Magelang Craftsman Turns Eggshells, Wood Waste into Treasure

Heriyanto (center), founder and owner Pinilih Crafts, poses with journalists in Magelang, Central Java. | Photo: Pinilih Crafts.

ONE man's trash is another man's treasure. Heriyanto, woodturner from Magelang, Central Java, has proved it true.

Over the past four years, he has been taking his time combining eggshells and wood waste into profitable handicrafts to sell.

Heriyanto (only one name, as many Indonesians have) spends hours every day creating pieces of art at his home, in Perum Depkes A7/12, some four kilometers in the north of downtown Magelang.

The self-taught craftsman creates particularly wooden cutlery and tableware, beside other products like tissue and jewelry boxes, vases and ballpoint pens casings.

Mr Heriyanto selected "Pinilih Crafts" brand name to his products. In Javanese language, the word "pinilih" means chosen. 

He sells each item for only Rp 10,000 to its highest price Rp 200,000.

In the early years, he took on every step of the production process, from selecting wood to packaging, and hand-delivering finished products.

Now he employs two workers to ease his work burden and to fulfill the increasing demand.

Almost any kind of wood, he says, is usable. However, he so far only works with mahogany, pine and teak wood.

When he is satisfied with a piece, then he sands it and waxes it, or finishes it with shellac, melamine or varnish.

The finish depends on the use. A bowl, for example, must have a non-toxid, food safe coating, so do other cutlery or tableware products.

He attaches eggshells on the outer part of the woodturning pieces as decorations.

"Eggshells, if they are processed correctly, aren't as fragile as people commonly think", Mr Heriyanto utters.

Eggshells create rugged protective coats that are incredibly durable.

For spoon and fork, eggshells are put on the handles.

Before applying the eggshell onto a finished, certain product, he previously crushed them down to smaller manageable size, and spread the glue and stick.

"Working with the fragile shells requires sharp focus", he adds.

He, however, loves this work because it encourages him to be more creative, observant, careful and even, relaxed.

Wooden bowl, spoon and fork with eggshells as coatings and decorations made by craftsman Heriyanto, collected by a three star hotel in Magelang, Central Java. | Photo: Pinilih Crafts.

SO FAR, he has already been successful selling handicrafts, not only in local markets but also to buyers from Indonesia's neighboring countries.

Facebook and Instagram help him much, as people spends hours per day on social media. 

"Also, I have been looking for ways to enter new and larger markets", Heriyanto says.

He opens a gallery in Yogyakarta International Airport in Kulonprogo regency.

Thanks to local government administrator through its Industry and Trade Agency, Heriyanto had the opportunities to engage in art and craft exhibitions.

Through the events, he had chances to sell his handmade works, directly to the public in a face to face enviroment.

The fairs also perfect venues which enabled him to improve knowledge and experience in the industry. 

Handicraft-related programs sponsored by government or private agencies have helped artisan producers like him to enhance the quality of the products.

Magelang municipal government, again, plans Heriyanto to take part in an upcoming crafts expo, that will be held on October 2021 in Jakarta.

"It is to be hoped that Pinilih Crafts will gain new market and new audiences, and the value of the products are appreciated more broadly", Magelang municipality's Head of Industry and Trade Agency, Catur Budi Fajar Sumarmo, says.[sahrudin]