LET’S TALK IKAT
- Laura Mobley
- 12 Apr, 2012
Ikat is a print known and loved around the world. Mata uses ikat prints in many of their pieces, and, as we all know, Mata’s pieces are handmade by Indian women artisans. I thought I’d delve into this world of ikat and really see what is behind the scenes. I was in for a surprise. Hopes of a DIY ikat project were shattered when I found out how intricate this process is. I didn’t even know how to pronounce ikat correctly until I heard Maureen say it; it is pronounced ‘ee-kaht.’ It is a style of weaving where the yarn is dyed in zigzag or geometric patterns. The weaver chooses the exact pattern by wrapping the yarns with wax and clay before dipping it in different dyes. It is like a puzzle that gets more complicated with each color that is in the ikat design. Since the threads are dyed before they are woven it gives an “inaccurate” color distribution resulting in the enchanting blurred edges of the finished product.
Ikat weaving may have originated in the Nalgonda district of Andhra Pradesh, India. Time-wise, it is unknown how far back ikat textiles go (some say 10th century). A strip of ikat fabric was an extremely prized possession and status symbol because of the time and precision it took to make each piece. Trade and European travelers brought ikat west, where it has had a great influence on the design world ever since. Here are some examples of how ikat is used currently in interior design:
And used in fashion design:
It is such a beautiful, exotic, and romantic print. Here I am wearing Mata’s new ikat shorts – the quintessential spring/summer item. A simple Must Have.
And don’t forget about Mata’s ‘Adobe Diamonds Dress!’
(I love this dress with cowboy boots)
Once you understand the complexity of the craft it means so much more to look at the clothing you are wearing – a piece that Mata’s women lovingly and carefully made using ancient techniques! I’m in love.
(Photo credits: galenfrysinger.com, pinterest.com, toms.com)