Yesterday, I went to a fascinating presentation by the foundation “Threads of Life” they are a fair trade business that works with culture and conservation to alleviate poverty in rural Indonesia. They have worked tirelessly for the past ten years to support local weavers in Timor, Sulawesi, Flores, as well as parts of Bali. The heirloom-quality textiles and baskets they commission are made with local materials and natural dyes to an exquisite standard usually seen only in museums.
They work directly with over 1,000 women on 11 islands across Indonesia, helping weavers to form independent cooperatives, to recover the skills of their ancestors, to manage their resources in a sustainable way, and to express their culture identity while building their financial security.
They have a shop in Ubud where they sell these amazing works of art, and its well worth making a visit there if you are interested in supporting their work, or go to their website http://threadsoflife.com/
While you are in Bali you could also make a trip to the traditional village Tenganan,outside of Candidasa, and see first hand the work being done there. This village embodies the old values of weaving, and they create the double ikat style, which is extremely complex.
All textiles that the Threads of Life sell are one of a kind pieces, that can take up to two years to create. This is due to the fact that they use natural dyes from the plants and they have to wait for harvest time in order to obtain the materials.
Textiles have played such an important role in trading in Indonesia for hundreds of years, and it is such an integral part of the culture and traditions here. It would be a shame if this skill and beautiful cloths were to disappear due to lack of support. Threads of Life are providing that support, but they need us to help too.