This hidden gem located in the heart of the city is one of the most popular things to do in Yogyakarta.
The eOasia team is constantly on the road, looking for the best activities . We are currently in Yogyakarta, the Arts and Cultural capital of Indonesia. As such, we decided to try one of the most sought after cultural activities within the city to discover what to do in Yogyakarta and just how creative the city is.
We were firstly warmly welcomed in the home of a friendly French-Indo couple, Fanny and Abenk, that met 5 years ago due to their common passion for leather. They’ve been working and teaching leather for the last 3 years in both France and Indonesia, and finally decided to set up their creative house in the heart of Yogyakarta.
The leather workshop is like no other; it is very cozy and arts driven. Additionally, you will be guided under the wings of two very talented and passionate teachers that make the class really easy to follow. They really know how to make you feel like a pro!
Travellers looking for things to do in Yogyakarta usually try the one-day workshop but they also provide a 6-days course for those who want to create bigger items or to get a deeper insight into the leather industry. Some of their clients went for the 6-days course and consequently decided to create their own leather clothes brand!
A growing trend among the things to do in Yogyakarta
The one thing we liked the most about the workshop is that Fanny and Abenk make sure that their methods stay authentic. For this reason, no more than 4 people will participate in the daily workshop at all time. Do book a few days in advance to make sure you get a slot, as this is becoming the most popular Yogyakarta attraction.
From bracelets to high end designer bags – You can create anything that you dream of!
The one-day workshop offers you the possibility to make 5 jewelries, such as leather bracelets or earrings. You can also create a wallet, a purse, a belt, or even do your own leather sandals in 2 days. If you are feeling a little ambitious, you can try to create more sophisticated items and bigger bags.
Most of the items will have hints of ethnic influences, such as batik prints from Indonesia. However, if you prefer to make an item similar to your dream Luis Vuitton leather bag, they’ll also be able to teach you how.
No artistic background, not much creative juice? No problem!
Having always been artistically challenged, I was initially scared about what I would be able to do. But at the end of the day, I have to say that I was impressed by the result.
Not sure yet what to do in Yogyakarta? Do not hesitate longer!
Firstly, Fanny and Abenk asked me to choose an item from their catalogue; the list is long and every single item seems seductive. They’ve advised me to choose something bigger than a bracelet, so I could experience all the steps involved in a leather making process. I then chose to do an ethnic purse, which can be used to keep pens, cables, or even sunglasses. Our friendly hosts guided me through every single step of the process, making it easy, fun, and creative.
The ABC of Leather Manufacturing
Now that I’ve chosen what to make, I picked some leather and start to work (cow leather is recommended as this is more rigid than goat leather).
We cut some leather according to the dimensions of our item; for the purse I only needed to cut 3 pieces that later on will be assembled together.
We then make some holes that will be our marking points for stitching. The next part, coloring, is the trickiest part because it’s so difficult to choose the best color! You can make it brown, black but you can try to get a bit more funky by mixing some colors together. I mixed some blue and red paints together and turned my leather into purple! We then painted very generously all the leather that we’ve been cutting. While waiting for the leather to dry (about an hour), we had a great lunch break at one of the local restaurants in the neighbourhood.
If your grandma never taught you how to stitch, or that you have never gotten the opportunity to learn about it, do not be afraid! They actually do it in a very simple way so you just manually put the thread through the holes as instructed, assembling the pieces together.
Now, your product is finally starting to look like something! The final steps will be to design your item, whether you want to put some ribbons or buttons. Anything that makes you happy 🙂
Finally, we varnish the final piece to make it water resistant and shinier. That’s it, you’ve created a leather piece by yourself!
Do include this activity in your Yogyakarta itinerary
Once again, we believe this is one of the best things to do in Yogyakarta. The hosts are not only friendly but excellent teachers! The homemade coffee and cakes are just a plus to make your experience even more memorable. You will want to stay one more day with them or ask them to adopt you 🙂
They will also give you good tips on what to do in Yogyakarta, best restaurants in the city, and all the must-do while being there.
We wish we could have stayed longer but its time to get back on the road looking for other hidden gems.