Textile Forum Magazine - Issue 1, 2011
Hand-painted slk in "Kalamkari" technique by Bina Rao from India
12 TextileForum 1/2011
THE 6th WEFT FORUM IN SARAWAK, MALAYSIA The creative conscience of Malaysia, architect Edric Ong (see TF 2/07, p. 21), organised his 6th WEFT Forum on Borneo, in Kuching, the capital of Sarawak. WEFT, meaning World Eco-Fiber and Textile Forum, is a biennial event for the international promotion of natural dyes and dyeing processes. The programme focused on five main events: 1) the three-day forum; 2) the international exhibition, preceded by a weaving competition in “pua kumbu” warp ikat weaving; 3) a bazaar of eco fibres and textiles; 4) an international fashion show with subsequent gala dinner; and 5) excursions.
A particular highlight of the event was the gala dinner combined with a fashion show involving 22 designers from Malaysia, Pakistan, Thailand, Australia, Japan, Indonesia, India, Taiwan, Sri Lanka and the Philippines. Incidentally, we are indebted to Australian Hugh Oliveiro for drawing our magazine editors’ attention to WEFT, an unusually attractive event!
The venue of the meeting, the Sarawak Tourism Complex located in a historic courthouse, accommodated some 250 participants from 25 countries, including weavers and other craftspeople, scientists, collectors, gallery managers, officials and representatives of non-government organisations. Among the latter were Dominique Cardon from France, who will be known to Textile Forum readers, and Professor Kim Ji-Hee, director of the Daegu Museum of Natural Dye Art, South Korea.
As the Malaysian Craft Council had met at the same venue two days earlier, WCC President Usha Krishna and WCC-APR President Surapee Rojanavongse were kind enough to attend the WEFT Forum as well.
The over 20 English-language presentations, mostly on subjects related to natural dyeing using fabrics, drew on the experiences of experts from 14 countries, primarily South, South East and East Asia*).
In a further show choreographed by Vicki Fong, 24 Malaysian models took to the impressive stage and catwalk showcasing creative styles ranging from natural indigo casualwear through handwoven bamboo fibres, rattan wearable art, hand-painted batiks and kalamkari, block-printed batiks, and hand-stamped ferns and leaves to luxurious, formal evening wear in embroidered silks, kimono silks and gold thread woven brocades. More than 20 delegates went on the four-day post-forum tour to the Rumah Garie longhouse in the Kapit district of Sarawak. Led by Edric Ong, the tour was organised specially to witness the Iban women weavers’ traditional ceremony of mordanting cotton threads, known as “Ngar”. It has been described by scholars as ‘the warpath of the women’ as it was as important to Iban women in ancient days as headhunting was to Iban men.
Delegates had hands-on experience of pounding the gingers and nuts using wooden mortars; they soaked their hands in the potent mordant troughs of ironwood, joining in Iban prayers and songs... and in the evenings, showing off their skills in dance!
Aside from the mordanting ceremony, an experimental processing of the local marsdenia tinctoria indigo leaves into indigo paste was also successfully conducted by Taiwanese experts Ma Fen Mei and Yuma Taru. Dr. Domique Cardon, the renowned natural dye expert, remarked that this was a historic moment as this is the first time she has heard of such a process with marsdenia tinctoria!
The next WEFT Forum is scheduled in Sept. 2012. Interested parties wishing to participate are advised to keep up-todate by consulting the website. Society Atelier Sarawak, Rumah Masry, Jalan Taman Budaya, MAL-93000 Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia; tel: +60-82/420042; fax: /420043; email@example.com, http://www.societyatelier.com
Edric Ong (centre) with Datuk
Leela (left) and Datuk Talib on a Libanese booth
Hugh Oliveiro/AUS: "Tropic Rain Master", wearable art in the frame of the international fashion show
Notes This text is based on quotes from a report kindly supplied by Edric Ong. The illustrations are his, too, except for the contribution on the fashion show by Hugh Oliveiro from Australia. *) Presentations given at the 2011 WEFT Forum: ● Natural dyes in the Philippines: Julius L. Leano Jr. (Philippines) ● Jamdhani textiles of Bangladesh: Chandra Shekhar Shaha (Bangladesh) ● Discovering Alpine natural dyes: Anne Rickenbach (Switzerland) ● Tarum, Nila or Tom – Story of indigo in Javanese batik: Asmoro Damais (Indonesia) ● Taiwanese indigo – history and revival: Ma Fen Mei (Taiwan) ● Reviving ‘akar penawar landak’ – yellow dye in Iban textiles: Edric Ong (Malaysia) ● Nature pallets of Borneo: Dr. Hjh. Nazlina Shaari (Malaysia) ● Textiles in archaeological finds of Sarawak: Ipoi Datan (Malaysia) ● Korean heritage of natural colours in textiles: Prof. Kim Ji Hee (Korea) ● Lac dye of Lao Khrang textiles, Thailand – natural science and belief: Dr. Sittichai Smanchat (Thailand) ● Rare textiles of Orang Baduy, Indonesia: Filomena Reiss (Australia) ● Textile heritage of Sulawesi: Dr. Achmad Sopandi (Indonesia)
● Kalamkari textiles of India: Bina Rao (India) ● Reviving Indian traditional embroidery techniques: Asif Shaikh (India) ● Natural wood stains and lacquer of Sri Lanka: Dhevan de Saram (Sri Lanka) ● Marketing of natural dyes in Europe: Dr. Dominique Cardon (France) ● Marketing of natural fiber crafts and textiles: Gita Ram (India) ● Eco-smart textiles and fibers: Joseph Lo (Singapore) ● Ajrak: A return to natural dyes – The traditional cloth of Sindh: Noorjehan Bilgrami (Pakistan) ● Tepina: Innovation in a traditional Filipino textile: Rambie Lim (Philippines) ● Innovative contemporary Songket by Royal Trengganu Songket: Dr June Ngo (Malaysia) ● Plangi cloth: Azhar Samin (Malaysia) The closing remarks were given by a discussion panel comprising Dr. Dominique Cardon, Raja Datin Fuziah and Edric Ong.
Traditional inspired clothing by Bina Rao at the international fashion show of choreographer
Preparing ingredients from the "Ngar"-ceremony