Boneca de Atauro

Boneca de Atauro

Our Philosophy:

The "Boneca" is a rag  doll born on an island of exile; a doll that crossed the sea and many borders to travel around the world.

It is a magic place where the objects of desire are born.

It is a place where women find their space. their dignity and their economic independence.

It is a brand, quite renowned by now.

The "Boneca" is a factory of shared knowledge: technical, human, relational, commercial : a knowledge of fulled dreams and dreams to fulfill.

It is a place for women of any age. Elderly women bring prudence, experience, patience: younger ones bring joy and desire for the future.

It is a place where illiterate women  have a space to learn:  and where literate ones share their knowledge with others.

The "Boneca" is a cooperative where the pride of earning  a living with your own hand is nurtured.

The "Boneca" is a beacon for Atauro women, who wish to grow and work with dignity.

                        Weaving Rapan Hirik on a back loom at the grounds of Boneca de Atauro
                         Printing a new linocut

                        Printing panels ready for stitching

                        Stitching the printed panel

                        the Boneca de Atauro shop in Dili

 The women of Boneca de Atauro

The women of Boneca de Atauro make all their creations from fabric sourced from the only fabric shop in Dili, Timor Leste. They work on treadles because on Atauro Island the power generator only runs at night, and sometimes not at all when they forget to bring the diesel in the truck on the Saturday ferry.

 The woven palm material is called Rapan Hirik and is made from palm fibres, which are scoured then stripped and then woven on a back loom, It is an incredibly labour intensive process but one which is indigenous to Atauro Island.

Everything  the women make is incredibly labour intensive, so some of the bigger pieces can take weeks to make. The co-operative employs 100 women of all ages and is intent on providing support for those 100 women so they can feed their families, send children to school and strive for better lives. Their dreams are modest- to see their children educated, to support each other through the working community provided by Boneca de Atauro and to improve learning for adults. In this time of Pandemic Covid 19, the Island has so far escaped the virus but of course there has been no tourists visiting which means their income is severely depleted.  So the women have built a vegetable garden to help support each other.

I have some of the products which the women have made, at my house. It had been the intention to sell them at various events I had hoped to attend, but alas that has all come to a standstill as well. So in an effort to raise some money for the women, I have decided to create a page of the things I have on my blog ( with their permission). 100% of sales will be sent to the women.

In late 2017 and in early 2019 i did an artists residency on Atauro Island with the Boneca de Atauro  co-operative. The idea was that I would teach them something to help them create new product for their shop. So I taught them how to make linocuts and how to print. So I worked with four women. I tried not to influence their designs but instead we took walks and picked up things from the beach for inspiration. Then they sat down to draw what they saw. This sounds easy but in all reality none of these women had drawn before, paper and pencils is not something that is in ready supply and what there is is used for schools. So I think they have done a remarkable job creating their printed pieces. I also did some hand stitching with them, but I will write more about that later.

If you see anything you would like to buy  please message me.

Quilts. These are three layered with a hanging sleeves ( size is with each piece). The colour you see on each piece is entirely created with dense stitching on ancient treadle machines- a remarkable feat. They call their quilts tapestries.

Fish Tapestry 56 cm x 75 cm  $210 AUS plus postage

Palm Tapestry 43 cm x 62 cm $145 AUS plus postage

Tapestry Print 62 cm x 42 cm $145 AUS plus Postage

                          Tapestry print 42 cm x 62 cm $145 AUS plus postage

                                Tapestry print 42 cm x 62 cm $145 AUS plus postage

        Fatuk Australia ( inspired by an  Australian postcard) $210 AUS plus postage

                    Tapestry Print 35 cm x 45 cm $70 AUS plus Postage

Bags. these are made with the Rapan Hirik woven in the next village Maquili. it takes the women from this village an hour  at least to walk to their work place at Boneca de Atauro. This fabric is woven from palm fronds which have been strippeed and then plied and then woven in a few different striped designs. The bags are internally lined with an internal zippered pocket and a zippered top. They are very sturdy. They measure 37 cm x 46 cm $75.00 AUS

Pencil Cases- lined, zippered and made from  the rapan Hirik. 
Small 19 cm x 11 cm  $17 AUS plus postage
Large 25 cm x 15 cm  $25 AUS plus postage

Journal Covers Machine stitched on  treadle machines. the colour has been entirely created with stitch,
Small 20 cm x 16 cm $25 AUS plus Postage
Large 23 cm x 16 cm  $30 AUS plus Postage

Glasses Cases
Hand printed and machine stitched    16 cm x 10 cm $14 AUS plus postage

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