Posts Tagged ‘bambu batu’

Jon and Anna of Bambu BatuBamboo Batu, Bambu Batu, what the heck’s a Batu anyway?

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.

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.

bamboo iPhone 5 case

After spending a good chunk of hard-earned cash on a smartphone or tablet, it is wise to find a way to protect the device from all of the perils of the modern age. Your electronics may be powerful, but they are still susceptible to drops, cracks, scratches, and the occasional teething baby. Portland, Oregon-based company, PRiNK offers a fashionable and sustainable option for those who wish to remain tech-savvy while also keeping the health of the planet in mind. Once we saw that they produce shells for iPhone and iPad in bamboo, we took notice. Upon finding that they helped to fund the planting of 2,000 trees in the Pacific Northwest last year alone from the profits of their merchandise, we simply had to carry their cases. As an added bonus, they have a partnership with Arbor, one of the most enlightened bamboo clothing companies out there. As members of the Forest Stewardship Council and Fair Labor Association, you can be assured of a quality product that respects both humans and the environment.

Bambu Batu plans to be featuring several sizes of their bamboo mobile device cases for iPhones and iPads with the Arbor logo, our famous “Kale” emblem, stylish Om label, and “B Here Now” mantra. Custom etched designs are also available for anyone with a favorite image or artistic streak! Stay tuned for the newest exciting addition to the Bambu Batu family!

 

Transient Design

In the best of all worlds, clothing would be sustainably sourced, ethically produced, and with profits given to those most in need. Not waiting for the fashion industry to see the light, The Transient Design creates an entire closet filled with hand-woven cotton sewed by Thai workers who are paid fair wages. After taxes and production costs are met, 100% of the profits are donated to organizations like the Wildflower Home women’s shelter in Bo Sang. Fabrics are made and dyed with traditional, indigenous methods for gorgeous, robust, comfortable apparel.

Just in time for the holidays, Bambu Batu is proud to carry a selection Transient Design shawls, Thai fisherman’s pants, and pullover jackets. Casually elegant, each piece shows a dedication to craft and commitment to helping those in need. What better way show your affection to someone you care about than to give them to wrap them in a symbol of love? Come and take a look at our newest items!

 

Gin Tasting at Bambu Batu

 

Halloween must be one of the year’s best holidays. Children and adults alike have an excuse to dress as the characters and creatures they most wish to embody, and go house-to-house in pursuit of treats. For the kids, candy is the reward of choice. For those over 21, a good cocktail helps celebrate the night of spirits. For Bambu Batu’s next Art After Dark Celebration on November 1 from 6-9pm, we will be holding hard alcohol tastings from Re:Find in Paso Robles. The evening will also feature astrology readings from celestial superstar Harry Farmer and Tarot card reading by Francesca, plus live music and prizes for the best costumes.

Re:Find Handcrafted Spirits from Paso Robles uses saignée, or the free-run juice from grapes removed prior to fermentation, to produce their vodka, gin, and brandy. The juice is triple distilled to create the highest small-production spirits.  The company is the result of Alex and Monica Villicana’s efforts to promote sustainability through using an often ignored artisan product. While most gins and vodkas are made from grain and sometimes potatoes, grapes produce glycerol which are responsible for the “legs” found in wine. The unique base accounts for their unique flavor profiles as well as providing locavores a handcrafted option for their liquor cabinet.

For more information, or to find a location where Re:Find is sold, check out their website, call: 805.239.9456, or  email: monica@refinddistillery.com. Tours and tastings are offered from 11:am to 5pm daily at their distillery located at 2725 Adelaida Road, Paso Robles, CA 93446.

bioneers

There is no doubt that the earth and human beings are intertwined. However, our species certainly has a knack for pretending as if this were not the case. The Bioneers Network brings together leading thinkers from around the world to help heal the divide between nature and people.

→ Read more

Morgana Matus

One of the perks of being the caretaker of the Bambu Batu blog is that I, Morgana Matus, can engage in a little shameless self-promotion from time to time. Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to announce that I have started a photoblog over at morganamatus.com that will be a chronicle of my past adventures, explore visual culture, and be a repository for terrible puns. In the coming months, I will be posting images taken in Norway, Hawaii, Costa Rica, Mexico, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Napa Valley, Lake Tahoe, Big Sur, and San Luis Obispo. You can expect tales from trekking in the frozen north, slogging through the jungles of Central America, and fooling around in clown college.

