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Tracing The History of "LURIK" Fabric



It was very common for hundreds of threads weaved into a piece of fabric. However, this time the threads weren’t in the same color. Threads with different colors weaved into stripped patterns called lurik. Lurik wasn’t as popular as batik while actually 50 kilometers from Solo—the city of batik—lurik was produced until today. Exactly in Pedan, Klaten, some of the lurik business has been standing in the ground while many of them were facing bankruptcy.

Pedan has its own history of lurik. Rachmad, lurik development observer and the owner of lurik business called Sumber Sandang, told how lurik became Pedan special weaving. In 1938, a Pedan native, Suhardi Hadi Sumarto learned to weave in Bandung. When he came home, he practiced his knowledge and established a business called Werewy Familie with his relatives. However, when lurik developed greatly, Dutch attacked Indonesia again at 1948. All of the natives became refugees, and the same fate fallen to Pedan citizens as well. Hadi wasn’t backed away. He taught the refugees how to weave lurik. And when they came back to Pedan at 1950, they opened lurik businesses.

Before the Old Order of Indonesia, Pedan has found the glory of lurik. Over 500 lurik businesses built and approximately 60.000 weavers had decent income every day. In 1965, foreign capital was coming and there modernization had started. Automated weaving machines came and took out the traditional weaving tools. Capitalization started to surface. Many of the businesses need to be closed down and only some of them remained. “However, even there are many of the businesses used automated machines; I still depend on the traditional weaving machines,” Rachmad said in his house and workshop in Jalinan, Kedungan, Pedan, Klaten.

Rachmad still used more than 50 oklak (traditional weaving tool). However, only 25 to 30 oklak operated. “Every single day, one oklak can produce 10 meters of lurik. In a month, it would be 250 to 300 meters lurik,” Dono, one of the weaver that had worked for 20 years in Rachmad place, said. The amount was too small compared to machine-using weaving business.

Rachmad used manual machines since the start of production until the end of it. From the start, thread in the cone spool was rolled into a hank. Then the hank is mixed with starch liquid and fabric coloring. The starch liquid is needed to strengthen the thread fiber, while the coloring would be combined for the needed lurik pattern. The soaking process is done in a night. After that, hank needed to be squeezed and dried.

Hank then needed to be rolled into a cone spool again. After that, cone spools with different colors are combined and rolled into a beam. The next process is to pin the group of threads manually. This process can be done in seven hours. After they got pinned, the fabric was made using oklak.

Not so far from Sumber Sandang, Prasojo Boutique—a branch of Kusumatex that had been ran from generation to generation since 1950, was built. Different from Sumber Sandang owned by Rachmad, Prasojo have been using automated machines. Located in Pencil, Pedan, Klaten, there were 148 automated weaving machines operated for eight hours a day which produced hundreds meters of weaved fabrics. The processes were similar with the traditional one but done by automated machines such as for likas (rolling) process, kelos process, combining process and weaving process. “In a day, there are five to six beams that needed to be changed and every beam rolled 950 meters of fabrics,” Handoyo, Head Production of Lurik Prasojo, said.

Since 2011, Klaten regent has written a decree that oblige civil servants to wear lurik. Every Wednesday and Thursday, they are obliged to wear lurik to sustain Klaten culture. The baptism of Klaten as Lurik City is urgently promoted. The newest one is by building a statue of a woman weaving lurik in one corner of Klaten.

These facts gave Rachmad and other lurik businessmen a refreshing breeze. However, they didn’t just depend on it. Different innovations were made to develop lurik. There is not only one kind of lurik. While commonly lurik only has stripped patterns, people started to add batik patterns too. Maharani Setyawan, the owner of Prasojo and the third generation of Kusumatex owner, is one of that used this kind of method. She even designed lurik clothing that had been made according to the trend.

Even though he has stepped into his eighties, Rachmad still has faith for lurik business. “Lurik would forever live,” Rachmad said. He hoped that not only the regent that wrote a decree. “I hope the president would wear lurik too,” he closed.

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