Boti is the island of Timor where magnificent Floating weave or Songket is still be woven. The art of natural dye is fast being lost in this region. We found a group of women still proud of the natural dyes they were making and their colours are beautiful.
Floating weave or Songket
This style of weaving is called songket or floating weave, it is done on a backstrap loom that sits on the ground. Setting up the loom with the warp thread takes time and skill as one wrong thread will cause a fault throughout the entire piece.
Natural Dyeing Process
Beautiful soft tones as well as strong and vibrant colours are produced using only natural dyes. The process to produce strong colours that last is often a long one. It takes generations of local knowledge which is being lost with the popularity of chemical dyes.
The blue is made from indigo which is grown and harvested locally. It is first soaked in water mixed with lime powder. The lime reacts with the leaf and turns the water blue. It is them fermented for weeks to ensure the colour is strong and will remain in the cloth.
Red, yellow, brown, green and black are produced with various roots and leaves, sometimes mixed together for varying colour tones.