One stop “Edu-tourism” in Rumah Sutera

The process of collecting and cleaning the cocoons. (photo: IO/Yoga Agusta)
Picking leaves in the mulberry plantation. (photo: IO/Yoga Agusta)

IO – Established in 2003, Rumah Sutera is located in Bogor, West Java. At first, it was used as a place to pass the time by an elderly man who was entering his pension years, where he first planted mulberry trees. He chose the mulberry as the garden was quite large, reaching 2 hectares. What first started on a whim is something has been cared for through generations.

After long being a plantation, Ru­mah Sutera has transformed into a silkworm hatchery, raising caterpil­lars until their cocoon stage. In the beginning, Rumah Sutera only par­ticipated in the early stages of silk production, selling the cocoons to farmers and factories that processed their thread. However, after the fac­tories closed and the farmers and tenun fabric craftspeople became un­employed, the elderly man took the initiative to give them work at Rumah Sutera. Starting then, Rumah Sutera managed the whole process of fab­ric-making.

The process of choosing the right cocoons. (photo: IO/Yoga Agusta)

Rumah Sutera did not end up just being a place that processes thread and silk fabric but also developed into a place for Edu-tourism, which now can be visited by students from pre­school to high school. The Edu-tour­ism was developed after realizing the process of the caterpillar becoming a cocoon was familiar to every student who learned the process of metamor­phosis in Biology class. The students are shown the mulberries and the process of hatching the eggs until the creation of the fabric.

The coccons are turned into silk threads. (photo: IO/Yoga Agusta)

As for its Edu-tourism, Rumah Sutera sets its prices based on tour­ism packages. There are various packages starting just a tour of the plantation to seeing the entire pro­cess of making silk, to the packages including snacks and lunch. Rumah Sutera also accepts whole-day tours with a minimum of 20 people. This is done so visitors can enjoy tours ex­clusively.

Besides Edu-tourism, Rumah Sutera also holds birthdays, marriage ceremonies, and gatherings such as the Women’s International Club and women visiting from the Czech Re­public or Thailand. Even the First Lady of Thailand came to learn about pest management in Rumah Sutera. There is also housing for those who wish to stay the night.

Silk fabric which has been designed with batik. (photo: IO/Yoga Agusta)

Tenun fabric made by Rumah Sutera is sold to batik craftspeople all over Indonesia. In a day, Rumah Sutera can make three meters of tenun fabric (if the thread does not break) using traditional equipment. In order to create one tenun fabric 4000 strands of thread are needed, with various motifs. There are some fabrics that are specially ordered and are not sold in mass. To determine the pattern and length of the tenun fabric, the ‘mehane’ process is used, where threads are pulled in accor­dance with the desired length and thickness of the fabric. (alen)