Uncategorized /

What’s “in” in Indonesia?

Handcrafted products are recently getting more attention from global market. This makes a positive impact for Indonesia, as we have a long and profound history in craftsmanship. Some of our local craftsmen follow the contemporary design trend, while some develop local heritage and family heirlooms. Having visited a few places in the country, below are our recommendations of what to find in these cities.

illustrated by Vira Tanka




Lacquer painting came from China and transferred to the world by means of trades, including to Palembang, South Sumatra. The material, which comes from lak lice (Laccifer laccakerr) that grows on the kemalo tree (Schleichera oleosa), can be found in Palembang, besides its availability in Japan, China and Himalaya. Started as a decoration for tableware, the technique is now applied on vases, jewellery box and glass cabinet.


Gold-thread Embroidery

Minangkabau Tribe stands out with their gold-thread embroidery from Kampong Nareh, Pariaman, West Sumatra. Its making process started with copying patterns manually to velvet or satin sheet with carbon paper and continued with the embroidery. The gold-thread embroidered textiles are customarily used for traditional ceremonies like weddings, and now it is also applied to home décor and fashion accessories.


Leather works

There are many leather product designers with workshops in Yogyakarta. These workshops are taking orders from home and abroad – mostly from Japan. The leather product is one of the city’s iconic souvenirs, along with bakpia and batik. Beside calf skin, the processed leather includes fish skins such as sting ray and snappers.


Dayak Beads

Beads craft is part of Dayak culture. The Dayak Tribe applied the colourful beads on their home décor and clothing from head to toe. It is decorated with traditional pattern inspired by nature. Today, the local craftswomen make it into accessories and bags to suit their daily wear.


Prungg karung goni

Edi Hidayat was born in Majalengka and studied in Bandung, the city that inspired him with the fashion scenes. Upon his return to his hometown, he initiated to make fashion goods. He made it from burlap as it is durable, inexpensive and eco-friendly. He labelled it Prungg – literally meaning ‘make it real’ in Sundanese. Now this product can be found in forms of sandals, shoes, and bags.


Kain Sasirangan

Kain sasirangan is a traditional cloth of Banjar tribe in South Kalimantan that has been passed down since the 12th century. It is made of natural-resourced colours with a tie-dye process to make many kinds of nature-inspired patterns. It is still worn for cultural ceremonies while general public use it for fashion attire and accessories such as bags and clutches.


Woven products

Traditional handcrafts are simply Bali’s ultimate souvenir. After years of being known for its beads, accessories and shell products, Bali is now popular for woven products such as the rattan sling bags and the macramé. The bags mostly come with a leather strap and rigid round outer made of rattan.

On the other hand, macramé is a very popular home décor gift. It is made of rope and crafted with knotting techniques.




Going further to the east in Jayapura, West Papua, the local people are proud of wearing their noken. Made of bark fibres, this mesh bag was listed in the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists since 2012. In Papua, they carry this bag with their head. When brought to major cities, we carry it on the shoulders.


Sumba Island

Woven Clothes

Aside of its natural scenery and majestic vernacular architecture, Sumba Island has gained attention for its traditional cloth, kain ikat. The colours of the fabric are sourced from plants that can be found within the island – blue from indigo (Indigofera tinctoria), red from noni (Morinda citrifelia), and so on. Kain ikat has been inspiring local designers and brands such as Noesa and Ikat Indonesia by Didiet Maulana.



Stone Jewelleries

True that big slab natural stones are originated from Makassar, but when it comes to the small ones, the Borneo wins with their natural stone jewelleries. While natural stones are very popular among men in the last three years, in Balikpapan they made variety of stone products mainly for women, such as necklace, bracelet and earrings.



Tapis Accessories

Tapis fabric is a traditional sarong for women in Lampung. It is made of colourful cotton fabrics and decorated with floral and animal patterned-embroidery made of gold and silver threads. It was obligatory for women to make this handcraft in their spare time. Today, we can see it in a modest form, be it as handbags or clutches.



Clove Crafts

Maluku’s spices were very popular for European sailors and traders during the Dutch colonialism in the 17th to mid 20th century. Maluku is simply a haven for spices until today that they not only use it for cooking, but also as a material for handcrafts. Clove, for example, is exported in form of a raw material as well as home decorations.


Banda Aceh


Although Banda Aceh does not house the biggest sarong factory in the country, it is one of the cities with the highest demand for sarong, thanks to the rich Islam and Malay cultures in the overall Aceh province. Today, it remains a popular product to find in this city. Sarong from Banda Aceh is best known for its Malay traditional patterns.



Kain Laga

Wakatobi, Southeast Sulawesi has distinctive woven clothing called kain laga. It is made by and for women. The handcrafted fabric is made with cotton threads and processed manually with traditional wooden loom. It has bright colours with iconic stripe patterns.



Wooden Furniture

Jepara is known as the city of wooden furniture and crafts. They provide wide range of products, from artisan wooden sculpture, antique-designed furniture, to build-in furniture. People can explore their design here, with different kinds of woods, techniques and furnishes – the craftsmen will be able to make it long as it is made of wood.




Indonesia is well known for its marine wealth, including pearls. They are found in some coastal areas, but in Lombok they are cultivated in freshwater. It has striped texture and a more organic shape compared to the regular pearl; some of them are even oval rather than round. This queen of gems and the gem of queens is arranged as jewels.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestEmail to someone
Leave a comment


Studio Dapur’s Kitchen Inspiration

Studio Dapur explores the potential of bamboo by collaborating with bamboo artisans from West Java.

iD Award Nominee – Best Product Designer: Abie Abdillah

Thanks to his outstanding design, Abie's rattan furniture now sells worldwide.

iD Award Winner – Best Product Designer: Guinness, Darbotz and Ykha Amelz

Guinness appoints two Indonesian artists to design their limited ONE INDONESIA EDITION beer.

Bag Business: Turning Photography Passion Into Profit

Three photography enthusiasts turned their hobby into a business creating bags and other leather goo...