Since long I have been fascinated with Ikat weaving especially originating from the Moluccan islands. The dark blue/black, red, ochre, orange, and brown colours. Indigenous yarns as lontar and cottons, hand spun, dyed with indigenous plant materials. The patterns, symbols, cultural meaning and use in rituals is magical to me.
In the nineties Marianne van Vuuren did extensive research on ikat weaving at the Islands of Tanimbar in the Moluccans. She 2001 she published ‘Ikat from Tanimbar’ in which she documented and descripted the making and cultural meaning of making Ikat by women at the Tanimbar Islands. Yesterday I payed her a visit, she lives near Alkmaar in a small village. She explained the backstrap loom which the women use when weaving, the patterns they put into their work and the struggle they now face. In a world increasingly oriented at the use of money to make a living these women are producing for an external market. To provide their children to go to school in Kota Ambon they need to sell their ikat fabric. World economic and political circumstances are of influence nowadays.
Here in the Netherlands Ikat weaving by people with a Moluccan background has almost disappeared. The use of the back strap loom in which you sit on the floor feels very inconvenient for our chair using bodies. The time-consuming method of Ikat weaving in which we bind, dye, and dress the loom feels like lost time for us.
I would like to turn this feeling around. To re-invent the making of Ikat here in The Netherlands could be a way of reconnecting with each other and with our indigenous craftsmanship which otherwise is slipping through our hands. How exciting would it be to take a trip into the weaving of Ikat and to reconnect with each other and with the women on the Moluccan islands through the making of this meaningful fabric.
I would like to invite you to be inspired and join on this journey with us. In the upcoming period we will be working on the making of Ikat and co-create with people from the Moluccans and the Netherlands. So, stay tuned