Hand-Woven Ikat Textiles

Posted on May 01, 2013 by Candace Whalen | 0 Comments


We traveled, this year, to eastern India—to the states of Andhra Pradesh and Orissa—in search of hand-woven ikat fabrics.

An Ikat Weaver

Ikat Fabric

Ikat Fabric

This lush, green country is rich in agriculture, especially rice.  It's also famous for beautiful and historic temple architecture.

Rice Fields In Orissa

Agriculture in Andhra Pradesh

10th Century Mukteshwar Temple in Bhubaneshwar, Orissa

Carving Of Nagarani, the Snake Queen, on the 11th Century Raja Rani Temple in Bhubaneshwar, Orissa

India's artisan-crafted ikat is produced in rural towns and villages.

An Ikat Village.  Dyed Threads Lie in the Foreground

Ikat Weaver Working in his Home

Ikat is a resist dyeing and weaving technique.  It's distinguished by the fact that the threads are dyed before the fabric is woven.  As a result, the edges of the design's motifs have a characteristic blurred appearance.  Some ikat designs are simple, while others are quite complex.  In genuine ikat, weaving is done by hand and requires skill to maintain the pattern's register.  

Ikat Weaver at his Loom

The design can be dyed onto either the warp threads or the weft threads (single ikat) or occasionally onto both (double ikat).

Dyed Warp Threads Await Weaving

Dyed Weft Threads Being Prepared for Weaving

Loom Set Up with Dyed Warp Threads

Double Ikat

Unlike jacquard weaving, ikat's motif and background colors are the same on both sides of the fabric.

Showing the Two Identical Sides of an Ikat Fabric

Most ikat weavers work at home, using looms that they have made themselves.

Ikat Weaver

Many thanks to our friend, Kiran Mohan, who introduced us to ikat weavers in western Orissa.  You can read about life in rural Orissa and ikat weavers in his charming blog:

Kiran Mohan, Author of "Barpali Days," Wearing an Ikat Shirt

Posted in Andra Pradesh, diy, fabric, home decor, Indian Destinations

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