The WEFT Forum was started in September, 1999 at the International Ikat Weaving Forum held in Kuching, Sarawak. Since then, the WEFT Forum has been a biennial event:
September 2001: Basketry and Natural Dye Workshop
September 2003: Hand Painted, Printed & Decorated Textiles
May 2006: Textile Traditions Today
September 2008: Textiles and Fibres – The Untold Stories
September 2010: Nature’s colour code – in Basketry and Textiles
Forum objectives are to promote, share and acquire knowledge on the use of natural fibres and dyes. They want to conserve and encourage the use of natural, sustainable materials in the creation of arts and crafts.
WEFT is a network of natural material producers and the craftspeople through the establishment of an information database that may develop into a marketing network eg trade in raw materials, dye stuff etc. They aim to encourage and co- ordinate research and study into the traditional use of natural fibre and dyes in all forms of textile weaving, basketry, mat weaving, plaiting etc and to promote the development of World-Eco Fibre and Textile Art.
The WEFT forum fosters cultural exchange through exhibitions, conferences, international visits by crafts people for the purpose of study, lectures and workshops. This year’s forum will bring together international delegates to exchange the latest information gathered through research, work and experiences in the stories, legends, oral history and traditions related to textiles and fibres.
It will be a 3-day forum with 9 main sessions. There will be exhibitions, a bazaar, a gala dinner and fashion show. They expect over 300 delegates (weavers, craft-artisans, scholars, collectors, gallery-owners, officials and NGOs) from over 25 countries. Post Forum tours have been organised to a longhouse at Batang Ai, Mulu National Park and Caves or to a Ngar mordant ceremony of Iban Textiles.
Forum talks will include:
- Natural Dyes in the Philippines
- Discovering alpine natural dyes
Marketing natural dyes in Europe
- Native Californian Indian basketry
- Bhutanese textiles with natural dyes
- Taiwanese indigo: history and revival
- Chinese double face natural dyed silks
- Rare textiles of Orang Baduy, Indonesia
- Natural dyes for fine art painting of India
- Textiles in archaeological finds of Sarawak
- Korean heritage of natural colours in textiles
- Natural science and belief of lac dye of Thailand
- Royal Tenun/ Malay Kain songkit in natural dyes
- Marketing of Iban natural fibre crafts and textiles
- Reviving Indian traditional embroidery techniques
- Printed and painted textiles of the Thai Royal Court
- Tarum, Nila or Tom: story of indigo in Javanese batik