more: his massive ears and his small, hidden mouth. Indeed, what could be a more universal indication of wisdom than to listen better and speak less? Proverbs Eastern and Western all point to this noble disposition. And when the face of wisdom has a nose like a 6-foot garden hose, we are reminded that wisdom is unremarkable without the virtue of good sense of humor.

Something about the face of an elephant, it never looks angry, never overly worried. And what good is wisdom, worldly or spiritual, without the ability to relax and laugh at your own shortcomings? Ganesh’s healthy, round belly reiterates this air of joviality. He is one who laughs often and enjoys life, not overly concerned with asceticism and self-abnegation, unlike many other religious teachers.

Now, for some deeper layers of meaning, let’s have a look at Ganesh’s busy hands. The Indian deities are notorious for their many arms and hands, and hands are such an essential and defining characteristic of man as a species. (Consider the linguistic root of words like manual, from the latin manu, for hand.) This many-handedness, for me, signifies the super-human status of the gods. Not non-human, as western theology often suggests, dividing us from them (or from Him), but more than human, possessing our vital characteristics, only more so.

Representations of Ganesh typically show him with four or six hands, and although depictions can vary quite widely (with up to 20 or more hands), there are a number of standard accoutrements that the deity generally carries. One hand always holds something sweet and delicious, and it’s often difficult to see what it is exactly—maybe a mango—but it tends to be in one of the lower hands, held near the belly and the end of the trunk. Materially, this signifies, like his jolly belly, Ganesh’s ability to enjoy some of life’s sweet pleasures. But spiritually, and more significantly, it suggests the sweet rewards of mental discipline, the kinds achieved through meditation and devotional practice. This divine delicacy, something reminiscent of the Manna from Heaven, is frequently held just below the trunk, where Ganesh seems to savor its aroma.

In the upper right hand, which we might reasonably consider to be the most important position, Ganesh is almost always wielding an axe. As with most images of destruction found in Indian mythology, this weapon is intended for chopping down evil and cutting it out of our lives. By evil, Ganesh really means to obliterate ignorance and illusion, the kinds of misunderstanding that lure us into cycles of suffering. Only by freeing ourselves from these fallacious paradigms, misconceptions about ourselves and the world around us, can we come close to finding enlightenment. The axe of Ganesh also serves to sever the bonds of attachment, the grasping and clinging. This attachment, to both objects and ideas, constrains us like chains, confining us to a narrow world view and preventing us from experiencing the world through clear, unfiltered eyes.

Across from the axe, in his upper left hand, Ganesh usually holds a rope. An implement of attachment, the rope would appear to act as a kind of counterpoint to the axe, suggesting the need to strike a balance between opposites. The rope is commonly identified as a yoke for leading an animal, which offers some interesting interpretation. Some say that Ganesh has harnessed an animal which leads him to his destination, underscoring the need to follow our passions in pursuit of our goals, again counterbalancing the axe which severs our desires and attachments. But I also see the rope as a tool for taming the inner beast, channeling the restless, primal energy and putting it to constructive use, the way our ancestors did when they domesticated the ox.

One more hand position worth mentioning, seen in the lower left hand of the Ganesh pictured above, is the open palm of protection. This virtually universal gesture of peace and providence can be found throughout the Buddhist and Hindu pantheon, as well as in the icons and images of western saints, including the Messiah himself. The protective hand reminds us of forces beyond our ken that guard our well being.

Another intriguing feature characteristic of many Ganesh masks and sculptures is the broken tusk, which can mean a few different things. One interpretation has to do with accepting the good with the bad, and not demanding perfection. The single broken tusk can also be thought of as the one flaw of an otherwise perfect figure. Consider Marilyn Monroe’s dainty mole, or more significantly, the limp or scar that often afflicts a mythic hero. There are also a couple of anecdotal explanations. One reports that Ganesh lost a tusk in combat with his father Shiva, and another explains that Ganesh broke the tusk off himself to use as writing tool in transcribing the epic Mahabharata as it was dictated to him by the sage Vyasa.

Various depictions of Ganesh include countless qualities and signifiers, but I’d like to finish by looking at one last element, his vehicle, the little mouse (or rat) typically seen scurrying around the god’s feet. The idea that the elephant uses a rodent as his vehicle strikes me as something like a zen koan, an irreconcilable riddle to be contemplated rather than solved. Like the the yin yang, and numerous other symbols and stories, this partnership leads us to consider the relationship between opposites, as we must learn to embrace light and dark, good and evil, great and small, together as one.

