Want to add a traditional yet contemporary look to your wardrobe or your home décor? Look no further. Ikat is an age old dying technique which produces beautiful fuzzy designs on cloth. The history of ikat is as fuzzy as the pattern itself. It is referred to as a resist dye technique, but unlike those such as batik and tie dye where the entire woven fabric is dyed, in ikat the yarn is first tied and dyed, and then woven into a fabric. It is for this reason that the fabric produced after being woven has the design on both sides of rather than just one. The blurry pattern emerges since it is very tough to keep the yarn threads in place while being woven. It is a labor intensive task and it requires an extremely skilled artisan to produce this design. In fact if it is done by the traditional hand woven method, it can take up to 1-2 years to produce it!
It is not clear where the art form emerged from, however most historians claim that the design has emerged from countries in south east asia such as Japan, China, and Indonesia. In fact, the term ikkat has been derived from an Indonesian word which means tie. Thus while the technique is not indigenous to India, it must have found its way to India through the ancient trade routes. In India, places like Pochampally in Telangana and Sambhalpur in Orissa are known for producing textiles with this technique. However, apart from these places, there are various other communities living in India which practice this ancient art. Ikat produced in Gujrat is referred to as Patola. The place Patan in Gujrat is known for the extremely painstaking technique of double ikat, where both the warp yarn and weft yarn are resist dyed before being woven. This technique produces beautiful and intricate patterns, and is unlike the ones produced in either Pochampally or Sambhalpur.
While the traditional technique was usually used to produce traditional silk sarees, ikat is now being employed in contemporary wear as well, and adds an ethnic touch to it. It is necessary to bridge the gap between traditional and modern clothing so that beautiful art forms such as ikat and the artisans who produce them continue to survive. Thankfully, ikat retains its timelessness and can be found on everything right from kurtas and crop tops to upholstery, bags, and jutis.
Here are a few ways you can incorporate this beautiful piece of art in your life:
There are certain days we feel like wearing a saree, and why not? It is a graceful piece of clothing which exudes femininity and elegance. One does not necessarily need an occasion to wear a saree. But most people steer clear of it on a daily basis. It is true that certain sarees may not be very well suited to wear casually. For instance, traditional silk ikat sares may seem a bit too much if you plan to wear it to office. For such occasions cotton ikat sarees are perfect. It is casual and at the same time gracious. If not a saree, a mere cotton ikat blouse can do wonders to a plain cotton saree.
The use of fabric with vibrant ikat prints on sofas and chairs can be found incorporated in the interiors designed by some of the most popular interior designers. A simple chair in a colorful ikat fabric can transform a dull living room into a vibrant artistic haven. However, one needs to make sure to not overdo the print. Do not have your entire furniture with the same printed upholstery since all those prints could not be very pleasant to look at. A single piece of furniture in ikat is sufficient, and must complement the rest of the colours. You could also get ikat cushion covers in bright colors to bring out beige or cream sofas
Confused about what curtains to put up in your living room or bed room? Cotton ikat curtains could be the answer. It goes especially well with minimalistic interior designs. The ikat print on a white or off white base and a solid colored pattern could add brightness to the room. The fuzziness in the print gives off a raw and creative vibe and such a piece will remain timeless.
Contemporary fabric juttis have become extremely popular. Most of these juttis are extremely soft and cushiony and unlike the hard leather ones of the yester year. These can be worn along with a kurta and palazzo to add some color to the outfit. It can also be worn with contemporary wear such as cotton dresses or a cotton top and jeans.
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