On her return to Bali in August 2019 Emily had news from East Bali of a family of expert Pandanus Grass weavers living just outside the regional capital.
On visiting the family Emily discovered that the head of the family was also headmaster of the local school. He demonstrated how he carefully sewed woven grass mats together to make bags and other items such as table mats and tissue box covers for the hotels. His wife helped him and she designed and cut out the patterns.
They worked with local farmers who were also mat weavers and grew Pandanus grass as protective fences around their small holdings. However the headmaster lamented the fact that his own family and indeed most of the next generation were not interested to learn the weaving skills.
Jobs in tourism and the burgeoning service industry on the island were far more attractive to the youth in this area. It is understandable but the proximity of Mt Agung the huge volcano that looms large above the coastal strip and dominates the area should serve as a reminder that tourism is a fickle industry and traditional skills should not be lost forever. However it was heartening to find that this skill had not completely disappeared and that there was an expert teacher to pass on the skills.
Emily is hopeful that he will be interested to do some training sessions with weavers living in some of the more remote areas where she is working with communities who are less fortunate circumstances who do not have access with to other work.[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”23″ gal_title=”Pandanus Grass weavers”]