Yogyakarta’s – Boutiques and Batiks

The list of traditional crafts still practised in the suburbs and towns around Yogyakarta is practically endless,

Both because skilled labour is cheap and plentiful here, but also because the court once patronized these village craftsmen. Most villages are specialized, some producing earthenware pottery, others turning out delicate filagree silverwork, and yet others leather bags, weaving, baskets, cane furniture or handforged ceremonial keris blades. These products are generally available from shops and boutiques in Yogyakarta, but it is also interisting to visit the villages, if you have the time, to observe how they are made, (See Travel Tips).

Of course Yogya’s most famous handicraft is still Batik, and unless you class yourself with the connoisseurs of this ex-traditionarily involved textile art, it’s a good idea to first visit the Batik Research Centre (Balai Penelitian Batik) at Jl. Kusumanegara 2, a 15 minutes walk to the east of the main Post Office. (See also “The World of Javanese Batik”) Here, an individual guided tour costs nothing, and you are introduced to the craft’s painstaking manufacturing process as well as to the staggering variety of patterns and colours to be found throughout Java. One month courses are offerd here for a nominal fee. For three hours a day; six days a week, you help other students design, drwa, wax, dye and clean the cloth.

Batik cloth is produced and sold all over Yogya, but especially on Jalan Tirtodipuran in the south of the city, a street with over 25 factories and showrooms, most of which are happy to let you observe their production. But if you want to see a range of finished batik from all over Java, the visit the large Toko Terang Bulan shop on Jl. Malioboro (near the central market). Here you can see and buy a great variety of yardgoods, sarung, tablecloths, shirts and dresses at reasonable fixed prices.

Many of the city’s better known artists, and number of aspiring ones; also produce batik paintings, made with the same resistdyeing method but specifically designed for framing and handing. Three of the most famous (and expensive) boutiques are: Amri Gallery (Jl. Gampingan 67); Bambang Oetoro (Jl. Taman Siswa 55); and Saptohudoyo (opposite the airport).

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