Wastra Indonesia London

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Dayak Textiles of West Borneo

Our Dayak ikat textiles come from Sintang, West Borneo (The Indonesian Borneo). Our connection with the weavers in this region started in the early 2014 during our glasses distribution here with Connect Indonesia, The Charity. The type of textiles produced by the Dayaks are warp ikat textiles with traditional symbolic Dayak motifs incorporated into the cloth. Each motif holds a specific meaning depicting stories of their everyday lives.

The Dayaks have been weaving warp ikat textiles for centuries, continuing the tradition from their ancestors, passed down from generation to generation, usually from mothers to daughters. The motifs are created using tie-resist dye (ikat method). The word “ikat” means “to bind = to tie” in Indonesian, a term that has now been adopted worldwide, to describe resist dye techniques. 

Originally, like in most weaving regions of Indonesia, textiles were produced for traditional ceremonial purposes. Those days ikat textiles were coloured only using pure natural dyes collected from the forest sustainably. Today, the purpose of Indonesian textiles is changing rapidly. The demand for Indonesian traditional textiles globally has increased immensely, prompted the weavers to find ways to speed up and increase productions. Although most of the production techniques remain traditional as they inherited from their ancestors, some of their textiles are now dyed using synthetic dyes. In rare cases, we do have a few of these synthetically dyed textiles in our shop, they normally come in a bright red.

Although one of our primary missions is to help the weavers to market their products globally and to help improve their economic development, we do work hard to encourage them to produce sustainable textiles that are environmentally friendly. We do this by continuously having a discussion with the weavers’ groups around the archipelago, to find ways to produce environmentally sustainable textiles.

We are grateful for your support, to help Dayak weavers to continue producing high-quality sustainable ikat textiles. Thank you for taking the time to read our update.

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