Mark A. Johnson Tribal Art
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TRAVELOGUE 4
Making Ikat Textiles on Flores Island

Sikka woman of Flores Island prepares raw cotton by squeezing out seeds in a hand press.

Women fluff cotton prior to spinning.

The cotton is spun into threads.

The spun cotton threads are wound onto a frame to prepare for mounting on the loom.

The finished white warp threads have been stretched onto a frame. The pattern is formed by wrapping dye resist strips of palm leaf onto areas that prevents saturation of color.

Bundles of threads are prepared for the dye pots

The bundles of threads are soaked in dye pots. This is done several times over many days to achieve the proper color tone and quality. Blues come from the Indigo plant and reds from the roots of the Kombu tree. The resists must be adjusted to expose the sections for each color used.

When the dying process is complete the bundles are carefully re-strung on a frame, making sure they are in their proper order and position.

The weaving loom is set up to receive the finished bundles of dyed warp threads.

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The warp threads are positioned on the loom to begin the weaving process.

Now the weft threads can be woven into the warps on a traditional backstrap loom.

The finished panels of woven cloth are then sewn together to make a beautiful sarong in the style of the Sikka District of Flores Island.

 

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