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Farida Ridwan

Artisan Organization: Farida Ridwan

Country: Bali & Java

"I'm Farida Ridwan and I was born in East Java in 1950. My parents and two older siblings lived through tough times during World War II when the Dutch still occupied Indonesia.

"I've always been interested in pursuing trading since it is a family tradition that began with my great grandmother. My father sold cows, tobacco and worked in public transportation while my mother mostly sold batik clothing. My parents experienced a lot of ups and downs through their business endeavors.

"When I was 18, I began helping my mom create batik prints and sell them in the villages. I also enjoyed crafting my own bags from a young age, and began making my own designs.

"My mother would tell me, 'We have our own hands. Don't rely on other people's hands, even though we sometimes need to hold each other to succeed. We women have to stand on our own. We have to take responsibility of our own lives. We can't depend only on our husbands.'

"I got married in 1972 while my husband was still completing his university studies. Our life together started very humbly. Our daughter was born in 1974 while we were living in my husband's parents house, and our child motivated us to work harder to give her a better future.

"My husband was employed by a petroleum company and was transferred to different cities for over a decade before we were reunited again. In the meantime, I started a workshop at home.

"After my husband retired in 2005, I began focusing on crafting batik handbags. In my opinion, when there is a will, there will always be a way. I've learned to enjoy every step, whether it's upward or down, since this makes us stronger in life.

"Today, my daughter and I create bags and clothing. Our batik motifs are hand-painted and hand stamped. I've also participated in exhibits in Jakarta to promote my work.""