Saturday, August 29, 2009

Ikat Sarees

Ikat Sarees

Orissa is famous for its unique Ikat Silk sarees. Ikat is a process of creating patterns on the yarn used for weaving, by tying and dyeing it. The silk used in the weaving is locally produced. These sarees have an extraordinary metallic finish. The borders feature heavy embroidery, while the ‘pallu’ (falling edge of the saree) contains geometric patterns created with ikat dyeing. The centuries old weaving process for the Ikat Silk sarees is complicated. The tools are of primitive nature. The outlines of the designs are traced on a paper for the weaver’s reference. Based on these outlines, the yarn threads are laid down in the required length. Knots are made on specific points of the threads, to form dye resists, according to the patterns. The threads are dyed, along with the knots, in single or multiple colors. The knotted sections of the threads are not affected by the dye. This gives rise to the required color combination on the yarn. Following the removal of knots, the yarn is attached to the spools of the loom and the cloth is woven. The multicolored yarn gives rise to beautiful patterns on the cloth.

Ikat Technique

In the ikat technique, which is also called tie and dye method, the designs in various colors are formed on a fabric either by the warp threads or the weft threads (single ikat) or by both (double ikat). In single ikat fabrics, the warp or weft threads which are tied and dyed as per design are to be positioned accurately in proper sequence in weaving as required by the design and its color scheme.

In India, the production of ikat fabrics is mainly concentrated in the states of Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Orissa. The ‘bandhas’ or ikat fabrics of Orissa have a distinct native identity. In contrast to the imposing, mosaic like appearance of the ‘patola’ of Gujarat and geometrical forms of Andhra Pradesh, the appearance of designs and forms of Orissa have a soft curvilinear quality. Also, the effect achieved by the addition of extra weft threads woven beside the ikat areas, gives the ‘bandhas’ a uniquely rich texture.

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