From Trunk to Textile

The T’nalak is one of the most ecological textile one can find. Fibers are hand drawn from trunks of the Abaca Plant and hand-stripped using simple tools such as a blade. The fibers are then connected one by one to prepare them for dyeing, then weaving. But before they are dyed, the designs have to be set up first. Depending on the number of colors, and intricacy of the designs, the fibers are laid on a frame, knotted, dyed, then set up again.

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Weaving is done through a back-strap loom. One end is attached to a wall or a pole while the other end is anchored on the weaver’s lower back. Her legs are outstretched in front of her, providing the needed tension. The weaver becomes one with the loom and extends herself in each textile she makes.

Once the textile is woven, it is first beaten to make the fibers finer and more supple. Then it is ironed using a shell with a bamboo pole providing the tension. This makes the textile smooth and shiny. Preparing the fibers, to weaving a roll of T’nalak can reach up to 3 months.
The women have also rediscovered the value and the range of natural dyes. Aside from the characteristic colors of the T’nalak, black, red and natural abaca colors, they have expanded their color range through continuous experimentation. Explore some of the new colors in the Gallery.

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