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Ecoprint artisans strive to revive amid global pandemic

News Desk

The Jakarta Post

Yogyakarta  /  Mon, November 16, 2020  /  05:40 pm
Ecoprint artisans strive to revive amid global pandemic

Some 583 ecoprint artworks are arranged in a row using a rope tied from one tree to another in the dense pine forest in Puncak Becici, Bantul, Yogyakarta, surrounding the venue of the Untaian Ecoprint Indonesia (the Strands of Indonesian Ecoprint Artworks) event on Nov. 12. (JP/Sri Wahyuni)

The COVID-19 pandemic has severely hit many sectors of national life, especially the economy, including the crafting industry.

Amid the crisis, many craft artisans and producers have been forced to shut their businesses or at least stop production due to a decrease in sales and a lack of orders.

To some, however, the current situation — which requires people to study, work, and conduct other activities from home — is seen as a good time for them to explore their abilities and skills, as well as their neighborhoods to bring out the best for them and the community.

This is true for almost 600 ecoprint artisans from across the archipelago who took part in “Untaian Ecoprint Indonesia” (Strands of Indonesian Ecoprint Artworks) held last week at Bukit Becici, Dlingo, Bantul, Yogyakarta — a popular tourist destination renowned for its natural beauty.

“This is the fourth in a series [of events] so far, and it will continue moving to other provinces,” said Wirasanti Hadiwibowo, the national coordinator of the program, on the sidelines of the event last week.

The term ecoprint, or eco-printing, refers to a technique of coloring and printing on various media using flowers and leaves from nature to get the patterns and colors with the help of natural dyes and other natural coloring materials.

Every piece of ecoprint art is unique, none of them is exactly the same, only similar.

During the one-day event at Puncak Becici, 583 ecoprint artworks were arranged in a row using a thread tied from one tree to another, surrounding the venue of the event held in the middle of a dense pine forest.

Wirasanti said that the first event was held on Oct. 28, to coincide with Youth Pledge Day, at the Taman Mini Indonesia Indah (TMII) cultural park in Jakarta.

The second was held on Nov. 3 in Banten, followed by the third on Nov. 10 in East Java and the fourth on Nov. 12 in Yogyakarta.

“Now we have collected a total of 583 works from 27 provinces from Sabang to Merauke, from Aceh to Papua. We are waiting for more artworks from the remaining seven provinces to join,” Wiransanti said.

She admitted that the pandemic had seriously affected the ecoprint industry in the country due to a sharp decrease in sales and orders. But they will continue to produce despite the less than ideal conditions.

“We consider the products as assets,” she said, adding that the program would officially close on Oct. 28, 2021 in Jakarta.

The Yogyakarta event coordinator Puthut Ardianto concurred, saying that the pandemic had motivated many to continue improving their ecoprinting skills and knowledge, thanks to having more spare time at home because of the pandemic.

He said the pandemic had once stopped artisans, including himself, from producing. Yet, they later realized that doing nothing was not the answer they needed to deal with the prolonged pandemic.

“Now we have started producing again,” said Puthut, who is also the owner of Lemospires Ecoprint and chairman of the newly established Association of Indonesian Ecoprinters (AEPI).

Erna Herawati, another local ecoprint activist, expressed the same spirit saying that by having more time at home, she could better explore her ecoprinting skills and knowledge and at the same time also produce more.

“Just take the good side of it,” she said, adding that the pandemic had taught her to adjust to the new normal life, including in developing digital marketing more and conducting virtual fashion shows. “Nothing will ever be the same again. It’s time to change.” (swa)


Editor’s note: This article is part of a public campaign by the COVID-19 task force to raise people’s awareness about the pandemic.

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