A moment with the legendary weaver Alfonsa Horeng at the Indonesian Fashion Week 2014

By Nelly Andon
For Project “Seeing is Believing”

Many of us would love to own an Indonesian tradition Ikat textile, a traditional woven cloth which often takes months or even years to produce. As tradition textile lovers, we often fully aware the complex and time-consuming process in producing these textiles, and yet we still take for granted the work of the artisan/weavers and expect to buy their textiles at very low prices.  Weavers of these traditional ikat textiles normally women, and today, usually senior women who weave during their spare time, outside their main activities in the farms and within their homes, as mums and homemakers managing their families.

During my visit to Indonesia this year, it coincided with fantastic craft event called “Indonesia Fashion Week” where many artisans and fashion designers had the opportunity to display their works, their skills and talents.  The exhibition takes place annually at the JCC exhibition centre in central Jakarta. Indonesia Fashion Week is a great place to see the development of crafts in Indonesia, particularly traditional textiles. Here we can meet the makers, the weavers, the dealer and the middlemen.  It was here I met Alfonsa Horeng for the first time, though we have been connected on Facebook a few years prior to this meeting.

Alfonsa is well known globally within the international traditional textile enthusiasts. She had visited several countries to promote Flores ikat weaving and has placed her name well within the global weaving societies. As an ikat textile lover myself, I have been wanted to meet her and find out more about her campaign and her work.  Alfonsa has tirelessly campaign preserve traditional weaving technique using the conventional weaving tools “gedogan”, the only affordable tools by the poor families in the weaving villages which has slowly been replaced by the large shaft weaving tools, which often cost millions of Indonesian Rupiah to purchase, and far too heavy to be operated by women.

We are grateful to Alfonsa, who has agreed to spare some of her precious times during this exhibition, to chat with me about her work and her village. Please watch the video below to find out more about Alfonsa’s work.  Thank you Alfonsa, for this great story.


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