With a focus on Southeast Asia, this discussion will unveil the richness of traditional fabric making and dyeing through the lens of textile expert Lee Chor Lin, who will present a comprehensive overview of the region; anthropologist Geneviève Duggan, who has dedicated 30 years to researching textile traditions in Savu, Indonesia; and textile artist and weaver Lynelle Barrett, who will demonstrate how dyes applied to yarns are used in ikat weaving and other traditional weaving techniques.
Dr Geneviève Duggan (France/Singapore) is an anthropologist and during three decades of research in Indonesia, she has studied textile traditions in social contexts (Ikats of Savu White Lotus 2001) and transmission of knowledge in an oral society (PhD thesis, NUS 2008). From 2010 to 2013 she was a Visiting Fellow at ISEAS (Singapore). Recent publications include Savu; history and oral tradition in an island of Indonesia (co-authored with Hans Hägerdal NUS Press, 2018); A note about hand-woven cloths with a continuous warp in eastern Indonesia (Archipel, 2017); and Tracing Ancient Networks; Linguistics, Hand-woven Cloths and Looms in Eastern Indonesia (Qin Dashu and Yuan Jian eds, World Scientific, 2015).
Lynelle Barrett (United States/Singapore) is a textile artist and weaver. Since moving to Singapore in 2013, she has been immersed in learning about processes, culture, and history of the region’s traditional textiles, researching traditional weaving and natural dye techniques from Indigenous weavers. Currently, she is Co-coordinator of the Friends of the Museums Textile Enthusiasts Group. Barrett studied Fashion Design at Parsons School of Design, New York and was a lecturer in the Diploma in Fashion Progamme at LASALLE College of the Arts, Singapore. She has conserved costumes and prepared them for exhibition at the Cincinnati Art Museum and the Stedelijk Museum, Leuven. She has also worked as a web editor and freelance journalist, and her volunteer work is often focused on empowering women.
Lee Chor Lin (Singapore) is known for her expertise on the textiles of Southeast Asia. She is the author of Ancestral Ships: Fabric Impressions of Old Lampung Culture (1987). She has also contributed essays on Southeast Asian textiles to numerous publications including Power Dressing: Textiles for Rulers and Priests (2005) and Sacred Threads: Ceremonial Textiles of Southeast Asia (2001). Lee began her career with the National Museum of Singapore in 1985, before setting up the Chinese and Southeast Asia galleries at the Asian Civilisations Museum. Returning to the National Museum as Director, she was pivotal in guiding the museum through its redevelopment and re-launch in December 2006.
Image credit: Ice Tede Dara in the process of drying yarns dyed with morinda citrifolia. Pedèro, West Savu, 2017. Photo Geneviève Duggan.