Thursday, July 02, 2015

Witnessing The Crafts-making at Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara

 A crafts-woman processing Ketak to be a handicraft

These photographs you have seen here are actually taken for my report when I was visiting some craftsmanship making in Central Lombok. I went there to observe how these ladies work together with surrounding community, creating something valuable for their lives, for earning money purpose, or we called it Microeconomic Development.

There were many things I have seen, the humanity, about how people in rural areas now have courage to preserve the habit that traditionally done since long by their ancestor. I felt so lucky that I have been there to witness how they develop the small business with limited knowledge and resources through preserving the culture. I snap some of what I’ve been seen during our trip, hoping from one village to another village, passing the verdant, rice field, traditional market, hustle and bustle by the local villagers and off course stumble upon to what was actually their daily habit. They living a simple live, still depending to the nature and off course slightly touched by the technology.

My first destination is‘Cooperation’ (Koperasi) – a small economic institution initiated by the local that built to gather the craftswomen from surrounding community to drive local economy. This Cooperation has been made “Ketak Handicraft” as local commodity. Have you ever seen Ketak? If you ever go to Ubud Traditional Market, Bali, you might be familiar with this kind of handicrafts. Ketak is one of popular handicraft from Lombok made from Ketak – a kind of grass which grows in swamp area. Ketak looks like the roots of rattan with wavy shapes, but actually rattan and Ketak are 2 different plants. They usually took the raw materials from Kalimantan and Ternate, Sulawesi – the place where Ketak and rattan has grown well, bring it to their workshop then crafted in to various captivating pretty shapes.

Unfortunately, due to the limit of facilities, they can only shape the basic forms without good finishing which made its price is very cheap, cheaper that you’ve seen in the market. Per craftswoman may only make the profit up to Rp 200,000 – Rp 250,000 per month (US$ 19-20). Actually, Ketak could possibly more famous and more valuable than we could imagine, but due to limit of knowledge and infrastructure, Ketak (without finishing) can only be sold to the collector with very low price.

I hop to the second destination, Tenun Ikat Cooperation or Ikat weaving, a traditional handmade fabric made from special string and made by the valuable craftsmanship. Tenun Ikat has been very popular as one of cultural richness of Indonesia, it has inspire many of famous designers to create the fashion trend from this beautiful fabric. It’s not only about the pattern or the effort to craft the fabric that made Tenun Ikat famous and high valued, but also the history behind a piece of this fabric.

This woman has left by her children who work as a labour in Saudi, her child has never been never came back for years, she didn't even know where her daughter. To overcome her bad situation, she start join the Cooperation (Koperasi Stagen) for weaving and forget about her sadness.

Tenun Ikat with standard pattern 

It's not easy to made a piece of fabric, they start to set the string then weave them 

This girl is 12 yo, she helped her Mom to weave the fabric during her holiday, Her Dad has passed away since so long, so her Mom has to be a single parents and earning money by herself to bring this girl to School.

For the Sasak- the original tribe from Lombok, Tenun Ikat is a part of culture that means a lot for them. Its pattern inspired from animals and plants that they have been witnessed in daily life then attached to the fabric, the pattern is actually expressing the animism and dynamism and their praise to God, each pattern even has a special meaning, taken from Sasak’s ancient culture. Actually, The Sasak has to do a special ceremony before start weaving, but they don’t do it again at this time. Furthermore, a Sasak women will be allowed to marry if they can weave,  at least they have to weave a piece of fabric by their selves for their marriage ceremony.

It needs minimum a week to create a piece of fabric with standard pattern, or could be more like months for the special pattern made from silver or gold string which usually created for special purpose such as traditional ceremonies or special order. All these historical culture has shaping Tenun Ikat as a precious thing, which is why it has the high price and highly valued.

I also visited another places, like the artshop and the furniture workshop where the local made "Cukli"- the traditional furniture craft made from the shells.

It was a great trip! #happy

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