Thirty years ago the village of Kasongan was merely a simple Javanese village, its inhabitants mostly creating earthenware from clay fired in ovens. Rice and vegetable fields were tended by a few persons only, since most preferred to work as labourers in Yogyakarta or in other neighboring cities.
Today, however, the village has seen a complete transformation ever since well-known master artist Saptohudoyo took the time to teach the inhabitants the art of pottery. Since then, Kasongan village has grown ready to fulfil market demand for modern designed pottery, decorated with accessories and fired through an improved process. It was, indeed, it was through their own creative spirit of the villagers that pulled Kasongan’s economy out of poverty.
Today, the bustling Kasongan village has made it onto the tourist map, constantly visited by streams of international and domestic tourists, to buy, study pottery or explore the village culture.
Rows of galleries display numerous beautiful and artistic pottery attracting more and more visitors. Buyers can order their own designs from dragons to flowers, roses and more. Most sought after, however, are vases, water jugs, wall decorations and Borobudur’s stupa replicas which are in highest demand from international markets that include Spain and other European countries, America and Australia.
The Provincial Government of Yogyakarta has urged small scale companies to develop their business by contacting buyers through the internet. Following this, business in this earthenware village thrives through E-commerce.
The village of Kasongan is located in the Kasihan suburb, in the district of Bantul, to be exact at Km 6.5 from Yogyakarta. Shops open from 08.0 am to 05.0 pm. And if you are truly interested you may visit the home of the shop-owner and see for yourself the entire process of creating the earthenware products. The artisans will be only too happy to receive visitors, explaining what they are doing at the different stages of the process, from rolling the clay to forming the intended shapes, to drying. It is not unusual to see kids help their parents in the process. The dried creations will be fired in the oven and then coloured with different paints.
If you wish to try your hand at making your own pieces there are numerous studios, one of which is the Kembang Square studio. Besides meeting demand from Bali art markets and hotels, this studio also accepts tourists who wish to learn to paint and gloss over vases, all for free. Another unique studio is Loro Blonyo which produces the typical earthenware Javanese seated couple called, called the Loro Blonyo, alongside other creations of cute animal figures.