Archive for the ‘Bambu Batu’ Category
Since Bambu Batu first opened in 2006, a lot of people have come in asking, “What’s a Batu?” Now we also call the shop the House of Bamboo, so a lot of people guess that Batu means House. And a lot of people try to spell it Bamboo Batu.
I’m sorry to point it out, but I’m afraid they’re both wrong.What’s in a name?
The phrase Bambu Batu actually comes from Malay, an Indonesian language spoken by nearly 300 million people, hence the exotic spelling. And it’s the name of a very specific variety of bamboo. The botanical name of that species is Dendrocalamus Strictus. But in English it’s more commonly referred to as Male Bamboo, Solid Bamboo, Iron Bamboo, or Calcutta Bamboo.
In Malay, the word Batu by itself means rock; so the literal translation of the name would be something like Rock Bamboo or Stony Bamboo. The fact is, this particular variety of bamboo is extremely hard and resilient to cracking. Oftentimes it is also solid, or very nearly solid, rather than being completely hollow like most types of bamboo that we are familiar with.
For all of these reason, Dendrocalamus Strictus is a top choice as a construction material and for building furniture. It also seems like a solid foundation on which to build a business. “And upon this rock I build my house.” Last but not least, the name Bambu Batu just rolls off the tongue so nicely. It’s pretty much impossible to say it without cracking a smile. Go ahead, try it.Dendrocalamus Strictus
What else do we know about this exotic very of bamboo that’s so much fun to pronounce?
Growing to heights of 60 feet or more, with canes up to 5″ in diameter, Bambu Batu is a giant clumper. This giant, tropical timber bamboo is native to southeast Asia and the Indonesian archipelago. It is widespread in India, but can also be found in Central America and Cuba. Young shoots are powdery bluish in color, but gradually turn green and then dark yellow or brown as they mature. It is considered the supreme variety for furniture and construction.Second thoughts
For a short time, it was a dream of mine to grow some Bambu Batu in my backyard. While many varieties of bamboo grow commonly throughout California and are widely available in nurseries, Dendrocalamus Strictus remains pretty difficult to come by, even from large online bamboo dealers. I suppose it would be different if I lived in Vietnam or maybe Colombia, but California is not the climate for this species.
Furthermore, despite its impressive size, and the fact that it’s a clumper rather than a runner, Bambu Batu doesn’t seem to be the most desirable strain. This massive bamboo is not nearly as attractive as some other timber varieties, like the Vivax for example. So in the end, I put the idea to rest, and settled for several other species that would be much happier growing on California’s central coast.
By the way, if you’re trying to pick some out for yourself, check out this great article on selecting the Best Bamboo Varieties for your garden. You might also enjoy our in-depth article on Buddha Belly Bamboo, one of the most popular varieties of ornamental bamboo.
Finally, if you’re planning to build a House of Bamboo, the Bambu Batu might be your best bet. But if you’re looking to plant a garden, you better maybe think twice. And then remember to ask for it by name, Dendrocalamus Strictus.
Featured Image: Bambu Batu owners Jon and Anna, in downtown San Luis Obispo.
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.
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.
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.)
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!
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.
Three and a half years later, the “Kale it’s what’s for dinner” design remains our all-time best selling t-shirt. Printed on a super soft blend of 70% bamboo and 30% organic cotton, and emblazoned with a snarky yet whimsical message that promotes good nutrition while poking fun at the artery-bursting beef council and the tooth-rotting soft drink industry, it’s something almost everyone can get into.
I still get compliments every time I wear, like today at the post office, as a matter of fact. The shirt has gotten good mileage, and never fails to earn a smile and a chuckle wherever I go. I usually don’t have time to explain the whole “kale for marriage equality” story, which is a little bit long and complicated, but when I do, everyone just loves it all the more. (Full story HERE.)
While we parodied the beef slogan and the coca-cola logo, it’s interesting to see how others have taken liberty in posting our “Kale it’s what’s for dinner” design, unattributed, on their websites and Facebook pages. But that’s OK. Like bamboo, kale is a renewable resource, and unlike some things, there’s more than enough of it to go around. So go ahead and dig in, because kale is still what’s for dinner, not to mention breakfast and lunch. And, of course, it makes a great snack!
After many requests, we are very pleased to announce that we are now carrying bamboo sheet sets from BedVoyage in those hard-to-find specialty sizes, including Split King and Twin XL; we even carry bamboo crib sheets for pampering your precious little ones. This is all in addition to the standard bamboo sheet sets that we’ve been carrying for years—in sizes twin, full, queen, king and California king. Visit our Bed and Bath page to view our complete selection of bamboo sheets, blanket and pillowcases.
In recent years, bamboo has become very well-known as the superior fabric for bed linens. Once you’ve slept on them, you’ll understand why. Most of our blankets and sheets sets are available in a choice of nine colors. (The crib sheets come in seven colors.)Benefits of Bamboo Sheet Sets
Bamboo is praised as ‘the natural, green, and eco-friendly textile material of the 21st century’ because of all of its amazing qualities.
