The Ikats: a tale of this mighty weave
Fabric-lovers across the globe are not strangers when it comes to ikat. While the origins of this textile remain a mystery, today it is found across the globe with its own distinct characteristics. Ikat got its name from the resist dye technique used to make its patterns; if you look closely, it often looks like a blend of colours, flowing into one another, looking majestic.
From Central and South East Asia to China, Japan, the Middle East, West Africa, and Latin America, ikat fabrics have found home around the world. But in Uzbekistan, a nation known for its iconic mosques, mausoleums and its connection with the Silk Route, ikat holds a special spot: the fabric is symbol of prestige.
The local name for ikat is abr meaning “cloud” in Persian, since the patterns look exactly like light clouds floating in the sky and reflected in the water of a river. Uzbeki silk Ikats have large, brilliantly coloured motifs with a depth and dimension that originates from the natural vegetable dyes and hand tied yarns that bleed during the multiple tie and dye process.Interestingly, UzbekiIkat was also a part of Russian national dress as a valuable and exotic textile since Uzbekistan is a former Soviet republic.
History states that the ancient art of silk weaving had a rebirth after 1991 when Uzbekistan gained independence. But, a few decades before that Sophia Loren appeared in an ikat dress on the cover of Vogue magazine in 1966. While Uzbekistan continues to change as it finds its place in the modern era, but one thing is certain– ikats will continue to play a huge part in Uzbek life and culture.
Ikats Around The World
Uzbekiikat has a charm of its own, but there are many patterns and colors from around the world.
Indonesia boasts of warp Ikat in this technique only the warp yarns are dyed using the ikat technique.The ikat pattern is clearly visible in the warp yarns wound onto the loom even before the weft is woven in. They are found in Kalimantan, Sulawesi, and Sumatra.
The ikat in Laos goes back to the 18th century and is referred to as mat mee. Its motifs include diamonds, or “lantern” shapes which are used for shoulder cloths or funeral cloths.
And India is no stranger to the magnificent weaves and colours of ikat. Home to many skilled weavers, India produces double ikat fabric. The iconicPatola is made with fine silk and was historically donned by kings and wealthy merchants. Andhra Pradesh is famous for Pochampally Ikats with its red, black and white colour, diamond and flower patterns. Ikat from Odisha called Bandhas are visualized and inspired from Lord Vishnu’s symbolic forms with motifs likeelephants, lotus, fish and Rudraksha.
Designer Madeline Weinrib has once said, ‘Ikat is not a print, it’s an heirloom”
Today, ikat has been adapted and modernized by artists and creators around the world. The color palette has changed but the designs remain true to its heritage. From just another story of six yards, ikat has steadily moved subtle glamour and home décor.
What makes ikat so diverse and popular is that it is simply a beautiful fabric.Ikat patterns look elegant and exotic: they make spaces cosy and chic. Most importantly, the fabric comes with a legacy and history of its own; whether it is Uzbekistan ikat or ikat from another part of the world, it will always addlife to any home space.
The bright colours with bold patterns and interesting weaves add a splash of culture to living rooms and bed rooms alike. One can warm up their minimalist bedroom with just a throw of ikat cushions with its fascinating patterns and bright colours.
Ikat is now a home trend that has seamlessly fitted into home décor; it is now a classic piece with its touch of history, and fits into every home, every décor theme with ease.
VLiving gave its ode to this timeless craft with a little twist by designing Ikat print collection in pastel hues and contrastingly designed ikat embroidered pillows in pure silk in vibrant colours