Furthermore, the mouse of legends and lore often acts a symbol for our thoughts: the squeaky, incessant sound from inside, that inner dialog that races back and forth across the floorboards of our mind. Try as we might, this inner soundtrack cannot be silenced. Likewise, the elephant may try and stomp out the pesky mouse, but his clumsy stumps are no match for a darting rodent. Yet, Lord Ganesh, with his superhuman cranium, has somehow managed to tame his thoughts, to quiet his mind, to control the seemingly uncontrollable. And that is the most divine feat of all. For thoughts are the forerunner of all things; our thoughts become our reality, so when we control our thoughts we control our world.

For an even more sophisticated interpretation, consider the rat. The rat is a pest, and we are pestered by our conscience. Our conscience speaks to us from the other side, reminding us of our transgressions and helping us distinguish between right and wrong. A healthy, well-developed conscience can guide us in our actions and our choices, and this guidance is the vehicle on which an enlightened creature moves forward.

Take a good look at the elephant god. Smile at his flappy ears and laugh at his dangling trunk. But also meditate on his wisdom and his mental prowess. Invoke him for strength and courage. Follow his example, learn to overcome the illusions and accept the contradictions, and soon you will be removing obstacles on your own.

 

 

 

 

kermit the frog

In today’s post, we derive our inspiration from an often overlooked passage of the classic Muppet melody, “The Rainbow Connection,” a song that unquestionably and unapologetically takes up a dialog with the wisdom of the Other Side.

 

“Have you been half asleep and have you heard voices?

I’ve heard them calling my name

Is this the sweet sound that calls the young sailors?

The voice might be one and the same

I’ve heard it too many times to ignore it

It’s something that I’m supposed to be”

-Kermit the Frog

 

The role of frogs and toads in folklore and fairy tales is widespread and well-documented throughout the world. As a window into the collective unconscious, fairy tales serve as a kind of secular scripture, and it is no exaggeration to say that the frog takes a preeminent place in this light-hearted yet deep-seeking genre. The Brothers Grimm’s “Frog Prince” is among the best known stories in their comprehensive anthology, and one that has equivalents from dozens of other cultures across Europe and Asia where the motif is repeated and revised into countless variations.

One need not look hard to find the traits that give frogs a unique, if not magical, status among the animal kingdom. Their very life cycle is a wonder to behold, as they mature from aquatic tadpole into amphibious adult. Water itself is an elemental symbol loaded with meaning. As a source of life, water can mean the mother; as a taker of lives, it can equally denote death. It can be clear and cleansing or dark and murky, smooth and reflective or rough and choppy, but always deep and mysterious, like the cloudy depths of the subconscious.

In the variety of frog prince fairy tales, the creature’s capacity for transformation is explicit, but the frog’s greatest fascination comes from its dual nature, as much at home in the water as it is on land. It’s a rare being who has knowledge of both elements and can move effortlessly between the two. Archetypally speaking, this amphibious nature suggests a preternatural ability to move between realms of the conscious and the unconscious, or mythically speaking, between the land of the living and the land of the dead, heaven and earth.

Such characters are of chief importance in the mythological pantheon, generally referred to as tricksters or psychopomps, the best known in western culture being Hermes (or Mercury). In addition to his function as divine messenger, Hermes is known as a “guardian and guide,” and “bringer of good luck.” (Iliad) Besides stirring up mischief, deities of this sort serve as the connective tissue between the sacred and the mundane, holding the communicative key that unlocks the secrets of the spirit world. The frog’s cyclical lifespan and amphibious lifestyle have also earned it a mercurial reputation in the Far East, where Taoist tradition associates these pond squatters with healing and immortality, and regards them as spirits recovered from the deep “well of truth.” (It is noteworthy that Hermes carries the staff of Caduceus, whose twin snakes have come to symbolize medicine, making the link between Greco-Roman trickster and Oriental toad even less remote.)

Certainly Kermit’s keen intuition and ardent empathy support the frog’s legendary distinction as intermediary to the stars. When he speaks of voices who call when you’re half asleep, he is recalling the language of dreams, the language our unconscious uses to address our waking mind. It is a language scarcely intelligible without the aid of a skilled amphibian to perform the translation. But a creature like Kermit has the rare ability to see through what ordinary beings would consider an opaque boundary, and to guide us across the barrier like Charon over the river Styx.

