|Ikat Dupattas from Smitz Collection|
My mother sensing my awe had remarked "Ikat"!
The name itself is so global. Ikat was present in my life and I realised it is Ikat while researching on textile art. It was present in form of thick bright coloured cotton dresses commonly known as Sambalpuri cotton. Ikat made its presence felt as bed linens picked up for its geometrical patterns that broke the floral brigade and monochromes. The importance of Ikat in textile art, its contribution in cultural landscapes of countries and it's glorious history was evident to me , while i continued my research on textile arts.
I fell in love with Ikat. Why not, like countless handloom lovers, artists, designers and weavers I embraced Ikat in my life with appreciation of the amazing skill that weaving Ikat requires.
Ikat, simply put, is weaving after resist dying of yarns. If both wrap and weft are dyed and used to create patterns -its double ikat. The process involved multiple steps and Ikat weaving is highly laborious and skill driven. This art is practiced in India, Japan, South America , Central Asia and Indonesia. Double Ikat is rare as its epitome of skill. Patan in Gujarat (India) is one of centers producing Double Ikat in the world. No wonder designers like Ayush Kejriwal , Gunrang Shah have made Patan Patola star of their collections in recent years.
|Patola Ikat Saree from Jaypore.com|
|Patan Patola by Gaurang Shah Image: Gaurang Shah|
Sambalpur Ikat has strong recall in minds of general public, mostly known or called as Odisha Ikat. This is prominent in Eastern India. If you travel West , Ikat changes its source to Gujarat. Go south and Ikat is what Pochampalli or generally Andhra produces. These centers have their distinct styles and are given GI by government.
While Sambalpuri Ikat stands out for its curvilinear edges and blurriness, it's has wide range of motif directory that includes lotus, deer, shankha, scrolls, flowers and even alphabets.Gradients in dyeing adds to tonal depth.The colors range from orange-red, dull pinks, red and black to muted yellows and browns. Interestingly, the basic material for dye production - lac and indigo - is imported from neighboring states. Many designers have utilised the sambalpuri ikat in creative manner beyond its traditional usage of saris. Sujit Meher's brand Tilottama Sambalpuri aims to promote ikat from Odisha with contemporary touch.
|Sujit Meher and his Sambalpuri Ikat collection.|
For heritage and exclusivity , Patolas is gems of weaving and specifically of Ikat. Patan Ikat or Patola is famed for its rich and vibrant geometrical designs that is epitome of skill set of its weavers. Since generations, patolas has preserved in its wraps and wefts a unique design vocabulary along with weaving story par excellence. Designer Gaurang Shah has used Patolas extensively in his collections and is credited to bring these back in vogue. His Patolas combine heritage with new age vibrancy.
|Kiron Kher in Gaurang Shah's Patola collection ' Stridhan'|
Andhra Ikat started in form of it seems -well- as hanki. It traces it's roots in weaving telia rumal. Seems finer variety of telia rumals were used as veils by ladies of aristocratic families. After period of high demand, Andhra Ikat faced near extinction. Timely help of All India Handloom Board saw emergence of Nalgonda district as center of Ikat production in the state. With mass commercialisation , the uniqueness of telia rumal i.e. checks were almost lost, the Ikat of Andhra became more an imitation of Ikat of other parts of India. Andhra Ikat for few years, adapted to styles and demand but generally said to be lacking in the finesse (like of Sambalpuri) or complexity (like of Patan Patola). Pochampally as village cluster in this district is synonymous with Ikat of Andhra.Interventions from designers and various government agencies have restored few elements of traditional skill set which now sets Pochampally Ikat apart from other Ikats in it's design vocabulary.
|Ikat Dupattas from Smitz Collection 17|
Ikat is ever evolving story of textile arts, it is evergreen in style and boasts of instant connect that steams from it's strong global footprint as folk art. Ikat is power, it is fun and cheerful. It is about sober and subtle grandure.It is timeless and yet relevant. Ikat is what love of weaving is about, of discovering the strong impact that simple geometrical patterns can have. Ikat is Ikat. Own one.
Image courtesy: Google search and Author's own.