Kampoeng “Batik Sidoarjo”
If you take a 30-minute drive or a commuter train to the Sidoarjo railway station from the provincial capital of Surabaya, you need only to walk five minutes to the nearby Kampung Batik Sidoarjo where you can find home industries and purchase inexpensive batik products — competing in quality with the ones made in Yogyakarta and the Central Java regency of Pekalongan.
Different from other regions’ batik products, Sidoarjo batik has its own characteristics in terms of colors, manufacturing method and garment quality. The batik costs Rp 50,000 (US$5.20) to Rp 200,000 per meter, depending on its manufacturing technology and garment quality.
Batik clothes and sarongs vary in price from Rp 150,000 to Rp 400,000, and can be as high as Rp 2 million.
Rahmaniar Soerianata Djoemena, in her book Ungkapan Sehelai Batik (Expression of a piece of batik), said the batiks of Solo, Pekalongan and Yogyakarta are influenced by the Javanese Hindu culture, as shown by the dominate colors of red, black, indigo and white, while Sidoarjo’s products express East Java’s egalitarian culture and society.
“Before and during the Idul Fitri holiday, Kampung Batik is crowded with shop owners from other cities and people on holiday; the amount we sell is 60 percent more than in our regular season,” Sulastri, owner of a batik home industry, told Sidoarjosaiki’s recently.
She thanked the local administration for reviving the traditional craft by providing soft loans to the home industries and said the move had generated jobs for the villagers and had revived the batik sector.
This industry started in Kampung Batik in 1920s and now has expanded to other villages such as Jabon, Sekardangan and Kedungcangkring, which were also devastated by the mudflow disaster, she said.
Sulastri fears that this traditional industry faces extinction because young people are reluctant to work in this sector.
“Most young people prefer to work in the factories located in the province’s industrial estate,” she said, adding that the batik crafters do not have a promising future because the producers have difficulties in marketing their products.
To conserve it, regent Win Hendrarso re-launched Kampung Batik as a batik industrial center view month ago with the presence of dangdut singer Inul Daratista who was appointed as Sidoarjo batik ambassador to promote the product nationwide and overseas.
During the ceremony, the regent also introduced a training center for job seekers, artists, and batik workers to help them become more creative in producing marketable, high-quality products.
He also called on home industries to increase the daily wages of their employees from the current Rp 20,000 to Rp 30,000 per day to attract the next generation.
The 10 November Institute of Technology of Surabaya has also committed several designers to assist in the development of various new batik motifs. Hopefully this will allow the Sidoarjo industries to successfully compete in the international market.
Nur Wahyuni, another batik home industry owner in the village, said the Sidoarjo product would succeed because the less expensive Chinese products flooding the markets are of lower printing quality than the Indonesian products.
She called on the local government to provide other energy options besides kerosene in order to help maintain the local product’s competitiveness.