Wolot Kapa, The Yarn Preparation

Like Gautama Buddha’s silent meditation under the Bo Tree, gulung benang or they called it “Wolot Kapa” is one of my method to get that silence retreat. Wolot kapa is one of the process of ikat making that usually underestimated. It’s the beginning of every complicated step. This process does not require so much effort, but for beginners like me I got very tired and bored quickly. Both of my hands should make a circular motion and always change its direction as I wrap the yarn, so it would make a perfect ball of yarn.

There are 2 methods on how the Watublapi weaver get the yarn. The first one from cotton tree, they pick the cotton by themselves from their garden. The second one is using commercial yarn that available at the market, and they often use this kind of yarn. The hanks of commercial yarn were not in a ball shape. Wolot Kapa is a solution for it, the weaver begin to order and divide each hank into manageable lengths, at the same time, they making it free of tangles and broken ends.

Watublapi weaver use Kleo to spinning the hanks into a balls. First step is wrapped the hanks around the reel, find the end of the yarn and they start to spin. They use about 5 small hanks to make one balls of yarn. To make a big sarong, usually they use about 5 balls of yarn to make the weft yarn. The weft yarn is a continuous yarn that is shot back and forth through an opening in the warp yarns. It’s wound around a bobbing in such a way that it unwinds easily when thrown through the shed.

And there is another method I really enjoyed, Watublapi weaver use this technique where they do not use Kleo. The kids in Watublapi even mastered it. They only used their own thigh. Yes.. thigh. But be prepared for the extra back pain when you use this method. When I learned this technique for the first time, it caused me a back ache and most of my finger cramps. But once you mastered this method, you can nail this task easily, and be a pro like a real weaver.There are 2 methods on how the Watublapi weaver get the yarn. The first one from cotton tree, they pick the cotton by themselves from their garden. The second one is using commercial yarn that available at the market, and they often use this kind of yarn. The hanks of commercial yarn were not in a ball shape. Wolot Kapa is a solution for it, the weaver begin to order and divide each hank into manageable lengths, at the same time, they making it free of tangles and broken ends.

If we look closer, it’s like our body is synchronizing, your back, your thigh and your hand. Your body has it owns tempo, I named it Wolot Kapa Tempo. On this stage, your mind also wander around, except when you find your yarn tangled. You will be stress out a bit, but don’t worry, it just need an extra patience to get it untangled. Watublapi weaver also prepare a small knife to cut of some tangled yarn, and mostly they put it on their hair. Yep, a knife the back of your head. I also learned that Watublapi weaver usually chewing Sirih Pinang while doing Wolot Kapa.

From my experience, after I can do Wolot Kapa smoothly and faster, my mind is on their clearest stage. I could think about all my problems, about all my ideas and my goals. I recommend you to try it on early morning with coffee on your side. I was doing it in front of Orinila homestay, in the middle of the weavers garden, stared at those banana tree and just a sound of regularly grass hoper saying good morning. Below is short videos of Wolot Kapa, taken from our last Pano-pano Workshop in Orinila.

Illustration by Sesotya Jodie Ramadhan

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