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Introducing Sembalun Weaving

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Visit the homes of highly skilled women weavers and see their newly designed textiles using traditional techniques recently revived and adapted for today’s fashion.

Women Hand-Loom Weavers of Sembalun Lawang

Women hand-loom weavers in the village of Sembalun Lawang, East Lombok have recently revived their weaving skills with the help of the NZAID Rinjani Trek Ecotourism Programme. The women decided they would like to return to this ancient craft after many years of earning a livelihood by other means. They now work together in co-operative groups sharing skills and resources.

sembalun weaving In the past weaving was an essential qualification for womanhood, and young girls began to learn the basic skills at an early age. All women were expected to provide their family with fabrics for clothing and ceremonial use. Now, with the widespread availability of factory-made fabrics, hand-loom textiles are used mostly for religious ceremonies and special occasions such as weddings.

Using their traditional back-strap looms and techniques taught to them by their grandmothers, these highly skilled women have begun producing a range of contemporary designs under the guidance of Mataram designer Epoel Dg Hasanung.

sembalun weavingAlthough the weavers no longer spin and dye local cotton to make their yarns, the weaving process is nevertheless very labour intensive. The fine yarns must be washed, threaded onto the loom and wound onto bobbins before weaving can start a process which can take several days. Once the looms are set up it takes about a week to complete a length of this stunning cloth. It may be sold as is, or sewn into place mats, bags, cushion covers and belts. All the work is done in the village by local women.

sembalun weavingThe rich colours are achieved by careful selection and blending of basic yarn colours available from the textile mills of Java. These women are masters of colour and the simple, modern motifs they now use show this skill off to great advantage.

How to find the Weavers and Weavings

  • Include the scenic village of Sembalun Lawang on your Round Rinjani drive or island tour. Set in an ancient and fertile caldera to the east of Mt. Rinjani, it is one of two entrances to Gunung Rinjani National Park.
  • Visit the weavers in their home workshops in the centre of Sembalun Lawang village. Follow the signs in the centre of the village.
  • Items can be purchased from the weavers directly or found in selected outlets in Epoel’s Boutique Senggigi.
Guests are always welcome. Please contact us prior to arrival at:

Gunung Rinjani National Park, Rinjani Trek
c/o Hotel Lombok Raya
Jl. Panca Usaha No. 11
Mataram - Lombok
Telp. (62-370) 641124
Fax (62-370) 641124
[email protected]

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