Wonogiren Batik is a traditional craft from Wonogiri district. It is made and produced using covering technique or stroking wax-resist and dipping dye on the cloths. Tracing back to its presence in Batik industry, Wonogiren Batik did not originally come from Wonogiri. Instead, the term Wonogiren came from the name of Pura Mangkunegaran’s Batik artisan, Kanjeng Wonogiren or given the name Raden Ayu Handayaningrat. She was married to the chief of Wonogiri District who was ruling when Surakarta was under the throne of KGPAA Mangkunegara VII up to VIII (Desy et.al, 2008).
Formerly, Wonogiren Batik was known for its best quality. The wax painting process was conducted thoroughly using high quality waxes and dyes imported from Germany such as napthol, indigosol, and remasol. Only qualified cloths were chosen to produce a smooth and glamorous Batik. Consequently, only high-class customers such as royal families from Pura Mangkunegaran, great merchants, and government officers could afford Wonogiren Batik.
When national and political unrest occurred from 1965 to 1970, Indonesian Government implemented an economy policy called Government Economic Consideration (Kebijaksanaan Ekonomi Pemerintah ) to ban or limit several imported commodities including Batik materials. High quality Batik materials were rarely found in the market causing the price to increase highly. Although great merchant could keep the industry running, this condition disadvantaged middle to lower class merchants and traders. Batik artisans and traders were looking for the alternative ways to keep their industry running. During this unstable condition, they unexpectedly found a new technique called remukan or shatters, which was by then creating special motifs known as Wonogiren Batik motifs.
Remukan technique was actually a process of recycling materials used in the process of making Batik. During the crisis, Batik artisans and traders had to choose lower quality Batik materials such as cotton cloth that was previously avoided because they madeworse quality and unpolished product. Cotton was chosen because it was cheaper and less time consuming while second quality of wax was chosen to be used as the background or tembokan to be applied on the cloth.
The peeled wax used after the process or lorodan was reused to be applied on the cloth, thus the result was not bright; it was blackish. The lorodan wax applied was not absorbed by the cloth thoroughly. This dried wax became too hard and was broken on the cloth. The shattered motifs and blackish background appeared after the wax was washed away or peeled are nowadays known as the special motifs of Wonogiren Batik.
Batik craft as the cultural heritage of Tirtomoyo, Wonogiri district showed that the Batik industry was not a stagnant industry. Instead, the Batik industry is changing dynamically in accordance withcultural aspects. Studying the development of Batik industry in Tirtomoyo, Wonogiri was not merely studying culture in a stagnant and exclusive context but also studying batik industry as a tradition that needs preserving and developing dynamically.
The research took place at Tirtomoyo, Wonogiri District. This area was specifically chosen because it was culturally integrated to the former Surakarta, the kingdom, and is currently connected to the current Surakarta, its administrative authority.
Based on the problems observed, this research used single case studies technique. A case study emphasizes on chosen possibilities before the researcher conduct the research. In the research, laws and regulation are viewed not only as positive law’s norms but also as its own reality. The research examined the development of Wonogiren traditional batik industry; therefore, it is categorized as a development research.
The data were collected from the artworks of batik produced in Tirtomoyo, Wonogiri including the process and values. The interviews were also conducted toward professional and academic batik artisans, batik experts, people involved in batik industry and toward the local government to obtain the data. As supporting data, literature studies were also conducted through studying records and documents dealing with Wonogiren traditional batik.
Data collection technique used in this research is open-ended and in-depth interviews, which were conducted formally and informally to dig the interviewees’ point of view, which would be source of data, displayed and its analysis. In-depth interviews mean the interviews that were conducted several times in the right time and right context, based on and relevant to the focus of study.
Participatory observation used in the research observed people’s behavior or attitude, environment’s condition, and all matters correlating to the research object formally and informally. This participatory observation required the researcher’s participation in the development of traditional batik in Tirtomoyo, Wonogiri.
This research is a qualitative research using purposive sampling to collect the data from articles, documents, and other records. Purposive sampling technique classifies the data based on theoretical concepts, individual curiosity and empirical characteristics, and so on. It is commonly called as a technique that categorizes the criterion based selection. This technique also selected informant considered as having certain criteria or even developed the criteria based on the needs of collecting data (Patton, 1984).
Data triangulation was used to guarantee the validity of data. The analysis model used is flow model of analysis. Its analysis process consisted of three main components: data reduction, data display, and conclusion or verification. Those three components are related to each other and determining the result. The analysis process mentioned above can be conducted by creating interactive steps between the component and data collection process into a cycle process (Sutopo, 2002).
Design is commonly defined as the organization of visual arts components (Arfial, 2000). Based on Jumari, Okim Djamir and Wagimun, ‘design’ used in textile context has a different meaning to its common meaning. Design here refers to pattern or figure which is regularly repeated vertically or horizontally on a cloth (Jumaeri et. al., 1974). Chodiyah& Wisri A. Mamdy states that design is an organization of line, forms, color, and texture (1982).
Nowadays, the term ‘textile’ itself is defined into a wide definition. It refers to clothes made by woven, bond, pressed and so on. Textile plan means a refining process to fiber or cloth to improve the quality, esthetic, and function of the cloth. Textile is produced by woofing following a specific knot pattern of thread. The threads are divided into two directions creating 90 o angle. The two directions are commonly called vertical and horizontal direction (Jumaeri et. al., 1974).
The term ‘design’ is newly absorbed in Indonesian Language that refers to plan and planning which does not resemble a scientific and professional term (Agus, 2005). In its early development, the term design has been attached to the term ‘art’ and ‘craft’ up to 1970. Nowadays, the term ‘design’ focuses on its functional and industrial aspects because the discourse of theoretical fine arts has strengthened its position in arts disciplinary.
The term ‘design’ is not merely used in the arts; it is also used in other fields to refer to the same meaning. Technology and manipulation places ‘design’ as the main motor of science and technology innovation. ‘Design’ here is commonly defined within technical context or as an engineering design in a widely used approach.
Based on its use, design emphasizes the process and not the product. Defining the term ‘design’ is indeed a designing since it needs a process. In the early 2000, ‘design’ is defined as the art works to fill the needs some ways. In this decade, the definition of ‘design’ is transforming from the definition of ‘design’ which emphasizes in functional decoration component and crafting.
In the globalization era, the definition of ‘design’ is transforming into an activity which focuses on competition. In the 1980, the definition of ‘design’ was enriched by professional and expert’s opinion as follow (1) design is the defining of real facts into subjective phenomenon. This definition underlines that materialism world unifies human and the life within designing activities (2)design is a physical translation on social, economy, social structure, and resemblance of the era’s culture. This definition emphasizes designer’s role to interpret human’s abstract and various needs into a concrete idea which resembles the era and (3) design is the cultural manifestation, as the product of values within a certain time. This definition marks the transformation definition of ‘design’ from 1980 in Indonesia. This definition is connected with contextual values representing the culture. It shows that design works does not only solve human’s problems but also contain of values which develop the civilization.