The Creativity of West Java Is Endless!

Submitted by viravira on 3 February 2016   •  Destination

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Bandung, the capital of West Java, has been known as the creative city. So much creativity in West Java has grown and developed such as  in music, fashion, visual arts and food, and mostly known from Bandung, may it be created by the natives or migrants. Just recently, on my trip with West Java Tourism Board, I realized that the creativity of West Java is sprouted all over the province. These following are ones that I came across.

Check out the creativity of West Java and the quiz with prizes at the end of this post.



Kelom or Clog in Tasikmalaya

Kelom Geulis is a brand that has stamped their name in local’s sandals industry since about 1995. It differs from other wooden shoes by the carvings and batik on the surface, which are motly made in floral pattern. Hence the name ‘Geulis’, which means pretty in Sundanese. ‘Kelom’ means clog, inspired by klompen, The Netherlands’ traditional whole feet clog.

We were shown the production process, located within the owner, Pak Ana Suryana’s house. One of the staff patiently taught us how to batik on the sandal. Dude, it was hard! Upon coloring with the batik canting, I couldn’t even keep up with my own design! I even clumsily spilled the paint on my own foot, which is made of car paint.

Kelom Geulis products are sold online as well as in several shops. Other than making their own products, they also produce and export sandals for klompen to The Netherlands and for geta (Japanese wood sandals) to Japan.

These clogs are pretty but I have to admit that they don’t fit my style. So when Pak Ana let us choose any pair to bring home as souvenirs, I gladly chose one for my mother-in-law, which later looked very happy to receive them.

The clogs in Pak Ana’s display room is sold for about IDR100,000 per pair, but usually they’re more expensive in other stores, even online.

Now they’ve also developed Kelom Kasep, translates to Handsome Clogs. Yup, you guessed it, they’re for the guys.

Klompen, the Dutch clogs.
Batiking the carved sandal base.
CREATIVITY of WEST JAVA - kelom geulis bordir
Combined with embroidery.
CREATIVITY of WEST JAVA - kelom geulis
So many kelom to choose from.


Batik, Dodol and Leather Goods in Garut

It was my first time to Garut though I had heard so much about it. I had heard of how good their leather goods were, I had even eaten the dodol, which was featured in one of Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservation episodes. But I never knew that Garut also had its own batik.

We were taken to Rasya Batik, a shop full of batik cloth and clothes of various patterns and colors. Nothing really looked out of the box, like the modern batik that I’ve written about here, but a lot of them were cute. Some are stamped, some are drawn. Some of Garut’s original patterns include the lereng (hillside slope) and bilik (thatched wall), according to Bu Rosna, one of the batik artists we met at the shop. They also took us to the workshop across the street, and showed us the whole process, from drawing with canting, dyeing in barrels, to tumbledrying the cloth.

I bought one batik cloth for me, the one with the simplest pattern, and more for you guys for the giveaway.

As for the dodol, we were taken to Dodol Picnic factory, the most famous one in Indonesia. Dodol is a toffee-like sweets, made of Garut’s original sticky rice, coconut and sugar. Dodol Picnic was founded in 1958. They have not exported the products despite (or because of?) the great success within Indonesia.

I’m not a fan of dodol because it’s too sweet for my liking, but I do like their new innovation of combining dodol and brownies. I guess it’s the brownies that made it for me. Other than that, they’ve also combined dodol with fruits and chocolate, but I can’t say much since I haven’t tried them.

Are you waiting for my story on the leather goods? I wish I could say much, but our plan to visit a leather workshop had to be canceled due to weather condition that kind of messed up our schedule. But worry now, we managed to visit a leather store and I got some goods for you guys!

Dyeing batik cloth.
CREATIVITY of WEST JAVA - garut drawn batik
Drawing the batik, lereng motif.
Stamped batik.
WEST JAVA CREATIVITY - garut dodol picnic
Dodol with brownies, raisins and something else in yellow.


