Saturday, February 23, 2008

Ikat Weaving

This is a piece of handwoven silk fabric that is almost vintage! I was reminded of its existence in a discussion on faux ikat I had recently with Romilly of Romilly has some interesting observations on using multicoloured thread. Handweavers use spacedyed yarn to produce 'faux ikat' by adjusting the colours in the yarn to fall where required.
However the silk fabric, woven over 23 years ago, is a piece of double ikat that has been stored until I was ready to make a bag.... not sure if I am ready yet, but maybe I should be! I think I was so pleased with the result and realised I would probably never make another - so I certainly didn't want to spoil it. Over the years my attitude to my handwoven fabric has definitely changed. Now I can cut into it with total abandon - there will always be the opportunity to weave more (hopefully) or at least something that will coordinate well with the original.

Ikat can be warp, weft or double. The principle is based on resist dyeing and tieing to produce a design. For warp ikat - sections of the warp alone are wrapped securely before immersing in a dye bath - after drying this is undone and beamed. During the beaming process sections of the warp can be adjusted to 'move' the pattern in one direction or another. Similarly for weft ikat the weft alone is dyed after being carefully skeined for sections to be resisted. Double ikat moves on one step further as it uses resists in both directions. It is easy to see why design can be quite difficult. My woven piece is an extremely simple version of double ikat. Ikat is a craft that has been practised in many cultures - Indonesia, in particular. A good article can be found in Wikipedia .


Colleen formerly of South Africa said...

Your fabric is yummy looking.

MargB said...

Thankyou Colleen
I don't think the scan did it justice - it looks so washed out. the colours are very pale. Despite feeling very pleased with this I am also very humbled but realise just how absolutely amazing some of the Indonesian and Indian work is.