What comes to the mind when we hear the word water hyacinth? Swamp plant? Aquatic plants? Fat stemmed plants? Craft?
A scientist named Carl Friedrich Phillip von Martius, a German botanist in 1824, is said to have first discovered this fat-trunked plant by accident on a natural expedition along the Amazon River, Brazil.
One of the aquatic plants that live in swamps has another name, Eichhornia crassipes, it turns out that it has many other names in several areas in Indonesia. For example, the name Tumpeng is pinned on water hyacinth by the people of Manado. In Palembang, water hyacinth is known as Kelipuk. Dayak mentioned water hyacinth as Ilung-ilung. In my domicile area, water hyacinth is commonly known as Bengok (the letter ‘E’ is pronounced the same as the word ke).
In a village called Kesongo – Tuntang, Semarang Regency, Central Java, there is an MSME (Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises) of Bengok Craft which is led by a former student who graduated from the University of Indonesia who is creative with water hyacinth.
Various bags, hats, food mats, helmet covers, sandals, baskets, all available at the art gallery belonging to Firman Setyaji, the Captain of Bengok Craft. The water hyacinth craft business that he has pioneered continues to be ‘global’. It was said by him, that these handicraft products from water hyacinth have been present in a number of mall areas in Singapore.
The Kesongo-Tuntang village, has a famous swamp icon, named Rawa Pening, a swamp that is the place to live for water hyacinth. The main raw material of this business institution. The labor absorption of Bengok Craft is also quite large. Women in this area are empowered for this creative production activity.
Bengok Craft is an MSME under the guidance of Bank Indonesia Semarang City. Intensive assistance has brought much progress to the development of crafts from water hyacinth in this village.
A number of trainings from regional to national level as well as exhibition events (expo) are often followed by Bengok Craft. This water hyacinth product has been widely known, both domestically and abroad. One country that is familiar with this product is Singapore. This water hyacinth has many special characteristics. In addition to floating aquatic plants, water hyacinth has hollow leaf stalks so that it has the impression of a fat stalk.
Turning water hyacinth which was previously seen as waste into a work of art with high value is certainly not easy. There are many processes that must be passed, starting from raw materials to craft products with high artistic taste.
The drying process to designing various handicraft products from water hyacinth is passed step by step. Maintaining the quality of the material so that it is not easily moist and moldy is one of the important strategies in this craft business. Water hyacinth is one of the mainstays in the Kesongo village given the abundance of raw materials. A piece of this inspiring story of struggle has been repeatedly emphasized by Firman Setyaji, to the author that there is no attempt that instantly succeeds. Many winding and steep roads in the process to the author that there is no attempt that instantly succeeds. Many winding and steep roads in the process to success. There is no success that ‘immediately’, all requires a process.
This content has been broadcast on Kompasiana.com with the title “Turning Waste into Blessings: Water Hyacinth Bengok Craft, Inspiration for SMEs from Kesongo”, Click to read: https://www.kompasiana.com/nitakristantinoer/61a698c4259d5c453f761c92/change-waste-becoming-berkah-bengok-craft-inspirasi-umkm-dari-kesongo?page=all#section1
Creator: Yunita Kristanti N I
Translator: Ritya RB
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