When I arrived there that morning, all of these textiles they are wearing where hang-out for sale, they assumed that I was a textile collector looking for some antique or vintage ikat textiles. After a long chat, finding out the origin of these textiles, I realized that these textiles are family heirlooms, and these women no longer produce these amazing motifs and no longer able to produce naturally dyed textiles in the village. They are now busy producing synthetically dyed textiles for the cheap markets, with very little knowledge how the handle the chemical waste.
The constraints which preventing them to continue producing these old motifs and naturally dyed textiles are not really that complex. After years of encountering the same issues from region to region in Indonesia, the reasons are very similar and we are confident that high-quality ceremonial textiles can be produced with the right support.
Finding out more about their lives, living condition in the village and their financial situations, I fully understand their desperation for money. I feel that getting involved with providing a better solution, creating a balance between cultural preservation and economic development is crucial. I know this is not easy, but possible.
On this visit, we made suggestions and try to encourage them to do a small collaborative project with us (everyone can get involved). Each woman in this photo (wearing sarong from their mothers or great grandmothers), has agreed to attend our invitation for a small “cultural preservation” trial project. We will be implementing a small pilot project here, donating good quality yarns and natural dye materials and training support, so that each of them can copy the sarong they are wearing. The finished product will be purchased from them with good fair and standard price.