A Dayak Desa Wedding Ceremony Using Traditional Textiles


The bride and groom with their attendents

Dayak Desa call a wedding pejadi.  When the man arrives at the woman’s home to take his new bride to his family home (ngamik laki) the woman receives him wearing  the traditional ikat skirt with shells and bells called tating (sold at Threads of Life). She wears a traditional headdress (pantung) and a beaded collar to cover the breasts called tatai.


Continue reading »

Life Transition Ceremonies
A Dayak Desa Ceremony Using Traditional Textiles



Offerings are hung covered with traditional bidang textiles

Traditional textiles called bidang have many uses in traditional ceremonies even to this day. For example, they are used to cover offering baskets that are hung in the long house where offerings are made to the spirit that guides and protects a family member when they are traveling and living far away.

Continue reading »

Gawai – A Dayak Desa Harvest Ceremony Using Traditional Textiles


Thalu Lius

Thalu Lius is from the ethnic group Dayak Desa in West Kalimantan. Lius has been working as field staff in Kalimantan for Threads of Life  since 2010. Lius is working with Dayak traditional natural dye weavers and basket makers. He comes to Bali twice a year to meet with the Threads of Life team and this year we had the opportunity to learn about the use of tradtional textiles in Dayak ceremonies.
Continue reading »

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.
Continue reading »

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.

Continue reading »

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!”
Continue reading »

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?
Continue reading »

Twelve Years in Timor Part 3 – Reflections
Is there another Generation of Weavers?


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.
Continue reading »