Threads of Life is a fair trade business that uses culture and conservation to alleviate poverty in rural Indonesia. The heirloom-quality textiles and baskets we commission are made with local materials and natural dyes. With the proceeds from the Threads of Life gallery, we help weavers to form independent cooperatives and to manage their resources sustainably.

Fieldwork

Illiteracy and poor infrastructure handicap nearly all of the weavers with whom Threads of Life works. Mail, telephones, and the internet are not viable options for maintaining these business relationships.

Instead, Threads of Life makes field visits. Throughout the dry season from April to October, members of the Threads of Life staff make at least fifteen trips to the field, to visit weavers in their homes. During the rainy months, most villagers leave their looms to work in the fields the source of their basic livelihood and floods and landslides often make travel impossible.

Our staff members stay in the field for up to three weeks at a time, buying textiles, discussing quality control issues, negotiating prices, placing orders, and paying advances. We also get to know our partners in the villages, research their cultures, and help them to develop traditional handmade objects into marketable handicrafts.

Threads of Life's research indicates that a weaver truly maximizes the value of her labor by working to the highest standard of quality. We consistently encourage weavers to boost their incomes through quality, not quantity. In partnership with the YPBB Foundation, we develop and facilitate workshops and training programs that help cooperatives develop their organizations, improve their marketing skills, and increase their market access.

News on all our fieldwork can be read in our Latest News section.