I met Dr Sandra Niessen on Facebook a few years ago, and I have followed her stories about her love for Ulos Batak ever since. Sandra has written and published several comprehensive books on Ulos Batak, must-have books for Ulos textile lovers around the world. Sandra spent many years in Tanah Batak and studies the Batak cloth since 1979, as part of her Antropoligal research and has gained rich and extensive knowledge of this textile. She has done numerous exhibitions, talks, seminars and campaigns to sustain the cultural significance of ulos textiles, a journey and work, not even any Batak persons have ever done on that scale. We are truly grateful for her commitment and devotion to our Ulos and I am sure, her work will leave an amazing legacy within the textile world, particularly in the lives of the Batak people.
During the Fiber Face 3 exhibition in Yogjakarta in February this year, I happened to be in Yogjakarta with a few friends and was very lucky to have heard about Sandra’s Ulos exhibition and talks at the Fiber Centre. Great to have the opportunity to attend Sandra’s talk, and to meet her “Rangsa ni Tonun” stars from Porsea, North Sumatra, a lady weaver and her husband, which bonded instantly with me as we share the same tribal surname (Sitorus – or in Tanah Batak we call ourselves Boru Torus).
Thank you, Sandra, for all your hard work in preserving our beliefs in the beauty of ulos Batak and its amazing cultural significance in the past, and present which must be carried into the future. Keep up the great spirit.