Monday, November 21, 2016

A Day of Arts and Crafts

Having been a fiber artist for years, I was looking forward to visiting some of the villages where native crafts are done. I was disappointed that we did not have time to go over to Bali as I wanted to find some batik fabrics. However, Dennis arranged a private tour for us to go to several villages with a driver and a guide. They knew what we wanted to see and took us everywhere in an all day adventure.

We had visited the pottery village of Banyumulek and its retail store with the WARC on our tour. Some of the people made pottery with the village ladies while the rest of us watched. It was fun watching the children watch us! As for the children, they are sweet and love to have their photos taken. Unfortunately, my blonde hair scares some of them. The adults say they think I am a ghost!

On the way to the pottery village, we rode in horse carts. Obviously, we are much taller than the locals so it was hard to sit up without hitting our heads. While a little uncomfortable, it was a fun experience. Unfortunately, the big pots I liked would not fit on the boat! We like to leave a little money with the locals so we bought a couple of small items.

The World ARC does a nice job of showing us the culture and people of the various countries through the tours and events they plan for us. It makes it easy to just get off the boat and into a bus. No planning, no hassles! I like it!

We continued to walk through the village and meet people. Of course, they were all trying to sell us little handmade souvenirs, but I have tried not to come home with a bunch of stuff! At the far end of the village, the bus was waiting to take us to the Pottery Cooperative store where they sell everything under the sun made of their red clay.

Cute kids in the weaving village.
On our own, we spent a day with a driver and our guide Alik. We went first to Mataram to find the capacitor for the feed water pump. Success!

The next stop was the ikat weaving village. This is what I wanted to see. We were told that in this village if a village woman does not know how to weave, she cannot marry! So the girls learn to weave from the age of ten.

Winding a warp
I was disappointed that I did not see them using the warp dyed technic, but the pieces I bought are of that type. Since the retail shop is a cooperative, there is a great variety of colors, patterns, sizes and style from which to choose. The are done by different artists so each piece is a little unique.

First we walked through the village and visited the homes where the weavers were working on back strap looms. One pair of ladies were winding a warp for a new project. They use very fine yarns. I never had the patience for that. Better to buy than fight the process. Besides, I donated by whole weaving studio to Wayne State University's Fiber Department when we sold our house.

I can't imagine sitting on the ground in this position everyday. I can't even sit like that, at all!
It amazed me that so much of this fiber art is still woven on back strap looms. Of course, there is a lot of machine woven fabrics that look like they were handwoven on the market. They are the less expensive ones. I doubt that these women are paid much for their finished pieces. They send them to the cooperative store to be sold. No one attempted to sell directly to us. Of course, we were with a guide during the village tour.

Apparently, the men do the warp dyed ikat
weaving, but none were working when
we were touring the village.

From there we went to a traditional village where 27 families continue to live as they have for centuries. Although they have electricity and mobile phones now, their housing and lifestyle is the traditional type. It is somewhat like the Amish communities in the USA.

These are hollowed out pumpkins (or as we would call them,
gourds) that were used to carry rice or water.
Our guide's sister married into this village and lives there. They still store their rice in a rice house like the one pictured here. It is on stilts to keep it dry and allow air to flow underneath. It also keeps animals out of it.

All natural materials are used to build the houses.
They somehow enter through the little door at the top to fill it and retrieve rice. I don't know how they get to the rice at the bottom unless there is another door underneath. It wasn't that far off the ground.

The houses are built up on clay slabs to keep the water out. The walls and roofs are all natural materials and have to be replaced from time to time.

An old way to catch rain water with a
modern touch!

The family barn

I found it interesting that they do not put their cattle out to graze in the fields. Instead, they cut the food and bring it to the cattle.

The community center

A typical cook stove
And, of course, a gift shop on the way out of the village!

Our guide, Alik, didn’t know what batik was. He thought it was ikat. Since a friend of ours had been at the batik gallery the previous day, I knew we were near it. Finally, he found a source that directed us to the right place. It was fascinating to watch the young girls working with the hot wax to create patterns. We bought an interesting art piece. Now I need a wall on which to hang it!

In batik, you apply hot wax to block out areas from the dye. After the first dip into the dye, the fabric is dried. Then you block out additional design areas and tip it into the next dye bath. This process is continued as many times as necessary to get the patterns. If you see white on a piece of batik, the wax was kept in place until all dying was completed. It is a long process that requires patience!

On the way back to the boat, we stopped at several of their beautiful beaches and we saw a wedding procession along the road in one little village. The bride and groom each walk under an umbrella, but at opposite ends of the procession. Interesting!

Crab tracks in the sand

The bride doesn't look too happy!
All in all, it was a very busy day filled with many adventures. We were exhausted and definitely thought the tour company had done a fabulous job of showing us the island and what we wanted to see. Plus we got to buy the part we needed!

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