Indonesia’s wealth of cultural handicrafts is as diverse as its many cultures. Each month we explore the archipelago’s offerings through a different traditional craft.
When thinking of potterymaking destinations around Yogyakarta, Kasongan is one village that inevitably springs to mind as the centre of pottery production in the region.
With a rich legacy as a pottery centre since at least 1675, when the first pottery production shop was set up, Kasongan is now home to almost 600 pottery businesses that make close to 1,800 different pottery products. While a lot of Kasongan ceramics and earthenware goes to domestic locations, such as Bali and Surabaya, over half is exported to countries such as Australia, the United States and France, making Kasongan a truly international name.
Kasongan pottery makers typically source their clay from Godean and Bayat sub-districts near Kasongan, and knead, shape and dry the clay for two to four days before firing and finishing the product with paint. The craft of pottery making is usually passed down from generation to generation, and many Kasongan pottery showrooms also produce pottery on site, inviting those interested in the process of pottery production to have a closer look. As laborious as the manual process of pottery making may seem, the final Kasongan products are immensely popular due to their quality and the creativity of the craftspeople who continue to make the craft into a thriving business supporting most of the local population.