The text further invokes the voyage of Odysseus, whose crew of sailors are lured by the sweet song of Sirens, one more obstacle on his epic journey back to Ithica and his long lost Penelope. The sweet voices in the case of our text, however, are not a distracting temptation, but the true calling. So beware, Kermit warns us, listen closely and discern, for the truth can all too easily be mistaken for the distraction, and vice versa. Listen carefully to the inner voice, have trust in your self, and you will know not to ignore it.

“And some day you’ll find it, the rainbow connection.” When the light of higher truth penetrates our temporal reality, the deep will suffuse the shallow, and a ray of light will spread out into every color of the rainbow. The imagery points now to Mount Ararat, where Noah has survived the flood and docks his trusty ark on the hilltop. After delivering the devastating, nearly apocalyptic deluge, God promises never again to enact such destruction, and seals his promise with a rainbow, to signify the “everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.” (Genesis 9:12-16)

After showing the way as translator and spirit guide, the prophet Kermit also guarantees his words with a rainbow. Like the Noahic covenant of the Old Testament, the Rainbow Connection seals the pact between the earthly and the divine, the sacred and the profane. The voices have entered from another realm, and with highest thanks and praise to Kermit, we are blessed with “ears that hear and eyes that see.” (Proverbs 20:12)

Stay tuned next week when excessive toad licking leads me to do my best impersonation of a bump on a log.

 

Sauerkraut

Fermentation is on the rebound! And considering it is probably the oldest form of food and beverage preparation known to mankind, this resurgence is a long time coming. That’s right. Even before the scintillating discovery of fire, our bumbling ancestors had probably already found ways of storing their roots, grains and vegetables that made them more nutritious and nutritious. Not to mention mood-enhancing, of course, because beer and wine are both products of fermentation that our species has enjoyed since time immemorial.

You know it in your gut, and the science confirms it: the benefits of naturally fermented probiotic bacteria are multitudinous. Whether you’re aiming to promote better digestion, trying to alleviate anxiety and depression, or simply looking for a good buzz, there’s a fermented culture to meet your needs.

Amidst this flurry of fermentation, legions of would-be mad scientists are now brewing all manner of probiotic cultures in their own homes, filling cupboards, pantries and laundry rooms with jars of pickles, sauerkraut, kimchi, ginger ale, etc, ad nauseam.  It’s an amazing process, one that borders on dark sorcery, shrouded in mystery and enchantment, but we’d like to take this opportunity to pull back the veil and reveal for you the scientific fundamentals of fermentation. (For the sake of brevity, we’re just going to talk about sauerkraut, with the understanding that most forms of fermentation abide by the same principles.)

The Science of Sauerkraut

So it all starts with salt and cabbage; the ingredients could not be simpler. And the result is a delectably savory side dish, sour, but not salty. So how does it work?

The secret fuel driving the engine of sauerkraut fermentation is a little something called Lactobacilli, which is just a fancy way of saying, lactic acid-producing bacteria. The lactic acid-producing bacteria come in a few varieties, but generally they are anaerobic, which means that they thrive in an oxygen-free environment. Sauerkraut actually contains both Lactobacilli and Leuconostoc, which are technically microaerophiles, meaning they need very little oxygen, which they find in ample supply in the top half inch or so of your well sealed jar or crock pot.

The first stage of fermentation begins with Leuconostoc mesenteroides, as it consumes that bit of oxygen and replaces it with (or converts it into) carbon dioxide. You can observe this process by watching the bubbles rise and fizz in your jar. With the oxygen depleted, Lactobacillus plantarum and Lactobacillus cucumeris now kick into high gear, raising the acidity ever higher (or bringing the pH ever lower).

As this happens, the bacteria is essentially living off of the salt in your recipe and the sugar occurring naturally in your cabbage. At the same time, the increased acidity creates an environment hostile to unfriendly bacteria and fungi. Eventually, about the time the acidity reaches 2-2.5%, the sauerkraut will achieve a sufficiently sour flavor and stop fizzing. And easy as that, it’s ready to eat.

This is basically the same process used to turn cucumbers into pickles, or do most any other type of pickling. But there of many types of fermentation involving all sorts of yummy bacteria varieties. Experiment with care, and may the fruits of your methodology be always delicious!

 

 

Panda Poo Paper

Here at Bambu Batu, we are determined to build a better, more sustainable world from the bottom up. Of course, we also enjoy our fair share of wise cracks! But our Panda Poo Paper products are no joke. We looked high and low, extending our search to the ends of the earth, to source this incredible tree-free alternative to your ordinary, timber-based stationery.

