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Ikat Weavers of Tenganan, Bali, Indonesia

                  Ikat Weavers of Tenganan Village - Bali, Indonesia 

In October 2014, I returned from another fascinating tour in Bali and Yogyakarta, Indonesia, where my group of eight women explored the intricacies of making Batik, and watching Ikat weaving, plus all the other wonders of Bali and Yogyakarta, Indonesia - wood carving, silver making, Balinese dance and dramas, temples, statues, offerings and of course the warm hearted people.

In the ancient Bali Aga (pre-Hindu) village of Tenganan you will find women sitting with back-strap looms weaving both the traditional Ikat weaving called 'Endek',
and the world famous unique Double-Ikat weaving called 'Geringsing' cloth.   Both these
 special types of Ikat are woven by our featured weavers, who happen to be mother and daughter.

I would like to introduce Ni Wayan Sudiati a Master Ikat weaver and her mother who has passed the tradition on to her daughter. 


The traditional Ikat cloth is a weft Ikat. Ikat means "to tie".  The threads are produced by tying off small sections of the threads before they are dyed.  Small pieces of plastic or natural materials are used to wrapped the threads. Then they are submerged into the dye bath, the wrappings keep the dye out.  When the threads are dry the wrappings are removed.  As the loom is readied, the warp threads are a solid color and the weft threads are the dyed threads.  Like magic, as the piece is woven the pattern emerges.  

The traditional way of weaving Ikat is on a back-strap

loom.  This method is still used in Tenganan and other weaving villages.  However, Ikat Endek can also be woven on large wooden shuttle looms. This method is used in many weaving factories or in private homes where they produce Ikat. Most Endek Ikat is made from cotton, however, some fine pieces are produced with silk.

The Double-Ikat, called Geringsing cloth, is a masterpiece of Balinese craftsmanship. It is made in a secret process handed down from mother to daughter over the years.  It may take up to eight years to complete one piece.  A Double-Ikat means that both the warp and weft threads are tied and dyed separately before being woven.  As the piece is woven the dyed threads come together to make the pattern on both sides of the cloth.
Only two other places in the world produce Double Ikat - India and Japan.

The weaving of double Ikat requires special skill.  It is very difficult, and it's imperative that proper tension is maintained in the threads while they are on the loom, as they must be properly aliened so the pattern emerges correctly.

The colors of these beautiful pieces are muted and produced by dyeing with natural dyes of indigo and morinda. These combine to give a lovely reddish-brown color. The patterns are usually geometric designs and sometimes floral designs.  These designs have special significance and have also been handed down through the generations.

The Geringsing cloths are considered very sacred.  The word Geringsing means 'without sickness".  The cloths are also considered to have protective powers and protect against both earthly and supernatural enemies.  Because of this they are used widely at religious ceremonies, such as cremations, tooth filings, and weddings. 

Several of the women of Tenganan have been instrumental in reviving the interest and understanding of the Double-Ikat Geringsing cloth.

Ni Wayan works daily on the looms  making Ikat weavings.  She produces the Double-Ikat Geringsing as well as the Endek  Ikats.  I first met Ni when visiting Tenganan in 2007 and have visited several times since.  



Her mother is 92 years old and now weaves more of the Endek Ikat.  She feels that she can produce more weavings that way and wants to get as many traditional Ikat weavings out into the world as she can. 
 She wants to share the beauty of these unique traditional Ikat weavings.

I was so excited on this trip to purchase a piece of Endek Ikat from her Grandmother and a Double-Ikat Geringsing by Ni.  Both these beautiful pieces will hang proudly in my home. 



                                                                                  Double Ikat Weaving

I often wear Ikat scarves made by Ni Wayan,  one in black and one in white, gifts from my friend and Bali guide Dana. 


                                                                                       Ikat Woven Scarf

                   Single Ikat Weaving

In the village you will see the simple facade  of the homes, some with signs indicating they have items for sales.  This is Ni Wayan and her mother's home. 


.Inside there is usually a raise platform around the edge of the room.  This is used to display goods during the day and often is used to sleep on at night.

. You will find many beautiful weavings hanging.  Some are recently completed, however, you can also find some that are much older and very beautiful. 





Thank you to our friendly family of weavers.                                                                Return to Bali Tour Page    or
                                                                                                                                      Return to List of Articles

This ancient village is most interesting.  To read more about the village please click on this link.  Coming in August .


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