Central to Threads of Life’s and the Bebali Foundation’s work with over 1000 weavers on 12 islands across Indonesia has been 15 years of field research studying, documenting, testing, and teaching the archipelago’s natural dye traditions. We are now bringing this experience to an international audience by teaching one- and two-week small-group workshops on fiber arts with natural dyes at our natural dye studio and botanical garden in Ubud, Bali.

Led by international teachers and Threads of Life’s senior research dyers and staff botanist, and hosted by Threads of Life founders Jean Howe and William Ingram, these workshops employ surface design techniques including batik, ikat and shibori. Agus Ismoyo and Nia Fliam come from Jogjakarta in Java to teach both the Tribawana creative process that is Ismoyo’s cultural heritage and guide the application of that process to Ismoyo and Fliam’s chosen art form of batik. Aboubakar Fofana brings his Malian heritage to several extended workshops exploring the refinement of the dyers art with a particular focus on indigo and mud dyeing. Our in-house workshops led by Komang Sujata, Wayan Sukadana and Made Maduarta explore the dyers art through our Nature’s Colours and Original Colours workshops, develop batik skills through the Batik Week workshop series, and introduce backstop loom weaving and weft ikat with our Weavers Week workshops.

Depending on the workshop, participants’ projects may be dyed using traditional Indonesian recipes for indigo (Indigofera tinctoria, Strobilanthes cusia), browns (Ceriops tagal), red (Morinda citrifolia), black (mud dye), yellow (Artocarpus heterophyllus), and other colors. Our approach to natural dyeing is based on the traditions we study and seeks plant-sourced dyes by plant-sourced processes and avoids synthetic additives or mordants. We dye with fresh plants from our garden of dried plant materials from communities we work with, and ensure responsible harvesting by maintaining a clear chain-of-custody for each dye.

09 – 15 July 2017
Nature’s Colour

Nature-Colour-WorkshopA 7-day workshop on Indonesia’s natural dye traditions
09 – 15 July 2017

(10 – 14 July non-residential)
Explore the making, meaning and application of Indonesia’s traditional natural dyes through batik, yarn and swatch dyeing, and pressure-resist patterning

Space limited to 8 participants



03 – 10 Sept 2017
Creative Cultures

Creative-CulturesA 7-day workshop discovering Bali’s creative traditions
03 – 10 September 2017
(04–09 Sep non-residential)
Discover the roots of Balinese culture through hands-on workshops that delve into the resilience of Bali’s unique arts, crafts, and ritual practices

Space limited to 8 participants


17 – 23 Sept 2017
Tribawana Batik

tribawanaA 7-day workshop of batik’s inner journey and outer practice
17 – 23 September 2017
(18 – 22 Sep non-residential)
Awaken your creativity through Java’s ancient Three Worlds Creative Process with tradition keepers and batik artists Agus Ismoyo and Nia Fliam

Space limited to 10 participants



21 – 25 October 2017
Original Colours

Original-ColoursA 5-day workshop on Indonesia’s natural dye traditions
21 – 25 October 2017
(22–24 Oct non-residential)
Explore the making, meaning and application of Indonesia’s traditional textile arts through natural dyes, swatch dyeing, and a personal batik project

Space limited to 8 participants


26 Nov – 2 Dec 2017
Weaving Week

Weaving-WeekA 7-day workshop on ikat, natural dyes
and backstrap looms
26 Nov – 2 December 2017
27 Nov–1 Dec non-residential
Make a small, weft ikat patterned textile, coloured with indigo blue, tannin brown and morinda red natural dyes, using a modified backstrap loom

Space limited to 6 participants

10 – 16 December 2017
Batik Week

Batik-WeekA 7-day residency on natural dyes
for batik artists
10 – 16 December 2017
(11–15 Dec non-residential)
Discover how traditional natural dyes interact and change through the batik process on different fibres while developing a natural dye batik project

Space limited to 8 participants