We’re kit kat for Ikat

23Feb11

You’ve seen it everywhere, from pillows to purses. Like most textiles, the history of Ikat fabric stems from a very particular art of dyeing and weaving.

Ikat loom at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Ikat textiles are made  by a complex artistic technique. Developed in Western Asia during the 1st millennium A.D. To create a true Ikat (rather than a printed replica), images are dyed onto the threads before any weaving is done. Threads are secured to the dying frame, sections marked to be left undyed are covered with a dye-resistant fiber and areas are coloured to create a pattern. This process continues as colors change, tying on, removing, dying. With the exception of white (the natural color of the thread), a separate dye bath is required for each color that appears in the finished textile.   Even the most complex Ikat patterns are created solely through the tying and dyeing process!

Once dying is complete, any remaining protective strips are removed and the threads are woven to create the completed textile.  Indonesian weavers produce three types of Ikat, warp dyed, weft dyed or double dyed (pattern dyed into both the warp and weft threads).

Of course, not all contemporary incarnations of Ikat follow this process. Printing an ikat pattern or maching weaving then dying in a pattern cut the labor costs and bring Ikat to the masses.

Anthropologie folding chair 

lululemon athletica Ikat messenger bag

 

Velvet Ikat pillows at Jayson Home & Garden

Ikat silk robe – Anthropologie

Leave us a comment. What is your favorite use or installation or Ikat?

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