Women Hand-Loom Weavers in the Village of Sembalun Lawang, East Lombok have recently revived their weaving skills with the help of the NZAID Rinjani Trek Ecotourism Programmed. The women decided they would like to return to this ancient craft after many years of earning a livelihood by other means. They now work together in co-operative groups sharing skills and resources.
In the past weaving was an essential qualification for womanhood, and your girls begin to learn the basic skills at an early age. All woman were expected to provide they family with fabrics of clothing and ceremonial use. Now, with the widespread availability of factory- made fabrics, hand-loom textiles are used mostly for religious ceremonies and special occasions such as weddings.
Using the traditional back-strap looms and techniques tough to them by their grandmothers, these highly skilled women have begun producing a range of contemporary designs under the guidance of Mataram designer Epoel Dg Hasanung.
Although the weavers no longer spin and dye local cotton to make their yarns, the weaving process is nevertheless very labour intensive. The fine yarns must be washed, threaded onto the loom and wound onto bobbins before weaving can start a process which can take several days. Onces the looms are set up it takes about a week to complete a length of this stunning cloth. It may be sold as is, or sewn into place mats, bags, cushion covers and belts. All the work is done in the village by local women.
The rich colours are achieved by careful selection and blending of basic yarn colour available from the textile mills of Java. These women are masters of colour and simple, modern motifs they now use show this skill off great advantage.