Straight from the belly of the beast, these unique journals and note pads are truly fashioned from 100% Panda Bear excrement. Naturally, your gut reaction may be one of distaste. But before you turn up your nose in high-and-mighty disapprobation, let us consider the diet of the venerable Chinese mascot.

Like us, the Pandas have a great fondness for bamboo. You might even call it an obsession, for in fact, these exquisite creatures sustain themselves entirely on this hardy grass. Only extremely rarely do they consume anything else.* And what goes in, must come out, so what we’re really talking about is simply bamboo paper, processed nature’s way, by the highly specialized enzymes found only in the digestive tract of the Panda. Alimentary, my dear Watson!

That’s right, it’s more than just a political statement, it’s an environmental movement. So hurry down to Bambu Batu and get yourself a piece of the action, because it’s hardly any exaggeration to say that this shit is flying out of here!

(*NOTE: the variety of bamboo preferred by the bears is not the same variety as that used in making bamboo products like flooring, clothing, cutting boards etc., so these products pose no threat to the endangered panda’s livelihood.)

Art After Dark in SLO

This week marks the fifth anniversary of what has become something of an institution here at Bambu Batu. Art After Dark in SLO takes place on the first Friday of each month, and shopkeepers and art-lovers alike have come to look forward to this monthly opportunity for mingling and moseying around San Luis Obispo’s charming, historic downtown district.

From 6-9 pm, most participating venues will host art openings that showcase artwork ranging from local oil paintings to international textiles, and everything in between. Small but cultured, San Luis Obispo boasts a flourishing community of artists, including world-class plein air specialists, award-winning jewelers, a growing cottage industry of crafters, an active and talented cadre of painters both abstract and representational, and all manner of sculptors and ceramicists. Alongside these diverse and abundant exhibits—around thirty each month—most galleries offer something else for which our region has earned an impressive reputation, glasses of fine wine.

In our unending effort to distinguish ourselves, Bambu Batu takes a unique approach to Art After Dark in SLO. As our wall space is already well filled with lovely art, scrolls and bamboo merchandise, we generally try to focus on other forms of art. Each month we feature a different line-up of local musical artists, from gypsy jazz ensembles to ambient DJs to singer-songwriter soloists (including Anthony Roselli in the photo above). Tonight (Oct. 2, 2015), our special guests include and handful of members from SLO county’s notorious bluegrass sensation, the Mother Cornshuckers.

As a spiritually oriented shop, we also take Art After Dark as an opportunity to showcase the metaphysical arts. Harry Farmer, the impresario of astrology on the Central Coast, participates on a semi regular basis, offering his most insightful readings of your planets based on decades of study and experience. Mary-Aiñe Curtis also offers her intuitive talents on alternating months, using Angel Cards to exercise her sensitive energy reading skills.

Finally, given this region’s saturation of grapes and wineries, we opt to offer another much loved but under-represented exemplar of the fermented arts: craft beer. Typically we pour suds from either Creekside Brewing Company (brewed and based directly across the street) or Figueroa Mountain Brewing (based in Santa Ynez and brewed in nearby Arroyo Grande). Beer and wine lovers alike appear to appreciate our bold efforts to diversify the palate.

Bambu Batu is proud to be a part of Art After Dark in SLO, and whenever possible we also include arts and crafts from local artisans, to brighten up the evening’s fare and give budding artists a chance to gain some exposure and display their works. And at last we can rejoice, that Bubblegum Alley is no longer San Luis Obispo’s greatest contribution to culture!

Prayer Bundles 2

A new product here at Bambu Batu, our Prayer Bundles are hand crafted by our friend Renya in Abiquiu, New Mexico. Made in the tradition of Native American charms and totems, these aromatic spirit bundles contain locally collected sage, cedar, rosemary, lavender and pinon pine crystals. Renya then seals each one with a spirit feather and infuses them with singing prayers.

I like to think of these unique prayer bundles as a kind of lucky charm, something like a cruelty-free rabbit’s foot. A perfect gift, you can tie it to your key chain, hang it from your rearview mirror, or simply carry it in your purse or backpack. The fresh herbs and carefully selected feathers and fabrics make them appealing to both the nose and the eyes, and the personal prayers promise to bring good fortune and ward off bad ju-ju. There’s a blessing in every bundle!

Renya’s Prayer Bundles are a great fit for Bambu Batu, because we specialize in meaningful products that have a story behind them. Having met Renya, I know that the energy she puts into her bundles is all very positive and sincere. Our customers appreciate the fact that they are handmade with wild-crafted herbs and flowers and imbued with authentic blessings.

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