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Textile Production

Handwoven textile production in Alor Regency resembles weaving in other parts of Indonesia. Women are the primary producers of cloth in the regency. The loom is a back-strap or body tension loom, or it consists of a strap that wraps around the weaver's lower back while she sits on the ground in front of the loom. She bends forwards and backward at her waist to release the tension on the warp, and the tension creates spaces to insert the weft thread in and out of the warp. Weaving on a back-strap loom creates a warp-faced weave, or more warp threads are visible on the ground fabric. 

Cotton has been the primary material used in the hand-weaving of Alor. Women previously grew cotton to spin into thread, or they bartered for cotton from other women from other parts of the regency or neighboring islands such as Lembata. Ceramic pots made in Ampera, Northwest Alor, were traded in Lembata and Flores Islands for cotton. Alurung weavers on Ternate Island also spin fiber from milkweed pods with cotton to create a shiny yarn mimicking silk. This process is difficult to do and seldom occurs presently.

 

Different kinds of yarns and synthetic dyes are readily available in the market, and these materials have replaced handspun cotton and natural dyes in many areas. Some women persevere and produce handspun cotton dyed with natural materials, both plant and marine life. Learn more in Stories.

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