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Textile Odyssey Tour to Indonesia 2018

Main Tour: Timor, Sumba, Flores and Alor - Sept. 13 - Oct. 4

Optional Extension: Bali - Oct. 4 - Oct. 8

Due to the resounding success of Textile Odyssey's 2016 and 2017 tours to the tantalizing Indonesian islands of Timor, Sumba, Flores, Sulawesi and Bali, we are returning to these wonderful, little explored areas. An archipelago of over 18,000 islands with one of the most abundant biological diversity in the world, Indonesia is a culturally diverse nation of over 300 ethnicities and 700 living languages. It is also one of the richest countries in terms of textile traditions. Utilizing their own special combinations of materials, designs, motifs, ornamentation, and textile techniques – such as weft ikat, warp ikat, double ikat, supplementary weft and warp weaves, batik, tritik (stitch-resist), bark cloth and natural dyes - many of these cultures express their tribal beliefs and world-views in their unique textiles. 

Animistic motifs reflect an ongoing connection to nature and the spirit world. Textiles are an intrinsic and sacred part of daily life in these villages, and many cloths hold special meaning as magical, powerful objects used in ceremonies and rituals; payments of bride-wealth; or as protective medicinal garments imbued with healing powers. In keeping with Textile Odyssey's commitment to bridging cultures, learning directly from the source and honoring the diverse traditions of native artisans, our unique itinerary includes visits to remote villages where we learn about textile techniques and other cultural traditions directly from the artisans in their local settings. Additional delightful experiences include the heartfelt traditional music and dance performances with which we'll be greeted. 


Flying to the remote islands of Sumba, Timor,  Flores and Alor, we’ll travel overland to small out-of-the-way weaving villages. Here we’ll view firsthand demonstrations of traditional textile techniques such as natural dye and complex weaving processes. Our overnight stays in nearby towns enable us to see traditional ways of life that otherwise would be missed.  

Some special textile techniques and highlights of our visit to these islands include:

Sumba – warp ikats in bold animal and human figures, supplementary warp weave, tapestry weave, beadwork

Timor – warp ikat, supplementary weft weave including buna (a unique technique of discontinuous supplementary weft in which each weft yarn is wrapped around a group of warp threads) and sotis (supplementary warp patterning), tapestry weave, beadwork, basketry, the use of handspun cotton and natural dyes such as morinda, indigo, loba, peanut leaf, mat, and turmeric; dance and musical performances

Flores – natural dyeing, weft ikats with delicate, complex patterning, kwatek kinge (a ceremonial cloth incorporating seashells and ikat), music and dance performance







Alor - bark-cloth making, award-winning village with over one hundred natural dye combinations

Optional Extension to Bali 

Our optional tour extension takes us to the vibrant and enchanting island of Bali, a visual and sensual treat of beautiful lush, brilliant green rice terraces, stone Gods and Hindu temples decorated with colorful banners and delicate handcrafted offerings made of flowers, rice, and leaves; graceful women balancing offerings on their heads; and lively festivals of gamelan music and dancers in ornate costumes.

Other highlights in Bali include weaving and market areas where we see demonstrations of songket weaving (supplementary weft weave patterns woven with golden metallic threads) and weft ikats. Along with the textile arts in Bali are a variety of other highly developed art forms such as gamelan music and dance, fine silver and gold jewelry, basketry, wood sculptures, stone sculptures, and paintings.


We’ll visit the village of Tenganan, home to the Bali Aga. These indigenous people are among the very few cultures in the world to produce double ikat, an intricate dyeing and weaving  process requiring exceptional skill. Here we have the opportunity to witness demonstrations of the weaving of geringsing, the Bali Aga’s sacred double ikat cloth.

© 2018  by Serena Lee,

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