Angklung and Cikapundung in Bandung

Saung Angklung Udjo is so famous, I didn’t think I should write about it anymore. But since we’re talking about creativity here, how could I not??

The late Mang Udjo (Mang means uncle in Sundanese) and his wife Uum Sumiati are definitely a couple of Sundanese cultural music heroes. They founded a Sundanese art studio in 1966, which later developed what is now named Saung Angklung Udjo (SAU); saung means hut, angklung is a Sundanese musical instrument made of bamboo and has to be played in a group (I guess you can call it an orchestra). SAU consisted of an amphitheatre where daily angklung performances are held along with Sundanese dances, a gift shop, and an angklung workshop.

What’s interesting about SAU is that they creatively developed their culture to become more current. Initially, the angklung was a pentatonic scale, which later they developed to a heptatonic scale, enabling them to play current modern songs up to orchestral compositions. They adopt internationally known music, such as Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody and ABBA’s I Have A Dream, to be performed with angklung! On top of that, visitors are included in playing the songs with an angklung each, conducted by one of their lead players. So it’s not just ‘I’m so good, you watch’, you can really feel the spirit of togetherness. Plus, the Sundanese people’s sense of humor is also there and entertains everbody.

Having said of togetherness, on the contrary I also enjoyed my own time strolling the Cikapundung Street. It’s where most students in Bandung go for thrift magazine shopping. Local and imported magazines, from adventure to graphic design themes, they sell it. I don’t know how, but they often have imported magazines with cheap prices.

I was browsing for design magazines at one of the kiosks when the seller, Uji as I later found out the name, showed me some recommendations. Honestly I was underrating him, I didn’t think he would even understand what the magazines were about. “Well, I have to know what I’m selling. I don’t understand English much, but there’s Google Translate now,” he said. Truly a professional!

More about my amazement with Uji, you can check out here on our Instagram. If you’re curious about Cikapundung Street, pay a stroll on your next visit to Bandung. It’s perpendicular (wow, a Geometry term!) to Asia Afrika Street, diagonal to Alun-Alun (city square).

Angklung performance
Angklung performance.
Angklung pieces to be used by the audience.
Angklung workshop at the back part of SAU.
Magazines on Cikapundung sidewalk.



First of all, these are what you’ll be getting, they’re all from Garut:

1st winner: A batik cloth + a leather hat.
CREATIVITY OF West Java giveaway
2nd winner: A batik cloth + 1 leather pouch.
West Java giveaway
3rd winner: A patchwork bag + leather pouch


The question:

What is one creative innovation that you really admire in this world? And why?

It doesn’t have to be something traditional, just anything you think is a creative innovation.

Terms & Conditions:

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  • answer the question in the Comment section below
  • answers are no later than February 29, 2016.

Easy peasy, right?

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cumilebay maztoro
4 years ago

Kelom nya juara sampai di export ke jepang yaaa & batik nya warna2 nya gw banget gonjreng menggoda

Firsta | Discover Your Indonesia

Oh no! I really curious about the leather workshop in Garut. It is a shame that your visit was cancelled.  Anyway, since I ticked off 2 of the terms and conditions for this giveaway, I’ll try my luck! Creative innovation that I really admire at the moment is actually the motorbike taxi app. Hahaha.. sorry for choosing a not very traditional answer. The reason I choose this is that motorbike taxi apps just make things more convenient! No more silly bargaining with Tukang Ojek.  Can I submit two answers? Ok, this one is the more traditional one! Mas Lulu Lutfi… Read more »

Nuruddin Kamil
Nuruddin Kamil
4 years ago

I think the one that i really admire is Google Glass. Google glass is simply combination between art, innovation and technology. It change the definition of Mobile Phone which people usually used by grasped it. Google radically change it. Mobile phone in your glasses. It is not only 10% improvement, but this is 10x improvement. “Moonshot thinking”

I saw a video here / and see a lot of opportunity for this device to help a loot of people in need.

