The Bengok Craft’s team, the teachers and the students of SMPN 1 Bandungan. (Source: Bengok Craft)

On 18-19 September 2023, something exciting happened at SMP N 1 Bandungan. The school was visited by Bengok Craft, a team passionate about crafting. Bengok Craft wasn’t alone; we brought along interns, skilled craftsmen, and even the owner of Bengok Craft. Our purpose? To share our unique craft-making skills with more than 100 eager students from class eight.

Water hyacinth, a plant that is often considered a problem because it grows too fast in water bodies, was the main material used. But Bengok Craft sees this plant differently. We see it as an opportunity to create. We have mastered the skill of transforming this plant into beautiful crafts, and we wanted to share this knowledge with the students.

The two-day workshop started with an introduction about Bengok Craft and the importance of using water hyacinth. Students learned that this plant could be turned into useful items with a bit of creativity and effort. The main projects for the students were making placemats, boxes, and hats. These might sound simple, but creating them from water hyacinth requires special techniques.

With guidance from the craftsmen, interns, and the owner of Bengok Craft, students dived into the crafting process. They were shown how to cut, shape, and weave the water hyacinth to make the desired items. Every student was involved, and the enthusiasm in the room was palpable.

After the students completed their crafts, all their works were collected. It was time for the teachers to step in. They carefully assessed each craft, looking at the finishing, the design, and the overall effort put in. But this was not just about grading their work; it was about understanding the students’ experience.

The students were given a task after this: they had to reflect on their work. They pondered upon questions like: What did they learn? How did they feel about using water hyacinth? What challenges did they face? And what did they enjoy the most? These reflections helped them appreciate the value of crafting and understand the importance of sustainable materials like water hyacinth.

In the end, this was not just a craft workshop; it was a lesson in sustainability, creativity, and understanding the value of materials that are often overlooked. Bengok Craft’s visit to SMP N 1 Bandungan will surely be remembered by the students for years to come. Not just for the crafts they made but for the valuable lessons they learned.

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