Revitalization of a Kalimantan Art Form

A healthy forest in West Kalimantan ten years ago

A healthy forest in West Kalimantan ten years ago

It has been more than ten years since Threads of Life began to work in West Kalimantan with Dayak Desa weavers to help revive their art and their motivation to make traditional natural dyed textiles and other cultural art forms. Over this time the devastation of the forests has been beyond anything I could have imagined. The dire statistics are easy to find but what I need to find is how I feel about it. How do I deal with this tragedy that affects the whole world? What do the Dayak people do, whose identity is built on the life they made from these forests?
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Twelve Years in Timor Part 3 – Reflections
Is there another Generation of Weavers?

Teaching-a-younger-woman-to-weave-by-her-aunt

An aunt teaching her niece to weave

Part of the mission statement for Threads of Life has been to improve the livelihood of women, and this has been accomplished beyond our expectations. The downside (if one dares to call it a downside) is that the financial success of the mother has decreased the weaving pool. Where does she put her extra earned resources? Into her children’s education, of course! Including that of her daughters. Many of Threads of Life weavers have paid for their daughters to go high school and even University. So, what is the likelihood that such a well-educated young woman will come back to her village and weave? Small, indeed.
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Twelve Years in Timor Part 2 – April, 2015
The Mysterious Textile that Opened More Doors Than Expected

The mystery cloth that opened more doors than expected

The mystery cloth that opened more doors than expected

About two months ago a good friend, Lyn Shwaiko, came to the Threads of Life office with a number of old textiles that she wanted to be identified. One textile jumped out for me. Though I didn’t know exactly where it was from, I had a sense I knew: handspun with a bold black centerfield and indigo blue motifs on the side panels made me think immediately of the island of West Timor. We asked if we could keep the textile and bring it with us when we next went to Timor. Our friend readily agreed to lend us this beautiful piece as she knows our work is to revive textile traditions when the opportunity presents itself, and this was opportunity was knocking at the door!
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