My last post showed five small balls of hand spun cotton thread dyed in plant material in a central northern West Timorese village.
Here it is again for comparison.
Earlier in our trip to Timor we had visited Baun village in the Kingdom of Amarasi. This is the region around the capital, Kupang. The Kaina’e Co-operative uses little indigo. It is surrounded by a lot of forest so has lots of morinda citrifolia (a tree) from which to produce red – brown dye. They get the best morinda colour because of the number of times they pre-process their fibre in candlenut paste and then the number of times they dip their skeins in the morinda dye baths.
We saw the commercially spun hand dyed threads hanging up in skeins in a distant part of the village display area. Probably they were not envisaging selling them, but we coveted them (!) and were able to negotiate a price of IDR 100,000 ( abt A$10) per skein. We did not see the blue thread dyed but presume it is indigo. The rusty pink is from cotton which has not been dipped in morinda citrifolia as often as has the dark red fibre. The pieces I bought from this and another village in Amarasi were both of this light rusty pink. To get the dark red colour pictured above, the weavers use a regime comprising of dipping the dry skein every two days for a month (fourteen times). Each skein has also been previously massaged through a candlenut paste mix many times to prepare it to take up the dye.
The green shade is achieved with a mix of indigo and mango bark. Thus it’s a darker, more muted green than the lime one made in the north from pandanus leaves. As you can see from the photo, the quantity of thread in each skein varied (I made two balls from the dark red skein). The above are all weft threads.
This is a co-operative that weaves ikat so their warps will be much longer and bound and dyed before being used. None was therefore available for sale. We couldn’t have used it well in any case.