The Jakarta Post
Pop songs from days of yore could be heard, as a group of women were busy placing leaves on top of lambskin. Others made sure the fire was ready to steam the leather and fabrics.
The eco-printing technique is the latest innovation by small-scale business Madukara based in Pakisjajar Village, Malang, East Java.
Eco-printing is a technique that involves pressing leaves, flowers and other plant materials onto natural fibers without the use of chemical elements or machines. The technique usually involves fabrics and there aren’t many who have tried it on lambskin or cowhide.
Forty-five-year old Meilina, owner of Madukara, said she started the business by making batik from synthetic materials in 2017. She later found that many housewives who worked for Madukara were allergic to the chemical ingredients used in the process, and also learned that the chemicals were not environmentally friendly.
Meilina then turned to a more natural technique of tie-dye and eco-printing. In February this year, she tried both techniques on lambskin and found the results to be equally impressive as those on fabrics.
“Since April, we have produced eco-printed fabrics and leather,” said Meilina. “The steps are almost identical, whether in pattern-making, coloring technique or drying. The only difference lies in the steaming process, in which the leather needs to be steamed at 70 to 80 degrees over the course of no more than 1.5 hours. A higher temperature or longer duration would make the leather stiff and less elastic.”
Madukara produces 60 eco-printed pieces of lamb and goat leather per month with each piece sold for Rp 450,000 (US$32.10). It also produces shoes, wallets, bags and clothes in collaboration with micro, small and medium enterprises in Malang. Shoes are offered with prices starting from Rp 450,000, while wallets and bags are priced at Rp 350,000 and Rp 800,000, respectively.
“The production rate is stable,” said Meilina. “All products are sold online bearing the Madukara brand. For treatment, dip tissue into clean water and gently wipe the leather. It’s that simple.” (wng)
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