Visiting the weaving group Karya Sari Warna Alam in Seraya on East Bali is unlike visiting any other place for me. Every time I visit there is so much activity! Young women are busy weaving together in the community center, while others are dyeing or tending to the dye plants that grow around the center. The weaving healthysemen center was built in 2005 with donations from the Hong Kong Textile Society and is a heart of activity for the group.
Karya Sari Warna Alam is now attracting the interest not only from tourists that Threads of Life brings to visit but more recently the interest of the local Balinese community. The textiles produced by Karya Sari Warna Alam are ritual textiles used for Balinese ceremonies. Both westerners and locals seem to be making the long journey specifically to see Seraya’s traditonal textiles being made once again.[separator][/separator]
“Seraya’s desolate landscape offers little to the young people in terms of livelihood other than continuing to work as their fathers and mothers as fishermen and farmers. The head of the weaving cooperative, Pak Karya, says that “many of the young women who graduate from elementary or junior high school are interested in learning to weave as they know that the art has almost been lost and that now with its revitalization and the growth of a local and international market, they see that there is the possibility of staying in Seraya and earning an income.”[separator][/separator]
Many older weavers are teaching the young women who are interested in learning the art of making Seraya textiles. The community offers intensive trainings and then they are paired with a senior weaver to assist them. The student weaver will work on a simple textile that has not motif but is only plain color or with simple stripes. Slowly the young weaver graduates to making the more difficult textiles.[separator][/separator]
As the demand for traditional textiles continues to grow, the weavers hope that they will be able to meet the demand. The farmers and dyers of the cooperative Karya Sari Warna Alam are taking action to meet the anticipated production demand. Over the last two years they have been planting natural dye plants such as Morinda, Indigo and cotton around the perimeters of their fields and in their gardens.