West Timor has an enormous variety of handmade textiles with styles varying between each region.
Songket/Sotis 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 about 3-4 weeks to complete. The supplementary pattern often looks like embroidery.
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