Tuesday, 12 November 2019

A lowdown on Indonesian artisans’ traditional crafts

Indonesian craft
(From left) Wicker vase in rattan by Kolek; picnic basket by Studio Dapur; candle holder, sea shell necklace and basket by Kalingga Home Gallery; rattan round bag by Anindya (available at Alun Alun Grand Indonesia): contemporary batik fabric by Bin House

1. Weaving

Despite the introduction of plastic, rattan remains a popular choice for making baskets, floor coverings and storage containers all across Indonesia. Rattan grows easily and quickly, and its flexibility and strength make it an ideal material for weaving. The indigenous Dayak of Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo) produce an astonishing array of intricately detailed products, all woven by hand. Most villages in Central Kalimantan have their own weaving collectives, usually dominated by women. r

Indonesian craft
(Clockwise from top left) Round tableware by Studio Dapur; hexagonal placemat by Du’Anyam; wooden watch by Matoa; sunglasses from Suki

2. Bamboo

Perhaps one of the world’s most fascinating materials, bamboo is sturdy enough to be used as construction scaffolding. Artisans across Indonesia are now making an array of modern products from this fast-growing plant, from kitchen utensils to watches and bicycles to entire houses. In Ubud, Bali, the material is popular for its environmental friendliness. Visit the Green Village or join an intensive 11-day course at Bamboo U to learn about its many uses in construction.

Indonesian craft
(From left) Fabric by Bin House; porcelain set by ZEN by Ghea Panggabean

3. Ceramics

Today, many Indonesian ceramics are still made by hand, giving a uniqueness to the designs of each piece. Clay has been used in the country since as far back as 400BCE, while porcelain was introduced in the 1700s with the arrival of Chinese migrants. Across Central Java, clay teapots are still used to brew delicious teh poci (jasmine tea with rock sugar). The village of Kasongan, near Yogyakarta, is known for its traditional pottery and statues – locals say they’ve been making pottery in the area since 1675.

Indonesian craft
(From left) Jewellery by Litany; soap by Kin Soap; fabric by Sejauh Mata Memandang

4. Metalwork

Traditional ethnic dress across the Indonesian archipelago often integrates this intricate metalwork, particularly with jewellery and hair accessories designed to complement formal outfits. Long multi-layered necklaces of gold, silver or bronze are often embedded with precious stones. Delicate filigree brooches and hair pins are both practical and beautiful. Minang brides from Sumatra take this one step further and wear giant crowns of gold flowers on their wedding day.

Indonesian craft
(From left) Hand-woven pink bag by Lungsin; hand-woven tote by Borneo Craft Collection (available at Alun Alun Indonesia); hand-crafted home decoration and tissue holder by Kalingga Home Gallery

5. Wood carving

With a long history in both daily life and ceremonial use, household items such as chairs, tables, doors and windows are elaborately carved with flowers, leaves and animals throughout the Indonesian archipelago, with each island and ethnic group favouring its own distinctive styles and patterns. Particularly impressive carvings can be found in Toraja, South Sulawesi, where they are brightly painted in red, yellow, black and white, adorning houses, rice storage barns and burial sites.

Featured brands:

Alun Alun Indonesia
Bin House
Ghea Panggabean
Kalingga Home Gallery
Kin Soap
Sejauh Mata Memandang
Studio Dapur

Styling by Veronica Arviana

SEE ALSO: An insider’s guide to Jakarta, Indonesia

This article was originally published in the November 2019 issue of SilverKris magazine.

The post A lowdown on Indonesian artisans’ traditional crafts appeared first on SilverKris.

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