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All About Ikat - An Irresistible Weave

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Ikat is known for its exquisite diamond-shaped patterns, curving scrolls, and paisley motifs. Do you know that what appears to be fabric with printed patterns is actually a sophisticated weaving technique that employs specially colored threads to create a pattern on the fabric as the weaver moves along? Despite the fact that ikat is a type of tie-dye textile art, it has its own distinct flavor.

If you truly look back in time, ikat was not originally an Indian textile art form. Ikkat or ikhat are other names for it. As ikat is a widespread textile art, textile historians are still attempting to identify its location of origin. The origin of the word ikat, which means to tie a bundle of yarn or threads, is nonetheless an intriguing fact. The word is derived from the Malay-Indonesian phrase Mengikat. 

Ikat patterns can be found in India in sources that date as far back as the 7th century. It is created into beautiful fabrics, sarees, and ethnic, and fusion clothing. With more than 9–10 varieties/variations of Ikat techniques and dozens of patterns available, Ikat kurtas and saris are very popular in India. With more than 9–10 varieties/variations of Ikat techniques and dozens of patterns available, Ikat kurtas and saris are very popular in India. 


Ikat Across the Countries

 

In fact, many textile specialists think that Indonesia and other Southeast Asian nations like Cambodia, Myanmar, the Philippines, and Thailand are where the art of textiles first emerged. They each have their own distinct flavor, and because of the Dutch invaders' lengthy history of colonizing Indonesia and other countries in Central America, ikat as a form of textile art spread to nations like Argentina, Bolivia, Mexico, and Guatemala. 

Yet, ikat arrived in India a very long time ago as a result of the country's historical commercial relations with China and Indonesia.

Figures wearing clothing with Ikkat designs can be seen in ancient frescoes at the Ajanta and Ellora caves, demonstrating that Indian weavers were using the ikat method of dyeing yarn and weaving fabric as early as the 7th century AD. Here, the artwork assumed a very intricate and refined tone.


In India, Andhra Pradesh/Telangana, Gujarat, and Odisha are the three main places where it evolved into a well-known handloom textile craft. These three locations each evolved their own distinctive Ikkat weaving technique over time, each with a pattern and use of yarn that is unique. 

In fact, the high-quality Indian ikat was so well-liked that it was once used as payment along the fabled Silk Road, which helped the ikat form spread to Uzbekistan and Afghanistan.


Ikat Weaves of India 

You might wonder why Indian ikat is so popular around the world. It is a result of the master weavers' experience and evolving techniques. The unique aspect of ikat weaving in India is the development of regionally specific weaving and dyeing techniques for the yarns. 


Ikat from Andhra Pradesh 

Telia Rumal Ikat -

The Telia Rumal from Andhra Pradesh is one of the most distinctive types of Indian ikat weaving because the yarn is not only tie-dyed but also given special oil treatment to give the cloth a distinctive gloss. Due to the fact that this is a double ikat, both the warp and weft yarns (longitudinal and crossing-over) are colored and have motifs drawn on them. The threads are then woven after being dipped in castor oil and ash.

In the Telia Rumal ikat, you will typically find large, clearly defined diamonds, hexagons, and squares as the basic design elements. Telia, which is seen as cool and lucky, used to be inextricably interwoven into the local culture. Sadly, this vessel started to disappear, but thankfully it is on the road to recovery.


Pochampally

In comparison to the more complicated, somewhat more well-known Pochampally (double) ikats from the same region, the designs in Telia Rumal are frequently bigger and sharper. These substantially blurrier, highly sought-after ikats are very well-liked and popular. Sarees made of silk, cotton, and the silk-cotton Pochampally ikat fabric are very popular. Because both the warp and the weft threads must be tied and dyed, they require a lot of time to create.

 

Ikat from Orissa 

The majority of other warp ikat patterns are produced in the Indian state of Odisha. This type of ikat is woven in the Odisha regions of Sambalpur, Bargarh, Sonepur, and Boudh. It is also known as "bandha" in Odisha. The designs frequently feature animal motifs and curvilinear patterns, and the yarns used are fine. In this design, the weft yarns are placed on the loom after the tie-dyed yarns have been organized in a pattern. This extremely old style of ikat is also used in Indonesia to make ikat fabrics. 


Double Ikat of Patola and Pochampally

The double ikat weaving technique is used to create the most intricate and labor-intensive ikat patterns. This method is used by some weavers in Pochampally, Telangana, and Patan, Gujarat, to produce their ikat designs. The designs are more intricate and frequently feature floral, circular, and paisley patterns. The patterns seem more streamlined and precise. This weaving style is distinguished by bold geometric lines and smaller booti designs. The silk ikat weaving technique known as patola, which is popularized in Patan, Gujarat, is well-known. 

The designs are intricately crafted and progress along a single length. Since weaving authentic patolas requires significant skill and attention to detail, they are incredibly rare. While complicated patterns might take months to weave, simple ones can be completed in as little as 10 to 20 days (for one saree or 6 yards of fabric). The intricate dying and pattern-making procedures used with the delicate silk strands to create patola silk ikat patterns are regarded as achievements in textile arts.


Ikat in the Modern Times

Ikat is used to make magnificent home décor items like bed sheets, sofa covers, carpets, and more, in addition to clothing. It is quite popular in jewelry and accessories like bags. These days, necklaces in the ikat style are very popular. Regarding clothing and style, it's possible that you associate purchasing ikat with purchasing a saree rather than fabric nowadays. In fact, owning a cotton ikat saree is a necessity if you want to adopt an indie style with an ethnic and traditional flair. As formal business attire, a cotton ikat saree appears lovely and sophisticated and also happens to be simpler to keep. 

For formal and celebratory occasions, consider investing in a patola ikat because it tends to give your entire outfit a touch of sophistication. Beautiful heirlooms that you can pass down to your next generation include silk Patola ikat sarees. 

Choose cotton ikat fabric instead if you don't wear sarees but still want to wear this lovely work of textile art. For work and even traditional dos, get well-fitted tunics and kurtas tailored in ikat fabric; fusion clothing looks stunning with this material. 

Despite being centuries old, ikat art is still relevant in today's world. Investing in this distinctive textile art makes a lot of sense if you enjoy wearing ethnically stylish clothing.

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