The Story Of Ikat

The term ‘Ikat’ has its origins in Indonesia where it may be used in the context of a noun like cord/thread or like a verb to tie/to bind. When you hear the word ‘Ikat’, what comes to your mind? Geometrical designs in blurry lines? This may lead you to believe that the complete fabric is printed or must have been dyed like that and then stitched into silhouettes. Let us debunk a major myth here while we learn about the enchanting Ikat. Ikat is actually the final fabric that we get after the already dyed yarns are woven into warps and wefts through resist dyeing technique. It’s a lot like tie & dye if you think about it but with the yarns.

This is where the distinctively famous ‘blurriness’ to the design comes from. Because the yarns are tied in bundles, then dyed according to pre-drawn patterns and designs and then woven together after. 

Ikat Around The Globe:

From Uzbekistan to Japan, Ikat marks itself in different forms and patterns. As per history, it originated in Indonesia and trickled down to other parts of the globe where every region’s Ikat has its own distinct set of characteristics. We, in India, have Ikat in Gujarat as Patan Patola which is one of the rarest forms of double Ikat, Pochampally in South India’s Telangana and Sambalpuri Ikat in Orissa. Probably one of the oldest forms of decoration, Ikat might have originated in a place but thanks to Silk Route! It reached hundreds of other regions and places through trade. 

Ikat From Uzbekistan (Image courtesy: Shutterstock)

Uzbekistan’s traditional ‘bazaars’ where stalls after stalls display and are loaded with the most exquisite ikat delicacies from carpets, textiles, home decor to so much more. The country even has a special ‘Ikat Hotel’ that shows how precious Ikat is to their tradition. On your visit to Uzbek, don’t forget to come back with colorful souvenirs to decorate your place the ikat way. 

The ‘Patola’ is a rare double ikat practiced in Gujarat where the warp and weft yarns are both tied and dyed before weaving. Once a thriving craft, the double ikat ‘Patola’ is now very rare and done by only a few artisans. 

Patola Ikat/Double Ikat From Gujarat (Image courtesy: Shutterstock, Google)

Ikat From Indonesia (Image courtesy: Shutterstock)

The weaving of Ikat is part of the tradition and life in the Lesser Sunda Islands in the country of Indonesia where, very mystically, the warp becomes the weft!

Kasuri Ikat From Japan (Image courtesy: Shutterstock)

Other countries or regions to look out for their enchanting Ikat weaving tradition are Japan, the Philippines, Andhra Pradesh (India), Cambodia.

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