Ikat, a fascinating traditional technique
Ikat textiles have a unique, unmistakable charm. At the touch, the fabric is soft, yet decidedly textured. To look at, they are positively mesmerising.
The name ‘Ikat’ comes from a Malay word meaning to tie or to bind. The name encapsulates the elaborate process behind the realisation of this unique fabric. The traditional manufacturing technique consists of marking, tying and resist dyeing the design into the yarn before the fabric is woven to create its characteristic vibrancy of colour and pattern.
The process begins with the yarn that is tightly wrapped together and worked into bundles. The design is planned in advanced and realised by extremely skilled craftsmen, by marking bundles and tying them in correspondence of the pattern. The bundles are dyed as many times as required to create the desired pattern.
This process is different because the yarns are dyed before being woven into cloth. As a result, the pattern will be perfectly visible on both sides of the cloth.
Once the yarns have been dyed and dried, the weaver lines them up on the loom to form the pattern. The design unfolds as the yarn is woven into cloth. This is an incredibly complex process: the experienced weaver must precisely dye the threads and place them correctly onto the loom in order to obtain the correct pattern when woven.
For our Inle Heritage Ikat Shawl, we decided to blend with the ikat techniques, which is traditionally made in silk, with our signature Lotus fabric worked entirely by hand in our workshops on the Inle Lakes in Myanmar.
The result is a richly textured, smooth, broken strata of colour that makes a comfortably dense, yet light wrap as well as a luscious home accessory.