The Vision of Ikat at J&O

Ikat is a unique dyeing technique originating from Indonesia and used to pattern textiles that employ resist dyeing on the yarns prior to dyeing and weaving the fabric. Once used to symbolize wealth and prestige, the textile is now a popular textile fashion trend with celebrities and hipsters alike thanks to the work of traditional Indian artisans and inspired textile designers like Vision Textiles.

In ikat the resist is formed by binding individual yarns or bundles of yarns with a tight wrapping applied in the desired pattern. The yarns are then dyed. The bindings may then be altered to create a new pattern and the yarns dyed again with another color. This process may be repeated multiple times to produce elaborate, multicolored patterns. When the dyeing is finished all the bindings are removed and the yarns are woven into cloth. In other resist-dyeing techniques such as tie-dye and batik the resist is applied to the woven cloth, whereas in ikat the resist is applied to the yarns before they are woven into cloth. Because the surface design is created in the yarns rather than on the finished cloth, in ikat both fabric faces are patterned.

ikat abbeyshea jandofabrics

image courtesy: jando fabrics

A characteristic of ikat textiles that allows it to stand out from the rest is an apparent “blurriness” to the design. The fuzzy or blurry quality of the design is telltale distinction due to the virtual impossibility of binding, dying and then lining up the pre-dyed yarns with perfect precision. This blurriness can be reduced by using finer yarns or by the skill of the craftsperson. Ikats with little blurriness, multiple colors, and complicated patterns are more difficult to create and therefore often more expensive. However, this distinctive design quality is so characteristic of ikat that is is often prized by textile collectors and designers alike.

photo courtesy: jandofabrics

To determine if a fabric is “real” handmade ikat, look at the back of the fabric, handmade ikat will always have the pattern on both sides because the dying happens before it is woven. Additionally, each handmade ikat piece will have unique imperfections, all shapes will be slightly different in size, and the pattern will not repeat precisely. Modern manufacturers like Vision Textiles have found ways to emulate these designs without the painstaking process, making ikat-inspired prints more available and affordable. 

Ikat textiles can be found adorning walls, floors, beds, and chairs while offering a contemporary global or indie look to your home or body decor.

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Inspired by the look ? Visit JandO Fabrics for beautiful inspired Ikat fabrics and more from our Vision Collection today.

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