Organized in 2009 and led by Lily Luglug, the Lab Tie Dye Weavers Association (LABTDWA) based in Brgy. Lugo Amnagad, Banaue, Ifugao, has been making textiles using the traditional ikat weaving technique.
Ikat uses a tie dye resist process where the thread is dyed and tied before weaving. The process begins with the weaver visualizing the design, and then tying the threads accordingly. These are dyed, after which the ties are removed and woven. The design is revealed gradually as the weaver completes weaving the dyed threads.
In Ifugao society, the colors and motifs of the textiles have social and political implications and are used in significant occasions.
Combining contemporary and traditional methods, the Lab Tie Dye weavers use synthetic as well as natural dyes to color their threads, which are sourced from Manila and Baguio; and rattan from Nueva Vizcaya. These are processed at their weaving centers, where they have backstrap and upright looms.
Some of the group’s materials and equipment were provided due to the initiative of Senator Legarda, who visited the weaving center in 2015. Through the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, LABTDWA received looms, accessories and thread, while the Philippine Textile Research Institute dubbed the association as one of its Regional Handloom Weaving Innovation Centers by giving them a grant consisting of four handloom units, weaving accessories, and supplies. Further, the Department of Trade and Industry provided training on product development, costing, and marketing, to ensure the sustainability and marketability of the enterprise.
Participating in the Sikat Pinoy National Arts and Crafts Fair, the Lab Tie Dye Weavers Association hopes that their textiles reach a wider market, so that more Filipinos appreciate and embrace the artistry of Ifugao textile weaving, and the stories that lie in each of its threads.