Friday, August 1, 2008



Indonesian furniture has taken the world by storm over the past three years, especially Balinese d�cor products.
Seventy percent of the furniture produced in Indonesia is made by hand by small co-operatives scattered throughout the archipelago. Villagers use skills handed down from generation to generation. Invariably you will find an amazing piece of high end furniture starting its life in a small shack with children and chickens running through the wood shavings on the workshop floor. These craftsmen supply factories that collate, dry and finish the furniture. There are different areas in Indonesia that specialize in certain products like Jepara for instance; it produces reproduction furniture from Mahogany wood. The Jogyakarta and Solo region produce the bulk of the rustic, colonial and ethnic furniture. Electric Saws, planers and routers are unheard of in these villages as electricity supplies are intermitant and expensive. Carpenters rely on skill and old fashioned hard work to produce your unique and exotic piece of furniture.
It is hard for some Westerners who are accustomed to machine produced furniture to come to grasp with these imperfections as we have all been educated and steered toward perfection in our societies. Solid wood is a living and breathing organism that will adapt to its environment consequently there will be movement in your original piece of handcrafted furniture. Antique furniture from the late eighteen to the early nineteen hundreds which was produced from solid wood is known to move up to sixty to a hundred years after production. If we can accept these imperfections in Antique furniture then we can accept this in Indonesian Solid wood furniture that will be antiques and highly sought after in the next century. Wood supply around the world is dwindling at an astonishing rate and these handcrafted exotic d�cor pieces will be collector�s items in the years to come.
Concerned citizens around the world have expressed their concern to me about Indonesia�s rainforests and some get quite heated up about the subject and quite rightly so. Firstly; Teak and Mahogany are not indigenous woods to Indonesia. Secondly; Teak and Mahogany saplings were bought to Indonesia in the late eighteen hundreds by the Dutch from Honduras. The Dutch settlers used Teak to make boats and the Mahogany to build their furniture. They created a sustainable plantation of these timbers and ran a strict rotation program which was later discarded by the Indonesian Government due to lack of funds after the country attained independence. The replanting of saplings has been reintroduced over the past decade. The only problem we have as producers of wood in present time would be illegal logging by border countries making it difficult to source wood for furniture production within Indonesia. This problem is now being addressed by the Indonesian government and hopefully will protect the furniture industry in the future.

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