Lombok pearl artisans want design classes
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Entrepreneurs and artisans working with pearls and oysters in Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara (NTB), want the government to fund training on modern design to help them penetrate the global market.
The issue was raised during a dialogue with Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Mari Elka Pangestu on the sidelines of the Lombok Sumbawa Pearl Festival (LSFP) at the Hotel Lombok Raya, Mataram.
Although Lombok pearls, also known as South Sea pearls, have global fame, local artisans face obstacles in marketing finished products such as accessories and jewelry to international markets because their products are made by hand, without the benefit of technology.
“We design our products manually, based on experience. We have never attended a training on design. The government should help us so our pearl products can meet the standards of international demand,” Riana Meilia, a pearl entrepreneur, said.
According to Riana, the pearl and oyster industry in Lombok had much potential and offered competitive prices.
Ten Lombok pearl and oyster entrepreneurs and artisans attended the dialogue with Mari, who was accompanied by Indonesian Cultivated Pearl Association secretary-general Bambang Setiawan and NTB Vice Governor Badrul Munir.
The artisans urged universities and education institutions in NTB to hold workshops for local pearl and oyster workers.
Efdalius Ruswanda, an artisan, said a major drawback he and his peers faced was a lack of creativity.
“In several countries, the role of the campus is very significant, because the creative economy development is there. We hope the government will pay attention to this in the future,” he said.
Bambang said that pearl craftsmanship in Europe and the US was of international standards, and were recently joined by the Japanese in receiving accolades.
Mari said that the ministry would “coordinate” with the Education and Culture Ministry to encourage the role of campuses and other educational institutions, such as vocational schools, to be involved in developing the creative economy.
“I very much agree with the involvement of the campus, and we must encourage them in this case,” Mari said.
According to the minister, the potential for Lombok pearls was large and should be further developed, as 60 percent of the world’s South Sea pearls were produced by Indonesia.
“The LSFP is also aimed at promoting Indonesian pearls globally. [...] Lombok is the right place,” Mari said.