Lovers of fan craft are not necessary to get confused or look for this product far. They can find it at Sesetan village, Denpasar. Its market share is not only local consumers, but also international consumers. Even, nobody imagines if the fan craft made by creative hands of Balinese people was taken advantage for souvenirs of the Wedding party of Prince William and Kate Middleton, contestants of Miss World beauty pageant and the APEC women’s delegates. More recently, it was also used in the selection of Miss Bali 2013.
A fan entrepreneur from Sesetan village, Wayan Wiraperdhana, told that fan craftsmen originally developed in the area in 1970. At that time, the fan craftsmen and businesses proliferated and became a source of community’s income. “Formerly, Sesetan was indeed very famous for its fan handicraft,” he said.
However, he continued, the ups and down of tourism industry, competition and bombings in 2002 had caused the art shops to close one by one. “In the past, the village was famous for its fan craftsmen, but now only a few fan art shops remain to survive. Even, the Denpasar downtowners rarely know about the existence of my craft business. Probably, it happens because most of our enthusiasts and market orientation are overseas,” he said.
In such conditions, said Wiraperdhana, his art shop was actually affected, too. Nevertheless, he continuously made innovation by creating new motives and designs. “Fortunately, we have overseas buyers, so that our exports can continue. We are optimistic to develop and disseminate this product,” he said.
Since his products were used in various prestigious events, he eventually got invitation from central government in Jakarta as a form of appreciation. “For the event, I was represented by my father, but many colleagues asked why my father could be invited and in what capacity the invitation was. He just replied that he was invited as a craftsman. Meanwhile, the government in Bali just knew my business recently,” he said.
Wiraperdhana revealed that his business belonged to home industry. Then, it further developed into an industry. “I am a third generation, where this business is a legacy of my grandfather. My younger brother also has a fan handicraft business. Although we equally run this business, we have a different design taste,” he said friendly.
In harmony with the development of culture and the demands of design, he said, in Bali and Indonesia in general, the fan was mostly served as property of traditional and modern dance. However, through creative ideas it could have multifunction. “Fan can be made into souvenirs, room ornaments, flower vase, magician property and fashion show where the colors and motif are adapted to clothing. In addition, the fan can definitely be taken everywhere and it will be helpful when it is stiflingly hot. When it is brought by a woman, she will look more elegant and fashionable. For instance, first ladies often bring a fan in a formal and non-formal event,” said the man having a hobby in art and design.
Wiraperdhana conveyed that he should maintain the quality in order his business could still survive. “To maintain the quality, I personally make it through in-house production and am ready to compete. Out design is limited edition as it is original hand fan with the ethnic and modern design. The materials in used also vary, where some items are from Bali such as endek cloth, batik and stick made from mahogany wood and cow bone. Meanwhile, for brocade cloth, we import it from France and silk from China,” he explained.
Currently the art shop named Wiracana Hand Fan on the area of 200-square meter is made like a gallery. “We employ 150 workers, where previously they did not have basic skills in the making of fan craft and here I train them from zero. Employees are my assets. Therefore, we want to mutually help and benefit so that we can be equally prosperous,” he said.
He stated, although it was ever down, they were not directly frustrated. “We aggressively make promotion through exhibitions overseas such as in Barcelona, Madrid, Canary Island, Amsterdam and Dubai. Now, our products have been exported to overseas such as to Spain, Mexico, Italy, France, Japan, Korea and Singapore. We are also targeting local market such as hotels and expatriates,” he explained.
“Fan is my life. I can grow up and attend school due to the proceeds of this fan business. I am proud that my products are also in demand by Indonesian artists and designers such as Anggun C. Sasmi, Ari Tulang, Samuel Wattimena, Ayu Mirah, Didit Maulana Iwan Tirta and much more,” he added. (BTN/Ocha)