BedVoyage rayon from bamboo fibers are made using an eco-friendly ‘closed-loop’ process, and the bamboo is grown organically and the raw materials are selected from non-polluted areas in Asia. BedVoyage linens are made in China from our certified textile plant that has passed the Social Responsibility Audit, as well as been certified by many of the top retailers.
Bamboo fibers are naturally hypo-allergenic, thermal regulating, moisture wicking, odor resistant and mildew resistant. As soft as silk, yet highly breathable, bamboo fiber is three to four times more absorbent than cotton due to its unparalleled micro-structure. This allows the sleeper to stay more dry and comfortable than they would with any other natural fabric. BedVoyage bamboo linens are thermal regulating as their insulating properties keep you cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.
When Bambu Batu, the House of Bamboo, opened nine years ago (yes, our birthday is coming up on Feb.20), we were the only shop anywhere to offer such a wide variety of bamboo clothing. In 2006, the bamboo clothing industry was still in its earliest stage of infancy. Nobody walking into Bambu Batu had ever seen bamboo clothing before. Seeing the looks on people’s faces when they touched a bamboo towel or a pair of bamboo socks for the first time was truly delightful.
Now it’s 2015, and our selection of bamboo clothing is more impressive than ever, as we continue to offer the widest variety of bamboo products of any store in the land. Those who scoffed at us when we first opened our doors on Grand Avenue in Grover Beach, writing off bamboo sheets and shirts as a passing novelty, have been proven wrong. And conversely, those who love the feeling and wearability of bamboo clothing and clamored for more of it, have all been richly rewarded.
Today the selection of brands and colors and weaves of bamboo fabrics and textiles is more diverse and higher in quality than ever before. Just look at the variety of bamboo towels out there! But in spite this growth and progress, the mission and purpose here at Bambu Batu has not changed one iota.
We remain committed to providing the best quality natural fiber clothing and textiles, made in accordance with the highest standards of fair labor practices, at the most reasonable prices. Unlike a lot of bamboo clothiers who have jumped on the bandwagon in recent years, seeing an opportunity in a growing market, charging prices that keep bamboo clothes out of reach for the average middle class family, Bambu Batu remains a family-owned business that makes the relationships with our customers a top priority.
You better not pout, you better not cry, but if you did I’d say that I understand why. For those of us who lack such time-saving devices as a team of uber-industrious elves or a jug of high-octane reindeer fuel, it can be a daunting if not insurmountable challenge to get all the gingerbread men properly decorated, the freshly cut Doug fir thoroughly tinseled, and every stocking hung by the chimney with care.
But at least when it comes time to stuff those stockings with thoughtful, meaningful treasures that have been produced ethically and without exploitation of the Earth or her inhabitants, Bambu Batu has a few bamboo gift ideas to help ease your holiday shopping while adroitly avoiding such dreaded pitfalls as the Walmart parking lot catastrophe or the Best Buy customer service fail.
So without further ado, here’s our Top Eight list of items under $20 for this holiday season.
#1. One of our all-time most popular items, the re-usable and indispensable bamboo spork. Arm yourself for a power lunch, and proper picnic or a simple appetizer… this one tool does it all. Available with or without the handsome cork carrying case.
#2. You may not be so traditional as to roast your own chestnuts, but don’t let that stop you from enjoying an open fire. Even the smallest of fires—produced from the non-toxic wick of an eco-friendly and naturally scented beeswax candle from Big Dipper Wax Co.—can be a genuine pleasure this time of year.
#3. Can’t think of anything more creative than an entirely utilitarian personal hygiene item? Yes, toothbrushes are a welcome addition to every stocking. So how about a bamboo toothbrush from Smile Squared? For every toothbrush purchased, another is donated to child in the developing world who needs one. Win-win!
#5. Another great gift for the avid traveler, or anyone who likes to eat on the go, the travel utensil set from To-Go Ware eliminates the need for disposable plastic ware, and adds a touch of class to every impromptu take out dining session, with bamboo fork, knife, spoon and even a durable pair of chopsticks.
#6. For purposes of personal pampering, it doesn’t get much better than a fluffy soft bamboo washcloth from Daisy House. Savor the sumptuous luxury of a super absorbent face cloth with the finest bamboo towels on the market. (Named best overall towel by the Wall Street Journal!)
#7. As a Bambu Batu customer, we know you care about shopping local, so don’t forget to pick up a few bars from Poppy Soap Co., handmade with love by Lindy LaRoche of Los Osos, available in eight remarkable recipes.
#8. I almost forgot the most import thing about holiday giving: the children! Spoil your little ones with a new set of bamboo pajamas from Yala, just about the most snuggly things on earth.