Nuruddin Kamil
Nuruddin Kamil
4 years ago
Reply to  vira

I think there are several indonesian people that has Google Glass. The on that i know are Daniel Oscar Baskoro and Ivan Yudhi. Maybe if by any chance you met them, you could ask him to lend you Google Glass.

Hendi Setiyanto
4 years ago

Kalau boleh memilih jawaban (entah ini benar atau salah) menurut saya adalah inovasi dari sebuah Internet. Entahlah apakah ini salah satu inovasi kreatif atau bukan, namun bagi saya internet merupakan salah satu inovasi kreatif yang ditemukan oleh anak manusia dan mengubah dunia hingga saat ini. Mungkin karena berkat pengalaman pribadi saya sendiri. Saya seorang anak yang tinggal di daerah terpencil dan berupa pegunungan di Banjarnegara. Berkat adanya internet, sangat memotivasi saya pribadi untuk lebih kreatif di tengah segala keterbatasan dan keterpencilan ini. Dengan adanya internet dan menggunakannya dengan bijak dan positif, saya akhirnya memilih blog menjadi salah satu media penampung… Read more »

Riani Sagita
4 years ago

One of creative innovations that I find useful is Bastis Lint roller, I find it in IKEA. It’s a domestic stuff that can help you to clean or remove animal hairs, dust and lint from garments, furniture and car seats. But for me who has hair loss problem, it helps me to remove my hair on the floor, bed, desk in every single place in my home (^___^). Here is a link for this stuff

Fahmi Anhar
4 years ago

Sebagai anak (yang tiap hari naik) motor, aku kagum dengan penemuan motor-motor sport macam di MotoGP dan Superbike. konstruksi mesin yang begitu rumit bersinergi dengan aerodinamika sehingga tercipta mesin jet darat roda 2. Udah gitu, bisa melaju kencang banget di tikungan tajam dengan sudut kemiringan yang ekstrim namun tetap aman. Ajaib ya. Tentunya kapabilitas si pembalap juga berperan besar disini. Giliran aku dong, pakai motor cowok biasa, bukan sport, ikut sok-sokan nikung di pengkolan… ya ngglundhung to… malah babak belur hahaha. wong jenis motornya untuk harian, bukan untuk balapan. *self toyor* ========== Satu lagi, aku juga kagum dengan penemuan Raket… Read more »

4 years ago

Baca part tentang ngebatik, aku jadi inget dulu juga pernah numpahin lilin sampe satu kain batik kena semua, untung waktu itu masih belajar hehe. Ohiya. Aku komen pake bahasa yaa 🙂 Menurut aku inovasi yang paling kukagumi saat ini yaitu benda kecil berukuran beberapa inch yang jadi addicted kita sehari2, Smartphone! Smartphone sebenarnya adalah inovasi dari seperangkat alat seperi pc atau handphone yang udah mulai terkenal sejak tahun 90an. Dan semakin berkembangnya teknologi, smattphone kini semakin berkembang. Banyaknya aplikasi dan feature pendukung yang hanya bisa diinstall di smartphone jdi salah satu pndukung utama majunya era digital sekarang. Ga hanya buat… Read more »

4 years ago

Saya ingat waktu saya masih duduk di bangku sekolah dulu, ada sekelompok ibu-ibu datang ke sekolah saya untk memperkenalkan produk-produk kerajinan yang telah mereka buat dari bahan dasar sampah. Ibu-ibu itu juga mengajarkan saya dan teman-teman bagaimana cara mengolah kembali sampah-sampah tersebut menjadi barang kreatif yang bernilai ekonomis. Sampau sekarang, saya cukup kagum dengan kreatifitas ibu-ibu itu dalam mengelola sampah. Mereka merubah sampah yang awalnya tidak berguna dan dibuang-buang saja oleh kita menjadi barang2 cantik seperti tas,dompet, karpet,bahkan furniture pun bisa. Hasilnya juga tak kalah menarik dengan kreasi-kreasi pada umumnya dan yg pastinya lebih murah. Secara tidak langsung ibu-ibu itu… Read more »