Thursday, May 24, 2012

more lake toba, indonesia

Lake Toba is home to the Batak people, a minority group who inhabit the island of Samosir and surrounding areas. Their iconic 'pointy' dwellings dot the area, with intricate carvings and stunning details. Indonesia is a predominantly Muslim nation (in fact, the largest in the world), however the Batak are Christians, having been converted by missionaries many moons ago. They are incredibly warm and welcoming, and it was interesting see the gradual change from Mosque to church as we drove through the country-side up to Toba.

Being a textile designer, one of my passions when travelling is collecting and learning about the local textile traditions. I asked around if we could perhaps meet a local weaver and was soon pointed in the right direction. Off Sarah and I cycled, hoping to find what we were looking for. We were very fortunate to meet the most gorgeous woman, who sits outside under a lush tree with her loom, weaving ulos'. An ulos is a traditional Batak textile that is woven especially for wedding ceremonies, where they are placed around the necks of the bride and groom. They are beautiful, filled with many colours and incredibly detailed geometric shapes. I found out from our new weaving friend that they take her a week to make.
It was so inspiring to just sit and watch her weave, line by line, creating a stunning piece with her own hands. It's a tradition and artform that I really have a lot of respect for and that always blows me away.
Sarah and I both bought a couple of her pieces - which now hold extra significance having witnessed her weaving.

Unfortunately, we had to wrap our trip up here and sadly head home. In my next post I'll share some of Andrew's photos from his time in Sumatra and a very brief wrap up on our short and very sweet stay in Indonesia.

an ulos in production


Batak carvings

can you spot the cat?


  1. Wonderful pictures, just adore your way to highlight details. The handwoven textiles are amazing, would love to see which ones you bought and brought back to Sydney! xx

  2. stunning! must have been so neat to see.

  3. Oh the colors, textures, patterns...amazing!!!!!!


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