My digital textile students have been working out ways to render ikat and I wanted to explore the history of it more.
(I'll post the students' modern digital ikats later if they send me their files).
I found a very informative article by Kerry Ann Dame on the Posh Living site. Here is an excerpt:
"The word Ikat comes from a word in Malay that means “to bind or wind around”. Thousands of individual threads are tie-dyed in intricate patterns, then untied and woven into fabric; in 19th century Bukhara, there were hundreds of workshops dedicated solely to making Ikat threads. The threads were wrapped, dyed, sorted, rewrapped and dyed again; the tie-dye technique produced slightly innacurate color distribution which resulted in the enchanting blurred edges of the finished designs.. The more elaborate the pattern, the longer the process before weaving could begin. Ikat designers then hung the threads on simple looms, marking them with patterns passed down through generations of artisans. Weavers charged according to the intricacy of the design. Hundreds of thousands of Ikats were woven in central Asia in the nineteenth century, and exported to countries all along the Silk Road."
|Uzbek Bukhara silk ikat Chapan, late 19th century |
|Antique Aymara ikat Poncho, Charasani Valley, Bolivia, ca. 1900|
|Antique Ikat Bidang, Malaysia|
|Here is a modern ikat-inspired rug by Luke Irwin that looks ancient|
I love this tattered-looking concept!
source, Luke Irwin
|sorry this is out of focus... will replace with better image soon|
|Source (scroll almost to bottom of post)|
It gives a good sense of all the work that creating an ikat from scratch requires.
You'll also get a speedy lesson in the craft of weaving!
Ikat-inspired items on my Lyst* in case you now have to urge to wear it: