The entire process of dyeing and weaving is usually done by women. Whilst it can be carried out by a certain number of people, it may also be completed by one person alone. In the past, before weavers began their work, a certain ritual had to be performed, in which they had to prepare offerings for their gods and ancestors. This is because in some places, Tais making skills were believed to be a gift from God, and it was the gods that bestowed inspirations and instructions. In fact, Tais weaving and coloring were passed down through the female line from one generation to the next, from mothers to daughters, continued to granddaughters and their subsequent female generations in the family. It is known that this tradition was also passed on from mothers-in-law to their daughters-in-law.
To the people of Timor-Leste, the rainy season is the farming time in rice fields or farms. Women work to help their husbands cultivate their plants until the harvest season comes around. Cotton plants are also grown in the same period so that they can be harvested during the dry season. Once the harvest season is finished, women are back to their weaving routines, from processing harvested cotton to weaving with back-strap loom.
To guarantee the renewability of Tais, the majority of Tais products are made of ready colored yarn in that they can be used smoothly in the absence of climate or weather constraints. It is thus no surprise that weaving activities are ongoing every day at Tais centres throughout Timor-Leste.
Tais making skills are spread almost evenly across sucos (villages) in Timor-Leste, and weavers usually work alone about their homes or assisted by other females in their core family. Occasionally, there are collectors frequenting village areas to purchase Tais directly from weavers while exchanging them for yarn supplies. On these occasions, weavers can board their Tais with the collectors so that they can be sold in the big cities. If not, they may also offer their Tais to the local traditional market that is open on certain days.
To enhance the welfare of weavers, the government has provided training to 27 Tais development centers across Timor-Leste in 13 municipalities. In the training, the weavers are directed to work in groups with better management. Usually, each group owns access to with a dedicated workshop space along with a showroom to promote the Tais manufactured by its members. They also actively take part in exhibitions and other promotional schemes administered by the government.
Economic and tourism developments have positively impacted on the increasing demand for Tais. In addition to working at home, weavers also work in galleries, boutiques or privately owned outlets to enable visitors to witness the whole process of Tais making every day. On its own, Tais weaving has always been a prime attraction to foreign tourists.