Address : Dusun Giriloyo, Desa Wukirsari, Kecamatan Imogiri, Kabupaten Bantul, Daerah Istimewa Yogyakarta, Indonesia.
After UNESCO officially announced batik as an intangible cultural heritage of humanity on 2 October 2009 in Abu Dhabi, its image rise significantly as one of Indonesian heritages. All elements of Indonesian society are really proud of it and thus their appreciation upon batik rises. They show their pride and appreciation by wearing batik as working outfit and school uniform. However, wearing batik is not enough as an appreciation without knowing the history, the production process, and the value of batik as a national heritage. Those are important to know, especially for Indonesian young generation, so that batik as a cultural icon will be everlasting.
To get well acquainted with batik, it is better for you to visit Giriloyo hamlet in the southern of Yogyakarta to learn everything about batik, especially batik tulis or handmade batik. Giriloyo, which is located in Bantul regency, is a production center of batik tulis. This place has at least 800 batik artisans, who are divided into some groups and assembled in an organization called Paguyuban Batik Tulis Giriloyo. The establishment of the organization was initialized by the idea of Jogja Heritage Society (JHS) under the cooperation with Australian-Indonesia partnership soon after the 27th may 2006 earthquake.
The activity of batik making in Giriloyo has been last since the establishment of the Royal Mausoleum of Mataram Kings in Pajimatan hamlet in 1654. The Kraton official then asked several Abdi Dalem to keep the complex. The frequent interraction between the residents of Pajimatan and the abdi dalem open the villagers’ view about batik kraton, so they learned how to make such fine motives of batik.
As the time passed by, order of batik from Pajimatan rised significantly. On the other hand, the number of the maker was insufficient. Therefore, the Pajimatan batik artisans cooperated with the batik artisans from Giriloyo. The system that they used in the cooperation at the time was like this: the half-done batik fabrics from Pajimatan were taken by the artisans from Giriloyo for the finishing process. After the finishing process was done, they brought the batik back to Pajimatan. From the cooperation, the Giriloyo artisans learned to make batik with such motives from Pajimatan and established their own batik industry. Thus, the name of Giriloyo batik is better known than Pajimatan batik.
In addition to its fame as batik center, the Giriloyo batik artisans have successfully record their ability by making the longest batik in Indonesia (12 km). It is recorded in the Indonesian Record Museum (MURI) which also marking their resurgence after the 2006 earthquake.
Every place has its own style of in every piece of batik they make, such as motive, coloring technique, as well as the production process. Although many batik artisans now print the motives on the fabric using such monotype and make modern batik motives, batik artisans from Giriloyo keep draw the motives manually. They also keep the motives classic and traditional, every which has its own philosophical value such as: Sido asih (the person who wear the motive will have a harmonic family), sido mukti (if the motive is worn by a bride or groom, he/she will have a happy and wealthy life), sido mulyo (noble life), truntum (spring love), madu bronto (love as sweet as honey), and many more.
In addition to the philosophical values, several motives of batik tulis Giriloyo also have sacred values. Those special motives are only worn by the king and his family. The high value of batik tulis Giriloyo is also added by the aesthetic value in every motive as well as the preserverance, carefulness, meticulousness, and patience reflected from the long production process.
The manual process of batik production in indeed more complicated than printed batik. To change a piece of plain white fabric into a beautiful and highly valuable batik needs pretty long time and many steps of production as following: mola (to make the pattern using parrafin), ngelowong (to draw the pattern on the fabric using canting or pencil), nembok (to restrain the color seepage in the nyelup step), wedelan/nyelup (to color the fabric blue using indigo), ngerok (parrafin fading to give brown color), mbironi (covering the blue and white part with parrafin), nyoga (coloring the blue part to be brown), and the last is ngebyok (to clean all parrafin on the fabric by boiling it in the boiled water).
Batik artisans in Giriloyo use two kinds of coloring, natural and synthetic. For the natural one, they take the colors from leaves, fruits, flowers, and other natural material. To get brown color, they use soga, gambir, tea leaves, mahogany bark, and temu lawak. Red color is taken from morinda root, while blue color is taken from indigofera. Synthetic color is retrieved from chemicals.
However, the Giriloyo batik artisans agree to use natural coloring better than the synthetic one to maintain the quality. Beside, the natural coloring gives more beautiful result. In addition to the traditional motive, the Giriloyo batik artisans also make minimalist motives which look classic, graceful, and elegant. Some products of Giriloyo which use batik are traditional cloths, sarong, shirts, pillowcase, tablecloth, handkerchief, batik painting, and many more.
If you are interested to learn how to make batik, you should visit Giriloyo because as a batik center, Giriloyo also facilitate its visitors with a special package of batik making. The package is prepared for minimum 10 people and maximum 50 people. In the package, you will be guided by batik artisans to make your own batik work which you can bring home. While you are waiting for your own batik work to be processed, you can take a walk to The Royal Mausoleum of Mataram Kings on the top of Imogiri hill or tasting the local traditional menus such as pecel kembang turi, tiwul ayu, gurah tea, or wedang uwuh.
Giriloyo Batik Center is only 1 km away from the burial complex of Mataram kings in Imogiri. It is in Giriloyo Village, Wukirsari Sub-district, Imogiri District, Bantul Regency, Yogyakarta.
Giriloyo Hamlet is very easy to reach. It is located 25 km south of Yogyakarta city. The road is compatible for motorcycle as well as car. If you use public transportation, you can start from Giwangan Bus Station. You should take a bus heading for Panggang or Petoyan and get off at Imogiri Bus Station. It takes approximately 30 minutes to get there. From Imogiri Bus Station you can reach Giriloyo on foot or by ojek (motorcycle taxi).
Visiting Giriloyo Batik Center is free of charge. However, if you want to buy the batik product, the prices vary. A sheet of batik fabric sized 2.5 x 1.05 meter will cost Rp 150,000 to Rp 750,000 depending on the design, motive, and coloring type (October 2009).
With Rp 50,000, you can get the “Village Exploration Package 1”, which can take you to enjoy the calmness of the village and observe the batik production process. The package includes other facilities such as tour guide, snack, and lunch. For “Village Exploration Package 2” (enjoying the village and learn to make your own batik), you only have to pay Rp 100,000. The facilities that you will get are tour guide, snack, lunch, lesson on batik making and coloring. Of course you can bring home your own batik craft.
F. Accommodation and Other Facilities
You do not have to worry about facilities if you visit Giriloyo Batik Center. There are many around Giriloyo. To spend the night, you may go back to Yogyakarta city to find hotel, or choose one of many inns along Parangtritis or Parangkusumo beach. You can also visit other tourism objects nearby, such as Kasongan, Gabusan Art Market, Cerme Cave, Leather Puppet Production Center in Pucung, and many more.
Text: Elisabeth Murni
Photo(s): Collection of Jogjatrip.com
Translation: Elisabeth Murni
(Primary data and various sources)