Faces of Our Artisans and Weavers
Get to know some of our extremely skilled and talented creators
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The Boti people have a 9 day week and each day has a special focus, icnluding days like: 🔥 Neon Api: focus and gratitude for fire. 💦 Neon Oe: focus and gratitude for water 🛠️ Nion Besi: focus and gratitude for metal 🌒 Neon Usi Pah Uis Neno: for offerings to ancestors 🧑🏾🤝🧑🏿 Neon Suli: to meet with community to settle problems together and find solutions
Good quality cotton threads were supplied to Threads of Life weaver groups which allowed weavers to work during this two year period of isolation due to the pandemic. Thank you to so many who helped us raise funds to buy the cotton threads we were able to keep weavers creating during these two years.
Threads of Life buys textiles from the women of Boti to give them income so they have cash for when needed. Molo, the sister to the clan elder, asks that we continue to buy from the Boti community so that the people do not accept handouts from the government and begin to abandon their culture. We will do our best to support the Boti community and know you will too!
Joanna Ato Bikomi, Indigo Dyer: When Joanna was a young girl in the 1960’s she rode by horseback with her mother to the home of a master indigo dyer. The ride took two days and they carried a pig as an offering and two large bamboo containers. Joanna was of the lineage of the master weaver and so was able to receive the knowledge and right of making the indigo through transmission.
Pounding roots to extract dye. The weavers and dyers we work with don't work full time as weavers and dyers. They steal moments of time between their duties and agricultural work to create the pieces you see on our feed and in our store over the course of years. We are amazed anew every time we remember this collaboration between humans, nature and time.
Most weaving and dyeing takes place during the dry season, long after indigo plants have died. To store indigo, the dye-maker aerates the yellow-green solution thoroughly, until a blue sludge of oxidised dye settles at the bottom of the vat. This concentrate can be stored as paste, or dried into cakes. Months later, the dyer can make a new dye vat by mixing the paste or powder with water to increase its volume.
We are lucky to work with many weavers across Indonesia. We make ourselves students of their culture. We don't make them have to understand the global market. We study each community's textiles and we learn what is a great textile by the values of their tradition. We then reflect this understanding back in our quality control work rather than imposing a foreign aesthetic.
Thank you to so many of you who contributed to the Cotton Threads Project that we posted in our March Newsletter. Through donations of USD 1,300 we have been able to distribute USD 1,000 worth of cotton threads as follows: -Timor 32 packets supporting 80 weavers, -Sabu 4 packets supporting 10 weavers, -Lembata 2 packets supporting 7 weavers, -Sumba 6 packets supporting 12 weavers, -Sulawesi 36 packets supporting 60 weavers, - Bali 3 packets supporting 10 weavers
Outside a few small cities, life still revolves around the ancestral villages, clusters of large, square houses that crown Sumba’s hilltops, ringed by crumbling fortifications and hedges of cactus. A traditional Sumbanese house squats on broad wooden pillars, with a towering wedge-shaped peak soaring from the centre of the roof and a shaded veranda facing a central square. The houses can be large enough to house several dozen members of an extended family.