Technique – supports and reserves

The supports on which the reserves are made vary according to the raw material used and its treatment, and according to the structure of the fabric. They reflect availabilities in the natural environment but also aesthetic and cultural choices.

Two large groups of reserve can be seen : reserves that are tied and others that are sewn. They can be made without a mark or, on the contrary, follow a pattern inscribed beforehand in or on the fabric. The link itself is by nature variable : A thread of cotton, a strand of raffia, a strip of plastic or rubber, etc.

  • locally woven cotton

    locally woven cotton

  • industrial cotton

    industrial cotton

  • plaited raffia

    plaited raffia

  • plaited pandanus

    plaited pandanus

  • woven silk

    woven silk

  • woven camel wool

    woven camel wool

  • sheep's wool and sprang

    sheep's wool and sprang

  • double knot

    double knot

  • tying


  • tying pinched fabric

    tying pinched fabric

  • sewing and gathering

    sewing and gathering

  • reserve by sewing and concealment

    reserve by sewing and concealment

  • Embroidery


  • tied stencil

    tied stencil

lplaited pandanus

plaited pandanus

Singo tuvegi braid, worn by men on apron-belts Vanatu, Ambae, 19th century Pandanus leaf fibre A. Pineau Collection 71.1893.34.13

Plaiting. Reserve design carried out with the help of appliqués by using the stalks from Heliconia indica. The blades of pandanus leaves are plaited for such braids. Generally, two plaited parts are put together in order to obtain the required width. The material is smooth and the plaiting produced from raised patterns and impressions of the day. If plaiting is practised in all of the archipelago, it is only in the northern islands that women also practice the preparation of reserves for dyeing. For that, they apply the stalks, as here, or stencils cut in the shape of banana petals, kept on a trunk when tying, before dyeing in the brew of a root which will colour the non-reserved parts red. Nowadays, plaits are dyed with synthetic colouring agents. 142x28 cm