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PostPosted: Mon Jul 05, 2010 6:36 am 
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When I was in the Silindung Valley (south of Lake Toba in the Batak area of North Sumatra) this past month, I gave a copy of my book, Legacy in cloth, Batak textiles of Indonesia, to a stall proprietor whom I had depicted in my book (p. 80). She responded by giving me a textile that she said was unusual and rare. In this forum, we have discussed the new rage in supplementary weft in Batak textiles, so different from the sober warp-oriented textiles of the traditional past, so I thought I would add this textile to the discussion. It depicts the rose motif that was brought as a cross-stitch pattern by colonial Dutch and/or German wives. In the 20s and 30s, Batak weavers executed it using beaded weft. I was delighted to see that the pattern has made its way into gold supplementary weft.


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Sandra Niessen

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 05, 2010 6:38 am 
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Now that I have managed to successfully post the detail, I will try to post the large image without crashing.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 12, 2010 10:00 am 
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That's very attractive Sandra, though I find the alternating colors of the warp stripes more appealing than the rose motif!

How long do you think that supplementary weft has been present in Indonesia? I remember reading in Kim Jane Saunder's book on ikat in Indonesia that this method is spreading in Flores, but it was not clear how long it has been around or what is driving this change.

Chris

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 12, 2010 10:13 am 
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Chris

I am going to be very cheeky and say that you need Sandra Niessen's amazing book Legacy in cloth: Batak textiles of Indonesia - the result of 30 years of field work and research in 568 pages! http://www.bataktextiles.com/projects/Legacy.html Sandra covers technique in some considerable depth; in particular see 'Part IV Technique' in 'Technique 7 Decorative Weft' p499. However, patterning comes up all the way through. In the Catalogue section there is Catalogue 7 'Weft Patterning' p366.

Sorry, I am a terrible cheer leader for Legacy - but unashamedly so!

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 Post subject: rose motif in sup weft
PostPosted: Mon Jul 12, 2010 5:33 pm 
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Hi Chris and Pamela,

I'm with you, Chris. I find those stripes terribly exciting -- and they probably represent the earliest decorations on Batak textiles. I am always delighted to see similar stripes in Acehnese and Minangkabau textiles and just wait for some wonderful, obsessive fanatic to write the definitive work on stripes in the Archipelago. But you will notice that the stripes in this cloth are not real stripes, but long ikat dashes in red and yellow alternated with the pink ground warp.

Pamela is right that I treat the issue of supplementary weft quite extensively in my book, Legacy in cloth. In addition to the references she gives, I would add the design chapters 2 and 3 in which I discuss the evolution and development of Batak textile design. The Batak have had supplementary weft patterning for a very long time -- but the nature of the supplementary weft patterning is changing rapidly as a result of fashion impulses from the Moslem world.

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 24, 2010 6:43 pm 
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Hi Chris and Sandra, I agree that warp stripes were probably the first type of decoration used to embellish plain textiles. They remain a common design element in most textile traditions even when decoration evolves to more complex and varied levels and techniques.

The first ikat patterns were probably simple dots and dashes dyed on warp threads. Dots and dashes can also be produced using a warp, float weave. These two design elements, stripes and dots and dashes (a kind of broken stripe) are often used together in intricate combinations. In many cases these stripes and ikat or (warp float woven) dots and dashes are only one, two or three threads wide and repeat in complicated combinations that border larger and more complex ikat dyed or woven motifs.

From a distance of two or three meters all of this delicate intricacy can no longer be seen as it blends together into one homogenized stripe. Warping the loom with these intricate combinations of thin colored stripes and threads with ikat dots and dashes is extremely labor intensive and requires a high level of concentration in order to repeat their correct order across the textile.

This is a lot of concentrated effort to produce something that can only be seen from close up. The fact that weavers persist in using these labor intensive, decorative elements, which can hardly be seen from even a short distance, attests to their ancient and traditional place in textile decoration.

Dots and stripes are beautiful!

Best regards, MAC


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 25, 2010 7:09 am 
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Dear Mac,

What a lovely post -- not just your pictures, but also your words. I agree with you totally. What you describe is one of the reasons why I am interested in stripes.

By the way, you mention dots and dashes in ikat and warp. When I started to think about this design strategy, I found it also in the weft -- in twining patterns and in supplementary weft and was reminded once again of the Batak aesthetic: beauty is found in coherence. When a pattern or design strategy is found in all of the components of a cloth, then it is especially coherent and aesthetically satisfying.

And then we should think about batik, plangi, tritik: dots, dashes...

All the best to you.

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