Tuesday, November 15, 2011

What is Ikat?

For sev­eral years now, ikat has been pop­u­lar in the design world, appear­ing in rooms both tra­di­tional and mod­ern. A dash of ikat – at the win­dows, in pil­lows or uphol­stery – lends an exoti­cism that few other fab­rics can con­vey. Whether in more typ­i­cal eth­nic col­ors or in the vibrant shades mod­ern tex­tile design­ers have brought to the fore, ikat shows no sign of wan­ing in pop­u­lar­ity – a relief to those of us who love its sense of mys­tery. What other fab­ric so eas­ily rep­re­sents a well-traveled life?
[ee-kaht], in case you were won­der­ing about the pro­nun­ci­a­tion, is a method of print­ing woven fab­ric by tie-dyeing the warp yarns (warp ikat), the weft yarns (weft ikat), or both (dou­ble ikat) before weav­ing. The name also includes the fab­ric made by this method.  Ikat pat­terns appear in cul­tures as diverse as Japan, Indone­sia, Malaysia, Guatemala, Turkey, and India.
I love ikat for the home, par­tic­u­larly for the sense of punc­tu­a­tion it can bring to a vari­ety of room styles. It’s ver­sa­tile enough to play well with other pat­terns or stand alone as a state­ment against neu­trals and solids.

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