As a part of my job, I am very fortunate to have the opportunities to travel to different places across the globe to source and develop products. These trips are packed with intense and exhausting schedules, but I learn and grow tremendously from these experiences, professionally and personally. I have been to Indonesia a couple times this year and am so impressed with the craftsmanship behind the entire rattan furniture manufacturing industry and community here. Rattan is native to South East Asia and Africa and Indonesia is a major source of rattan furniture and decors. This natural material is a popular material for furniture because it is strong and durable, yet lightweight and easy to work with. It is also resistant to pests and rot. Besides rattan, Indonesia is also known for furniture and decors made with other natural materials in addition to hard wood, like banana fiber yarns and bamboo to name a few.
Indonesia is a fascinating country, comprising more than 17,000 islands. I normally fly into Jakarta. It is the world's fourth most populous country with a population of about 270 million people. I normally fly into Jakarta, the capital city, and take a 2-hour train to Cirebon, where most rattan furniture makers are located. Rattan weaving is known to be an ancient tradition in Indonesia and has been an important part of the country's culture and economy for centuries. It is enabled by a cottage community. While frame, finishing, and packing processes are normally done at factories, the weaving process is done by a cottage community made up of mostly women, this set-up allows them to work while staying at home taking care of their children. Flexible working environment, anyone? :)
Sharing a few pictures from my recent trips in the spring and fall this year.