|A bintang maratur textile made in Muara with all natural dyestuffs|
Muara is also the bay that hosted the “weaving workshop” in October 2010 that I just couldn’t miss. When I heard about it, I made every effort to attend. Restuala Pakpahan was the engine behind this workshop and when he learned that I would be able to come, he transformed it into a celebration of me as the author of Legacy, one of the sources of his inspiration. During the workshop, he asked me to function as the foreign ambassador for Muara textiles and Muara’s intention to re-invent itself as a Batak settlement for the future: clean, prosperous, in harmony with nature, and a place where Batak culture can revive, survive and thrive.
The workshop was one of the most profoundly moving experiences in my life.
Shortly after that, I brought three members of Threads of Life to Muara. Restuala was hungry for information about natural dyes and strategies for reviving textile traditions while Threads of Life was looking for potential places in the Batak area where they could work their magic. It was a good match and a meeting of like minds. Every night the members of Threads of Life talked until the wee hours with Restuala and his right-hand man, Goodman Ompusunggu, juxtaposing Restuala’s vision with the experiences of Threads of Life. Since then, Threads of Life has been back to conduct step two in the revival of Batak natural dyes. The picture of the textile that Restuala sent me through the email today was the first product of their inspiring collaboration.
I expect that that textile will soon be on a plane heading to Bali. A group of Batak weavers has been selected to attend a series of workshops put on by Threads of Life in Ubud. There they will see the Threads of Life shop, meet weavers from other parts of the archipelago, and learn about international marketing as well as natural dyes. How I wish I could be there with them!
Congratulations to ito Restuala! Congratulations to my weaver friends in Muara! Congratulations to Threads of Life!
I see the small child in the photograph. As she looks at the textile in her grandmother’s hands, she is looking at both the past and the future of Muara. Because of Restuala’s initiative, her future is becoming increasingly bright.