MATHS PHOTOGRAPHS – 2D PATTERNS – Ikat Textiles

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Ikat textiles are amongst the most beautiful geometric patterns in the world. And they are so complicated to design and create that it is a wonder that they exist at all. I have just uploaded lots of textile photographs, including about 10 ikat ones. “Ikat” means “to tie” or “to bind”.

Ikat is a resist dyeing technique where you dye the warp yarn before you weave it. Different bundles are tightly bound then dipped in the dye. These might be unbound and then rebound in a different way before being dipped in a different colour dye. All the bindings are removed at the end of the dye process then the yarn is used to weave the cloth. The weft yarns are dyed in a solid colour. Once you set up the warp yarn you can see the pattern before you start the weft design weaving. Once woven of course some of the yarn is not in exactly the right position so you get a slightly blurred effect. Famous ikat textile villages can be found in Kalimantan, Sulawesi and Sumatra. The tribal groups are Dayak, Toraja and Batak.

You can also create weft ikats. This time the weft threads are bound and dyed but it is much more difficult to weave as the design only shows once it is actually woven!

And you can even get double ikats. These textiles are created by first binding and dyeing patterns into both the warp and the weft yarn. Utterly astounding! Very few places still create these complex patterns. You can see them in Tengenan in Bali and Puttapaka and Bhoodan Villages in India.

You can find ikats also in Central and South America, Central Asia and Japan. In the 19th century, Bukhara and Samarkand in Uzbekistan were famous centres for silk ikats.