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                                       Ikkat – Fine Display Of Skills And Creativity Through Colours

Ikkat is a dyeing technique involving application of dye resistant bindings in a pre-determined pattern prior to colouring of threads. The resulting creation would expectedly surface in a lyrical colour extravaganza of finesse and precision.

The logical precision, skill and art of Ikkat

The Ikat technique allows the weaver to prepare precise pattern of colors on the finished fabric by wrapping sections of the yarn with rubber strips before dipping it in select dyes. Rubber strips used for tying are a modern innovation replacing the traditional method of tying with coarse cotton thread. Bindings or substances resisting dye penetration are applied over fibres in pre-determined patterns and then threads are dyed. Alteration of bindings using more than one colour for dyeing produces multi-coloured thread effect. Removal of bindings and subsequent weaving of the threads would form the desired pattern weave.

The determining characteristic of ikat is the dyeing of patterns, by means of bindings, on the threads prior to weaving of the fabric. More the precision in the application of resist bindings, finer would be the pattern formed.

Types of ikkat

Ikkat is classified into single-ikkat and double-ikat styles.

Single Ikat fabrics are created by interweaving tied and dyed warp with plain weft, or resisted weft yarns inserted in plain weft. Double ikat involves resisting on both warp and weft and then interlacing them to form intricate yet well composed patterns.

In warp ikat the dyeing of threads would be of warp (lengthwise lay of threads) across which the plain weft (breadth wise feed of thread across the warp) is led through. In weft ikat it would be vice versa. In double ikat both warp threads and weft threads would be dyed separately and then woven together.

In warp ikat the patterns are evident on the warp lay even before the weft is introduced. Ikat created by dyeing the warp is simple as compared to the making of either weft ikat or double ikat.

The patterns that form

Patterns can be formed vertically, horizontally or diagonally. Weft ikat is preferred when the overall picture is important, not the precision of patterns. Double ikkat is even rarer and example is the Patan Patola of Gujarat. Lesser accurate or poor imitation double ikkat versions are available in the market. The artistic excellence of ikat prints can be gauged from its traditional motifs of flowers, dancing girl, creepers, leafs, parrot, animals, birds, mythological characters and geometrical patterns. Most of the ikkat printed sarees have repeated geometrical patterns of diamonds, circles, squares, lines etc.

The variety of ikat

Pochampally in Andhra Pradesh and Rajkot Patola weave of Gujarat are famous for their individual brand of ikkat sarees. Ikkat prints are trending and high fashion on a variety of fabrics like pure cotton, pure silk, georgette, crepe and supernet, to mention some. Odisha Sambalpuri and Bomkai Handlooms have their own versions fairly similar while the N East Assam and Meghalaya Handlooms sport their own kind.

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