Earlier this year the Brunei Gallery hosted an exhibition on Ikat weaving.  Seeing as we have been revisiting our popular #technicaledit this week, we thought it fitting to look back at one of our favourite exhibitions of this year, which is all about the technical processes of a very different type of weaving.

Being weavers and dyers ourselves, we were fascinated by this wonderful exhibition on Ikat weaving; a traditional technique that has spread throughout the course of history, around the world.


Ikat Technique:

Warp and weft are stretched out and areas are tied off tightly with string where the dye should not take hold.  The Ikat pattern is dictated by a draft and copied using this technique of tying, The tying and dying process takes place numerous times until all the colours in the draft have been translated correctly onto the warp and weft.

The ‘Ikat effect’ is created through the slight movement of these precisely dyed warp and weft yarns during the weaving process.  Each weft is lined up exactly with the corresponding section on the warp with plain weave structure.

Not till the loom is silent
And the shuttles cease to fly
Shall God unroll the canvas
And reveal the reason why.
The dark threads are as needful
                                                                                                   In the Weaver’s skillful hand                                                                                                                                                                                                  
As the threads of Gold and Silver                                                                                                  In the pattern He has planned



Understandably Ikat is a very expensive technique to buy into and the final fabric (usually silk) is coveted by royalty and the rich. Ikat is found across Africa,  the Arab Maghreb, India and Japan.  The style of Ikat varies greatly from country to country with flamboyant pattering in India and delicate simplicity in Japan.


Image from SOAS website