You’ve seen it in the Paris runway shows of Italian designers, on living room sofas in American magazines, and maybe it’s on your very own bed. But if you’re anything like me, you never knew where ikat came from, or that it even had a name.
Ikat is a style of weaving which uses resist dyeing (preventing the dye from reaching all the cloth) on the threads before they are woven, so that as the cloth is woven a pattern appears. The Malay word ikat, which means “to tie” or “to bind,” describes this process. The technique is an Asian textile tradition with long histories in Central Asia, Indonesia, Southeast Asia, India, and Japan. In the 19th century, Silk Road oasis towns of Central Asia, in what is now Uzbekistan, were known for their silk ikats.
To make your own ikat, try Domino’s D-I-Y project.