Ikat Collection

The Ikat Process
The Ikat Process

In Indonesia and Malay “ikat” means, literally, to knot, and describes a tie-and-dye process employed by the archipelago’s weavers. Using cotton thread, a mock-up of the warp (horizontal threads) is constructed on a frame. Neighboring strands on the frame are then bound together using lengths of raffia-like palm-leaf fiber. The length of each knot seals a section of thread and the pattern of knots forms the intended motif. It is from these knots that the technique gets its name.

Two sets of knots are used to produce a three-color design using indigo blue and red. Further refinements of shade and hue are due to successive immersions in the dye baths and the inclusion in the dyes of other plant materials to recipes often held secret by a dyer.

Each set of threads receives up to a half-a-dozen applications of each dye and it can take several years to achieve the desired saturation and color depth (see “Read about Symbols and Dyes” above).

The weaving itself is done on a continuous-warp back-strap loom. The arrangement of the warp on the loom, around the breast and warp beams, replicates its orientation on the warping frame and recreates the intended pattern. A single-color weft is then used for weaving.