Binding Life Fibers: Research and Documentation of Ikat Weaving as an Effort to Restore the Pattern of Old Balinese Clothing

The pattern of production and consumption is closely related to food and clothing which are two of the three basic human needs. The pattern of production and consumption of food and clothing is very dependent on environmental conditions, as well as the social and cultural conditions of the community. Fulfilment food and clothing needs and not relying on outsiders is one indicator of village independence.

Related to the pattern of production and consumption of clothing, especially in the form of woven cloth, it develops in old villages, such as Tenganan Pegringsingan, Sidemen and Tanglad villages. Traditional weaving that was developed in three old villages is a type of ikat which functions as a bebali cloth, the cloth used for ritual / ceremonial needs. The basic ingredients and coloring use various types of local plants, such as juwet (local cherry) and noni.

Ikat itself is not just a product and not just a piece of cloth. Weaving is a very long process of work carried out with spiritual taste and behavior. Myths and taboos created related to weaving are intended as a way of preserving the process and work that is produced. Weaving, through its ties creates a tradition of preservation through rituals that are carried out, but also produces works of art of economic value. Ikat is a way to preserve biodiversity, and teach the values and philosophies of life through various motives from generation to generation.

But at this time the people of the three villages no longer produce woven cloth from their own resources, but instead buy from outside, and some even switch to using synthetic yarns and dyes. Cotton and dye plants which also function as part of the guardian of the ecosystem are no longer planted, so the numbers are decreasing, even disappearing. One of the number of weavers is decreasing because one of them does not have a traditional system to maintain and use weaving. Fabric printing motifs manufacturer’s woven at an economical price is the choice for the community, compared to the original ikat weaving. The public at large has not positioned and appreciated women weavers and their work properly.

The Wisnu Foundation in collaboration with the Samdhana Institute conducts the preparation of basic data, aimed at providing understanding to the wider community, through:

  • Documenting the value, philosophy, and meaning of weaving in Tenganan Village, Sidemen Village, Karangasem Regency and Tanglad Village on Nusa Penida Island, Klungkung Regency. Research and documentation of tie weaving (gringsing, endek, cepuk): aimed at gathering all information related to the three types of weaving, especially those related to values, philosophies, and their meanings, as well as the main function of each type of weaving.
  • Documentation of ikat weaving: translating the values, philosophies, and meanings of the three types of ikat through main functions and rituals in audiovisual language.
  • Publication of the meaning and value of ikat, introduction of ikat through the gallery: working with AMAN outlets to introduce ikat in the true meaning and function, not just products that are traded.

Project duration: January 2019 – June 2019

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