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Twelve Years in Timor

We have made our first field trips of the year in the last month, including a two-week adventure through Timor. The images above show the 13 Bokong weavers (back in 2005 we only had three of them) and the wonderful Yolanda with her tying frame in 2005 (left) and her again today with her daughter (far right).


Jean writes about her experience in a new Field Notes and the Textile of the Month is from one of the weavers she visited. 


There is also news of a new place to see and buy Threads of Life textiles in the US at Raina's Textile House in Berkeley, California.

Field Notes
Twelve Years in Timor

Kupang facing the Savu Sea

Kupang facing the Savu Sea

In our Field Notes this month, Jean writes the first of three blog posts about a recent swing through all the producer groups we work with in Timor, and reflects on twelve years of change Threads of Life has seen on the island. 

While the provincial capital of Kupang continues to grow, many of the villages we visit are still without adequate roads. Jean notes how the growth of the weavers' groups we work with has led to the revival of textile traditions. In one area, the local pastor recently paid the Threads of Life weavers to teach natural dyeing to weavers in his village, and now these women can work with us too.

Textile of the Month
Mau Naek man's hip cloth
Mau Naek man's hip cloth

Mau Naek man's hip cloth, 2015

Amanatun Selatan, Timor Tengah Selatan, Timor

Commercial cotton, natural dyes, warp ikat

Three panels stitched together with open fringe

100 x 212 cm

Ikat tied, dyed and woven by Antoneta Sae


This man's hip cloth is called a Mau Naek and has a central panal containing an ikat motif dyed with a combination of mud and tannins to achieve a deep black.


The ikat motif is called Atoni, which means ancestor. The ancestor may be represented by a human figure, a crocodile or a frog, all of which are considered challenging motifs to make. The difficulty is spiritual rather than technical, as the ancestral symbols are associated with the powers of fertility and land management. In fact, only Antoneta's lineage can make the motif on this cloth. Her father is one of three Tobe in her community. Together the Tobe are responsible for making sure all planting and harvest ceremonies are performed correctly, particularly those associated with the ancestral clan houses.


Their direct duty is to the royal household in Besikama, which carries overall ritual responsibility for the entire area of the Betun plane up to the mountains.

Best wishes,

W illiam, Jean, Pung, Choy and everyone 
at Threads of Life and the Bebali Foundation
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2524 San Pablo Avenue
(at Dwight) 
Berkeley, CA 94702
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We share lots and lots of stories and images from our field work. Follow along, you can find us under  @threadsoflifebali.
Umajati Retreat


Winner of TripAdvisor's Certificate of Excellence 2015


urrounded by tranquil rice fields, Umajati is a lush garden property hosting two elegantly converted 100-year-old Javanese teak wooden homes that provide 21st century living in 19th century houses. Umajati is just 10 minutes north of Ubud and offers daily, weekly or monthly rentals. 

  • 1-bedroom house: 
    USD 190* p/night 
  • 2-bedroom house: 
    USD 245* p/night 

*10% discount for direct bookings 

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