The ancient art
of Ikat dyeing and weaving was once used to symbolize wealth
and prestige. Ikat is a dyeing technique used to pattern textiles
that employs resist formed by binding individual yarns or bundles of yarns with
a tight wrapping applied in the desired pattern and then dyeing on the yarns
prior to dyeing and weaving the fabric and it involves an intricate
manufacturing process wherein the yarn is first dyed and then woven on the
The creation of ikat involves a weaving technique in which
thousands of individual threads (warp, weft or both) are tie-dyed in intricate
patterns, then untied and woven into fabric. The use of clay or wax-resist is
often used to stamp onto the yarn and then it is immersed and re-immersed in
dye. This technique requires someone of great skill, as all threads must remain
in the correct order and be lined up exactly to create the imaginative designs.
The natural movement in ikat gives the process a watery, feathered edge.
Ikat is a craft that tests the skills of two sets of
craftsmen: tie-dye experts and weavers.
Ikat means "to bind" in
the Indonesian language and "to tie" in the Malay-Indonesian. The
word "ikat" comes from the full word 'mengikat' as
introduced in early 20th century European textile technology.
Ikat could have
originated in either India or Indonesia, but is also very well practiced in at
least 28 to 30 countries across all the continents. It is therefore, a global technique
and stretches across the 5 regions of the World Crafts Council.