This morning, my mom and I took stock of our Orissa ikats. We have several in our collection already, but the sale at Chetana Craft Centre was still tempting.
Have you seen an Indian ikat?
It is such an amazing piece of work! Amazing, not because of the gorgeous geometry, or the bold colours. Or how softly it drapes the body. What makes ikat incredible is all the creative imagination that goes into it even before the cloth is woven.
You see, when an ikat weaver creates a saree, he lines up the raw yarn, imagines the final design, and then colours the yarn differently in different places. And that's what creates the pattern of the saree - the sequence of colours on the thread itself.Here is how it works:
Step 1: Line up the yarn and measure it
Step 2: Cover up the portions you don't want coloured (he's using a simple black rubberband)
Step 3: Dye the uncovered portions
Step 4: So here's how it looks after dyeing - the red parts are the coloured bits, the black is uncoloured.
The colouring process is repeated, until you've coloured the entire thread with the precise colours you want.
Step 5: Unwind the thread!
Step 6: Now arrange it carefully on the loom, and weave it...the result is magic!
See why we're crazy about ikat?
Acknowledgements: The photos for this post came from sarisafari.com, onevillage.com, orissa.net and the animalrescuesite.com