Return to Sight, Lembata Island

As told to by Threads of Life field staff, Yansen Tuan

Wonderful that there are now facilities to remove cataracts in Lembata so people like Kristina can see again

What a miracle that someone living in such a remote place as Lembata Island, who was blind from cataracts for three years, can be treated and returned to sight! Kristina is a master weaver and dyer and among the first twelve weavers Threads of Life worked with in 1998. When William visited her two years ago, she was being led around her house by her daughter, and only recognizing William by his voice. He encouraged her to have the cataracts operated, but she said she was too afraid.. “But you don’t see now. What do you have to lose?” he encouraged, “And you will see again if you have the operation. You are still young. You could still weave!” Continue reading »

Savu Island

Willy-Daos-Kadati-with-Threads-of-Life-team-in-Savu

Willy Daos Kadati with Threads of Life team in Savu

We are delighted to have Willy Daos Kadati join us again in our work with Threads of Life natural dye traditional weaving groups. Willy worked with us for 6 years and then was at Charles Darwin University in Australia working on a masters degree for 3 years. He came back to Timor as he was “called” to take his place as the traditional leader of his clan in his village of Lansese in Insana. Willy’s deep knowledge of traditions and culture within the eastern islands is invaluable.
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The Passing of Two Amazing Weavers in Timor

Sau Sae (1978 - 2016)

Sau Sae (1978 – 2016)

Our first trip to the field this year was to Timor. We visited a dozen communities on the trip, but at both the first and last we found that women we had long worked with had died. In the very remote community of Boti, we were sad to hear that Sau Sae died in childbirth in January 2015. The child survived. All of Sau’s sisters and brothers were staying with the new baby up in the rooms where we usually sleep when visiting. “I have lost my sister,” said Liu in tears. “We call her little boy Sau so we never forget her.” We were all sad to hear of Sau’s passing as we had known her for more than fifteen years.
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The Run-Away Rangrang
Bali, Indonesia

Exquisite kimono are now being made by a handful of weavers in Japan.

Exquisite kimono are now being made by a handful of weavers in Japan

What does the future look like for the traditional weaving art form in Indonesia? Will it go the way of the obi and kimono in Japan where a few weavers remain in the cultural city of Kyoto where once there were thousands, and only the elite can afford their exquisite textiles as traditional dress for tea ceremonies? In this article I will follow the paths chosen by two Balinese weaving communities; one that has chosen the Kyoto model, and the other a fashion-based strategy.

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Wild Fibers Magazine, Fall 2015

Wild Fibers Magazine has been most often called “The National Geographic of Fibers” and its Fall 2015 issue has an article entitled ‘Magic Cloth of Bali’ that features Threads of Life and the Bebali Foundation.

In Bali, the colors are caffeinated. To find out more about this island’s revitalising hues, I contact Threads of Life, an organization working to sustain and revive Indonesia’s spectacular weaving arts.” MagicClothofBali-1

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Karutuan Toraja and Mamasa Toraja News

Threads of Life fieldstaff; Yansen Tuan and Made Pung made their annual trip to Sulawesi

For Threads of Life field staff, Yansen Tuan and Made Pung, breakdowns of public transport are frequent during the annual trip to Sulawesi

“I thought Timor’s roads were bad,” reported Yansen, Threads of Life’s Timorese field staff, of his June 2015 field trip to Toraja. “But nothing compares to the roads in this part of Sulawesi! I wanted to count the number of rivers we had to forge and so I picked up a pebble for every river we crossed from Mamaju to Batu Isi. When we arrived back to Mamaju I had 21 pebbles in my pocket!”
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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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