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.

Revitalizing Traditional Skills

As marriage gifts and everyday wear, as offerings to the ancestors or trade goods for cash or barter, traditional textiles have played integral parts in the social, spiritual, and economic lives of the peoples of Indonesia for more than 2,000 years.

Today, Threads of Life helps to uphold those diverse and venerable traditions. All Threads of Life textiles are produced by traditional methods. Occasionally the women ask us, “What motifs and techniques should we use?” We always reply, “What did your mother and grandmother do?” Their textiles are not copies of classic antiques, but the latest evolutions of living traditions, re-felt and re-imagined by the women who weave them.

Threads of Life encourages weaving communities to revive techniques of weaving and natural dyeing that are in danger of disappearing. We provide economic and technical support while cooperatives research and rediscover local practices, a process that can take years to complete. The result is a sustainable, natural, traditional method of textile production, with complete cultural integrity. The process and the results move the weavers to great pride of ownership, and inspire the extraordinary quality of their work.