Tradisi Textiles is a hidden gem located in Nyuh Kuning, the village on the south side of the Monkey Forest. In fact Nyuh Kuning village itself is a treasure waiting to be discovered.
Tradisi is a gallery and workshop specialising in textiles from all over Indonesia. They travel to remote villages and buy, where possible, directly from the women making them. All their textiles are made by hand and nothing is produced with a machine. They then sew them into homewares and their array of cushions is as diverse as the islands of Indonesia. Tradisi runs numerous social projects and 15% of all profits are spent on programs that support women in textile villages.
Indonesia is known for its batik, Java being the centre for production. Sadly, a lot of the batik we see in shops around Bali is produced on a machine. Some of the designs are beautiful but they are mass produced and missing the soul of handmade batik cloth. Batik designs are made using wax as part a resist dye technique. Tulis is the premium style of batik where the entire design is applied by hand using a tool called a canting (pronounced chanting). It is a pen-like instrument made from a small copper reservoir with a spout on a wooden handle. The reservoir holds the hot wax which flows through the spout. Batik Cap (pronounced chap) is where hot wax is applied to the cloth using a copper stamp. Once the wax design is applied the cloth is dipped in dye or the colour is painted on. After the cloth is dry the wax is removed by boiling the cloth. The areas treated with wax keep their original colour. The waxing and dyeing process is repeated many times depending how many colours are desired. It can take days or even weeks for more complex designs and colours. The results are spectacular and rival any designs printed with a machine.
The islands east of Bali are better known for their woven textiles and the variety is astounding. Bali, Lombok, Flores, Sumba and Timor all have own style of ikat. Ikat means to bind or to tie. The warp thread is strung onto a backstrap loom and the desired pattern is sketched onto the thread. The thread is then wrapped with string, straw or plastic so certain areas of the thread can resist the dye. The thread is then soaked in one or numerous dye baths depending on the desired pattern. It is then returned to the warp of the loom and the weaving process begins. As the weft is woven through the warp the pattern emerges in the cloth. Once piece of cloth can take 1-12 months to complete.
Songket Weave, also known as supplementary weave and floating weave is done on a backstrap loom that sits on the ground. The threads attach to a wooden panel that straps around the weavers back creating the tension required by the warp thread. The pattern is made by interweaving the warp and weft threads on the loom. Setting up the loom with the warp thread takes time and skill as one wrong thread will cause a fault throughout the entire piece. This type of loom produces cloth limited in width to the stretch of the weaver’s arms. Pieces are usually sewn together for wider, more useful cloth. One piece of cloth takes weeks to complete. The supplementary pattern often looks like embroidery. This style of weaving is found in certain regions scattered throughout the islands.
These are just three examples of the array of textiles created around Indonesia. Many more can be found in Tradisi Textiles and the girls who work there are always willing to share their knowledge and help you explore the rich array of wares in the store.
It is an easy place to find on the main street of Nyuh Kuning between the football field and the Monkey Forest. Search ‘Tradisi Cushions and Fabric’ to find the Google Maps link. They are open Monday – Saturday 10-5 (closed Sundays).
Nyuh Kuning is a gorgeous village with lots of great places for lunch. There are numerous local warong, Indian, Italian and a yummy western style café right next to the football field in the centre of the village.
Tradisi Textiles and Nyuh Kuning make for a lovely afternoon out.