Ikat, or Ikkat, is a dyeing technique used to pattern textiles that employs a resist dyeing process on the warp fibres, the weftfibres, or in the rare and costly 'double ikat' both warp and weft, prior to dyeing and weaving.
In ikat, the resist is formed by binding bundles of threads with a tight wrapping applied in the desired pattern. The threads are then dyed. The bindings may then be altered and the thread bundles dyed again with another color to produce elaborate, multicolored patterns. When the dyeing is finished the bindings are removed and the threads are woven into cloth. In other resist-dyeing techniques such as tie-dye and batik, the resist is applied to one face of the woven cloth, whereas in ikat the threads are dyed before weaving, and both faces are essentially identical in appearance.
Ikat is most characteristic of Indonesia, though ikats have also been woven in India and central Asia. Double ikats are produced in a few places including the Okinawa islands of Japan, the village of Tenganan in Bali, and the villages of Puttapaka andBhoodan Pochampally in India.
Modern designers are reinventing the Ikat, using the ancient techniques, hand drawings coupled with computers, etc. and creating unique, fresh designs. Reproduction Ikat designs allow us to use these exciting and popular patterns in ways that we could never use antique fabrics - fabrics, upholstery, gift wrap, wallpaper!