Do it yourself textile cleaning
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Author:  Julie Emery [ Tue Jun 18, 2013 2:41 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Do it yourself textile cleaning

Thanks Pamela, glad the info is of use.
The textile above is from the kampong of Nifu-Sone in the Insana district of TTU in West Timor, I have admired the talent that goes into creating this style of buna warp wrap and have been saving my pennies to bring a couple home and offer them for sale. Here is a couple more pics...using the posting technique you suggested Pamela.
Kind regards

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04-14-08 Nenek sends her love. Better book ahead.JPG
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Author:  MAC [ Wed Jun 19, 2013 12:21 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Do it yourself textile cleaning

I have washed many of my Indonesian textiles, especially those from Timor as they always seem to be dusty and dirty. I tried soap on a ragged test piece bought for the purpose and found it faded the menkudu red so I have never used soap again. The secret is in using a large volume of clean water! Most of the dust and dirt of use is soluble and will soak out if left in water for a number of hours to overnight. The bathtub, a backyard kiddy pool, the horse tank, a clean river or lake, anywhere with enough clean water to absorb the dirt and any color that may come out. I find older pieces with natural dyes lose almost no color but chemical dyes should be tested for fastness. Many of the older chemical dyes traded to remote areas, by the nature of their market, had to be cheap and were often of low quality and not very fast.

I place my textiles in a deep, Japanese bathtub, swish them gently, like a bullfighter's cape in slow motion, until they are thoroughly wet. Then let them soak for a few hours. A swish or two every hour will confirm results and stir the water. When clean, I hang them over a wooden pole and let them drip dry in the shade. A really dirty, hand spun, cotton textile can turn the water brown in 30 min. to an hour. Change the water if needed. They have probably been washed in the river a time or two by the original owner. I wouldn't wash really old, ceremonial textiles but then they usually don't need it anyway.

Take your textiles to the beach for a swim. The salt does help fix the dye but as Julie said be sure to rinse out all the salt--we're back in the bathtub. My comments pertain to cotton textiles only. I have never tried and wouldn't wash an old silk textile or metallic thread brocade. I have no experience washing abaca or wool textiles. Be sure they are quite dry before packing them away again.

Good luck

Author:  Julie Emery [ Wed Jun 19, 2013 1:11 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Do it yourself textile cleaning

Beautifully said Mac, all points covered.
The cheap dye is wantex...wicked wantex I call it in the field,,,,the girls know I will not touch it and will always give/pay more for natural dyes....the tricky thing was, say 20 years ago when I first began, that the girls were bored with the natural dyes and loved the new bright factory coloured thread and dyes hence for about 10 years masses of them were woven,,,fortunately both the men and women found that the colours were not fast and faded beyond their natural colour counterparts and the thread itself in some cases did not wear nearly as well and in the case of rayon,,,if one thread pulled and broke the rest of the weaving was soon to follow.
Getting in there and talking about the integrity of cultural textiles and buying (as you know Mac) was the key to keep much of the spinning and dying going.
There are some local boys in TTU that do the circuits of the local weekly markets and purchase from the women or their men folk. They pay very fair prices and are a regular source of income to the households in their area. They in turn sell to travellers and traders that find them and make regular trips to the bigger dealers in Kupang those dealers in turn feed the Bali , Surabaya traders.
TTS does not have this regular buyer in place system and many changes have echoed throughout the 23 years I have traded there as a result of this. I once put a proposal to Womens' micro finance groups to fund a set up in TTS that would provide some consistency for the weavers by having a purchase point in town...sadly to no avail....I did not know how to speak the language of development back then...I could just see the need.
I have begun University at the tender age of 53 to learn about AID development and have found Sustainability which has been part of my language also for the last 35 years. I hope to combine the two and see what I can generate in that eastern end of Indo.
I put the photo of Nenek above and she delights in telling me how much "itam" HITAM/BLACK comes out of the dirtier cloths. Only recently, as she is aging, is she allowing to massage those strong scrawny shoulders after she has taken to a batch of textiles with much the same method as you describe Mac.

File comment: This textile is from TTS/SoE area..not sure exactly where, I now have 4 from that weaver and her style is very distinctive. It is like a crossroads piece, the solid backgrounds are usually red, however I wear a burgundy one and it is around my neck as I type (winter here) and her buna style is recognisable from a distance. I hope to meet her one day and tell her.
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Author:  Julie Emery [ Wed Jun 19, 2013 1:13 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Do it yourself textile cleaning

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that her colours are fast. Some of those chemical dyes are in they dont run...but the red, pink and light blue are notorious for ruining a good cloth.
And you are right Mac the natural dyes bleed but to not run.

File comment: A Biboke to admire.
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Author:  MAC [ Wed Jun 19, 2013 2:54 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Do it yourself textile cleaning

Julie, I am interested in the brown color of the last Biboki selendang you posted. Is it natural or Wantex kesumba? Do you know what is used to dye a natural, rich, chocolate brown in Timor? It doesn't look like Morinda. I recently got a mid 19th C. textile from Besikama that has deep, rich, chocolate brown end panels as well as Morinda red stripes in the center field. I don't know what they used to dye this rich, chocolate brown. Any ideas?

Best regards

Author:  Julie Emery [ Fri Jun 21, 2013 9:46 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Do it yourself textile cleaning

Hi MAC, The Morinda or Bakulu bark is responsible for the reds, burgundys and browns...sometimes the girls use Lime powder to fix the indigo and morinda and I suspect that that has an effect on the colour outcome as well as the charcoal and number of dips and dyes.
Blessings Julie

File comment: From Supun, Biboke Selatan, this commercial thread, combination dye bete naik made its way over the mountain to the regular weekly market , into my hands and all the way back to Auz...
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