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Photography | David White


About These Textiles

Hand Woven

LO’UD Cooperative members use simple back-strap looms, which are often fashioned with timber off-cuts, old twine and rice sacks. Each weaver has a small selection of cherished tools - like honed mortar and pestles and beaters - often handed down through generations. LO’UD women have highly developed skills of artisanship and creativity. Their participation in LO’UD elevates their status in their communities and firmly places weaving as legitimate cultural and economic activity, valuable to their day-to-day life. Importantly they join together as women, which as we know is beneficial to maintaining mental health.

Weaving Techniques



Futus is the meticulous process of creating designs by tying to form specific patterns before the yarn is dyed. The tied warp threads are immersed into dye mixtures, cooled and immersed again depending on the number of colours to be combined. Weavers who produce quality Futus are considered highly intelligent and gifted.



Meli-Meli is floating weft technique used extensively by LO’UD Cooperative weavers from the highlands on the southeast coast of Timor-Leste. Intricate and time-consuming, the technique requires a high level of expertise and is used to add motifs such as flowers, stars and letters during the weaving process.

Fairly Traded

FAIR TRADE PRICING: Fair Trade makes a tangible contribution to the fight against global poverty and allows consumers to help protect the interests of producers. However other than coffee, there has been little focus on fair trade development in Timor-Leste.

In 2011, we began work with LO’UD to integrate fair trade principles into their business model and textiles production. Our research resulted in the first fair trade pricing frameworks for textiles in Timor-Leste. We also gathered information and did comparative analysis of pricing from around the country, which showed that the majority of hand-weavers were earning less than 30% of the National Minimum Wage, some earning as little as fifteen cents per hour.

The framework developed for LO’UD delivers fair incomes to Cooperative members. This significant outcome has positive implications for women all over the island.

Design Innovation

There’s always a great story behind any innovation. Both LO’UD and ETWA’s missions are to end poverty by empowering women involved in hand-crafts production. To help LO’UD members produce market-ready textiles while building on their amazing strengths as weavers, ETWA members used their expertise to develop a range of design, production and business tools. A perfect fusion! Click here to read our story.