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Friday
Sep122008

Threads of Life

Last September, Tony Cunningham and I gave a workshop to a group of weavers in Flores Barat, Indonesia on sustainable  harvesting of the plant dyes used in their textiles.  The weavers were worried that supplies of certain dye and mordant plants were running out.  They were right.  As a result of the workshop, we were able to develop a better system for producing "mengkudu" (Morinda citrifolia), an important red dye, and we located a dense population of "loba" (Symplocos spp.) in the forests of Tenda Bhera that could be managed to produce a virtually inexhaustable supply of leaves.  The leaves contain a high concentration of aluminium which acts to fix the red color.  The workshop was organized - flawlessly - by the Yayasan Pecinta Budaya Bebali (YPBB) and Threads of LIfe  (thx, Jean and William).

[NOTES: The weavers are wearing their textiles as sarongs. The t-shirts show the whole plant collection, dyeing, and weaving cycle, and say "Nature Protected, Culture Conserved, Humanity Secure". The weaver in the lower image is holding a Symplocos leaf.]

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