Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Rediscovering  I N D I A N   T E X T I L E S – I

Text: Hina Nitesh
We, in India, are blessed with a rich tradition of hand woven textiles. There is something typical which is crafted in each region but which is slowly being lost to the power loom. We at OTDB thought of starting with a series on rediscovering Indian textiles and bringing them to you. Hope you will enjoy the first in the series...

A red and black hand woven silk sari gifted recently by hubby dear and with which I promptly fell in love made me pick up the theme of this post – I K A T.

Image Courtesy: 1., 2.,, 4., 5 & 6.

Ikat is a style of weaving in which threads are tie and dyed before weaving. Depending on where the art form belongs to, it is either the warp or the weft or both the threads which are subjected to dyeing before weaving. 

Image Courtesy:

The term, Ikat, finds its origin in the Indonesian language and can be used to mean thread or cord or tied. This weaving technique is popular in many parts of the world and everywhere the artisan has introduced his own nuances which distinguish the fabric from different regions.

Image Courtesy:

To dye the thread and then weave patterns out of it seems such a difficult task but the skilled weavers are able to visualise patterns in threads. The accuracy of the pattern is checked before weaving by placing the threads on the loom.

Image Courtesy:

Image Courtesy:

In India, Patan in Gujarat, Odisha and Andhra Pradesh have had a rich tradition of weaving Ikat fabrics. In Gujarat, the process involves the warp and weft threads both being tied and dyed resulting in double Ikat. 

Image Courtesy:
The artisans from Gujarat migrated centuries ago to present day Odisha and Andhra Pradesh and discovered newer techniques. They dye either the warp or the weft thread. The time consuming process resulted in exquisite products which only the royalty could afford. In an effort to preserve the craft, the Rajkot Ikat was born where either the warp or the weft is tied and dyed. This decreases the time consumed to make the fabric and so affordable for the common man. But the patterns are not as intricate as they once were.

Image Courtesy:

The Indian weavers incorporate motifs from nature that they see around them. It is common to see peacocks, elephants, fish, trees, flowers and geometric squares. Some motifs especially in saris from Odisha are inspired by temple spires from the architecture of the region. 

Image Courtesy: 1., 2., 3.

These days though, the traditional sari is undergoing change courtesy designer inputs which explore more than the traditional weavers

Image Courtesy: 1&3., 2.

Meanwhile, around the world too the designer fraternity is in love with the feathered Ikat patterns. 

Image Courtesy: 1., 2.

The result is that the fabric is used by many designers to showcase their collections. 

Image Courtesy: 1. thefashionables,com 2.

Image Courtesy: 1.,,, 4., 5., 6. couplehome at
Ikat fabrics find a place of pride in homes in the form of curtains, table linen, lamp shades and other home accessories.
Image Courtesy: 1., 2., 3., 4.

Image Courtesy:, 2., 3., 4.

Some even take the fascination a bit too far like...

Image Courtesy:

Image Courtesy:

Do you have Ikat (it could be any form)? 

Image Courtesy:, 2., 3, 4., 5. chd-relaunch.chdmag com, 6.

Send us photographs showcasing how Ikat products are a part of your life. We would love to publish a select few in our blog. So keep us posted.

Text & creative layout copyrights: Onthedesignboat   

"Like" our facebook page & stay connected with On the Design Boat  
Also stand a chance to win a fabulous Giveaway!