PEKKA Workshop: The Women Headed Household Empowerment Program visits Threads of Life

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Sukartini , Asih and Pauziah from the PEKKA groups on the island of Lombok

Over three days in March 2009, Threads of Life and the YPBB Foundation hosted a group from PEKKA, the Women Headed Household Empowerment Program (http://www.pekka.or.id), to explore the potential for improving the marketing of the traditional textiles produced by their members’. PEKKA operates in eight Indonesian provinces, reaching more than three hundred poor villages, and has established hundreds of grassroots women’s organizations that collectively own several micro financial institutions.

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Field Notes Sulawesi

Slide 1     How exciting to have a box of textiles arrive at Threads of Life office from the weavers of Karataun, central Sulawesi this week! Karataun is the most remote area Threads of Life works in. I have to fly from Bali to Makassar, then take a ten hour bus drive, then another day ride in a battered jeep crossing rivers using motorized dugout canoes, and just going until the roads run out. At this point Daud (our Torajan field staff) and I switch to motorbikes for another day, and then walk the final distance. Its about three days in total to get there.

 

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The Embroidered Story Cloths of Negara, Bali

Bali-Feb2009bInitially, I did not find the embroideries of Negara very appealing. To my taste, the threads were coarse, uneven and garish. I was comparing these textiles to the more elegant bebali textiles from other parts of Bali such as the supplementary weft (songket) or the weft ikat (endek)cloths, not to mention the superb double ikat geringsingfrom Tenganan in east Bali.

 

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The Power of Nusa Penida and its Textiles

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Looking across Nusa Penida to Mount Lempuyang in north Bali

When looking at a map of Bali, my brother Darta always describes Bali’s shape as being like a chicken and that Nusa Penida is the egg. When I was young I feared the dark powers that came from Nusa Penida. I was told that Ratu Gede Mecaling – the deity of the temple at Ped on the island – would come and eat us! It was a place full of black magic. But my first impression of Nusa Penida when I first went there in 2002 was that it was not a dark place but a very strong spiritual place.

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A Stitch in Time

SavuDec2008_1I have always wondered about the interesting stitching at the head and foot of each Savu sarong textile. This last trip I asked Ina Hale in Namata, who is a member of the Hawu Miha weaver group. She told me that this stitching is calledbunga wurumada. Bunga means decoration or flower andwarumada refers to the head and foot of the textile. It indicates that the weaver has taken responsibility for completing the textile, both technically and ritually. After the textile is taken off the loom, the warp threads are cut and then the two ends are sewn together to create a tube sarong worn by a woman. Before sewing the textile, the weaver must sacrifice a chicken. Continue reading »

Timor Weavers

TimorNov2008_1Theresia Alle Ngaing is a weaver in her 60s from the Helong ethnic group of Kupang, Timor. In 2006, when Willy first met her, she was often sick. She could do no red dyeing as there were no local Morinda trees. Willy had her ikat-patterned threads dyed in Amarasi. She and her daughter then wove with these threads. As I sat with Theresia admiring the newly finished pieces, she told me her health and enthusiasm had returned. She feels useful again and is eager to revive Helong`s textile tradition.

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