Visiting Ridaka: Natural Handicraft Center in Pekalongan

The yellow-painted old house and its wooden frame exude warmth. Old benches are neatly arranged on the veranda. Wood shutters and vintage doors lent a familiar feeling of nostalgia. In Ridaka’s spacious and humble housing complex, you can sift through shelves upon shelves of Pekalongan’s handicrafts and take some home as gifts or souvenirs.

Ridaka is a cottage industry that pioneered the use of Non-Machine Weaving Looms in Pekalongan. The company was established in 1940, and has developed a variety of products for domestic and foreign markets since then. Apart from window-shopping, you can also visit Ridaka’s workshop at the back of the house: the magical corner where Ridaka’s employees are weaving colorful threads into strands of cloth.

From the hands of these skilled craftspeople, a variety of Ridaka’s products were born. Started with household appliances such as carpets, mats, pillow covers, tissue boxes, dining mats, and towels, they are now expanding their collection to knick-knacks such as wallets, hats, bags, clothes, even shoes, and sandals. The story behind their manufacturing is no less compelling. Besides using cotton and yarn, Ridaka’s products are also made from natural ingredients like water hyacinth, banana midribs, pineapple fiber, mendong (Fimbristylis umbellaris), fragrant roots, Sansevieria plant, and many more. In fact, lately, Ridaka also launched their handicrafts line made of newspaper waste.

This unique selling point dramatically appeals to buyers from foreign countries, which comprises around 60-70% Ridaka’s market. These customers respected Ridaka’s value in designing local products that are environmentally friendly, using natural and recycled materials. Ridaka’s products have been shipped to various parts of the world such as Europe, America, the Middle East, and Japan. The most desirable products include kimono, towels, carpets, slippers, and interior products to enhance your home.

Oh, and since all Ridaka’s products are handmade, no single product is precisely the same. This makes their products stand out as one-of-a-kind.
Abdul Kadir Muhammad is an essential figure behind this home industry. By carrying out the principle of sharing, Abdul Kadir (who is full of initiative and creativity) has never been stingy in sharing his knowledge with the community surrounding the area. If we are familiar with the term ‘local empowerment’ today, this is what Abdul Kadir has done since 50 years ago.

This sharing activity also led Abdul Kadir to receive the Upakarti Award from the President of the Republic of Indonesia in 1985. This award was given for his dedication to developing small industries and handicrafts of Pekalongan. As a result, Ridaka has tenacious, diligent, and of course highly dedicated craftsmen.

What does Ridaka mean? Apparently, Ridaka is the abbreviation of Abdul Kadir’s name (which is usually abbreviated as A. Kadir), read in reverse. The peculiarity of Abdul Kadir’s way of thinking shines through this name.
Currently, Ridaka is one of a small number of developing industries that still maintain the touch of human hands on their products. The imperfection of handmade products is what makes the product perfect! Although the processing time is significantly longer, handmade products are always deemed to be more meaningful to their buyers.

If you are interested in shopping for handmade products made of natural ingredients at a friendly price, try visiting Jalan Haji Agus Salim in Pekalongan. The warmth of Ridaka’s old house will welcome you like a close relative.

Don’t forget to visit the workshop that is located behind the display room. There you can find many skilled hands who have decades of experience in presenting love through Ridaka’s beautiful products!