So, next time you are surfing the web, stop on by! And I promise, no more shameless self-promotion. That name again, Morgana Matus.

Organic cotton parody shirt

Whatever happened to the good old days when deciding what to eat didn’t have to be a political statement or involve enough research to qualify for a doctoral dissertation? Now, if you want to be sure that you are consuming food that is free of pesticides, genetic modification or the influence of big agribusiness, it’s necessary to be hyper-vigilant about what goes into your body. Among the major offenders to the environment, small farmers, and decency in general, is Monsanto, the maker of Roundup and a number of GMOs that have infected other crops, created superweeds, and potentially affected the health of millions around the world.

From its poisonous pantry of industrial seed stock, Monsanto boasts a wide variety of “Roundup Ready” crops — including soybeans, alfalfa, corn, sugar beets, canola and cotton — whose DNA has been altered to withstand heavy doses of their own trademarked herbicide. This allows farmers to spray their fields with toxins, eradicating the weeds and  leaving behind nothing but their cash crop, albeit laden with Roundup®. These Roundup Ready crops grow prolifically in the United States, although they have been banned throughout the European Union and much of South America.

Make a strong statement by using a little sense of humor! Start a conversation and a revolution to take back control of our food supply. Roundup may be what’s for dinner, but Monsanto will get their just desserts.

NOTE: Although our parody of Monsanto is protected by the Fair Use Act, we have opted not to list this t-shirt on our website, due to biotech behemoth’s notoriously aggressive legal practices, regardless of what side of the law they are on. Please contact us directly to order a “Roundup” shirt, and we’ll gladly send one your way.

Looking for clothing with conviction?  Sustainable style with sense?  Apparel with altruism?  Join SLO Green Drinks and HumanKind Fair Trade for the Eco Fashion Show on Thursday, May 31 at the Steynberg Gallery (1531 Monterey St) from 6-9pm.  The event will feature attire from local retailers, including HumaKind Fair Trade, Hemp Shak, Curio, Nekkidd and yours truly, Bambu Batu! Mingle with your fellow fashionistas as you watch the night’s lineup of dance and music performances, take part in the silent auction, and grab a drink or a bite to eat from the cafe.  All proceeds will benefit HumanKind Fair Trade, a non-profit store that provides vital income for artisans and farmers in the developing world.

Tickets are $10 presale (available at Steynberg and HumanKind) or $15 at the door.  See you by the runway!

 

 

Okay, so with the recent Japanese disaster, we’re all a bit sketched out over here on the Central Coast about things such as milk, meat, and of course, our drinking water. But should we have felt safe about our tap water to begin with? Maybe not. While it’s a given that if you live in Morro Bay or Los Osos, you probably shouldn’t drink the tap water, you don’t think twice about it in the rest of the county.

However, the merits of fluoridation of our water has recently come back in to debate. While proponents of fluoridation argue that the benefits outweigh the potential risks, such as a 40% reduction in cavities, it is known that overexposure can cause dental flourosis (a decaying and mottling of tooth enamel) and skeletal flourosis (joint pain and stiffness).

This is perhaps why the U.S Department of Health recently lowered the maximum amount of fluoride allowed in drinking water. 60% of Americans get fluoridated water, whether they are aware of it or not.

All things considered, do you think we should allow fluoridation in our drinking water? How much is too much? Do you drink tap water? We want to hear your thoughts.

Data provided by The Daily Green.

Om sweet om mural

If you’ve walked or driven up Broad Street near the Mission in the last couple days, you can’t possibly have missed the new mural, now virtually completed, by the visual artist and bamboo aficionado known as Pacha. Thanks to her impeccable handiwork, the entryway to Bambu Batu is now adorned with a mesmerizing depiction of the Sanskrit symbol OM in the center of a spellbinding burst of orange and green rays. We can’t imagine a better way to say “Welcome Om.”

The next logical thing to do is explain the meaning behind this ancient Indian symbol, so often seen, so difficult to thoroughly understand. You could always peruse the original Mandukya Sutra of the Upanishads if you want to engage in some serious scholarship. But for a quick and accessible exposition, check here.

And, if you’re looking for something fun to do this Friday night, just remember, Om is where the Art is. The first Friday of each month, Bambu Batu showcases local wine, jazz and art at the Art & Craft Bazaar After Dark. Remember, there’s no place like Om!

To learn more about the meanings behind this sacred syllable, be sure to read our Om is where the Heart is: Meditations on the One.

X