A Tradition of Finesse and Craftsmanship

 A Tradition of Finesse and Craftsmanship

Although several traditional Odishan sarees are used during weddings; Ikkat pattu sarees as well as Nuapatni sarees are very popular among modern brides. These designs originate from Bargarh and are available in a wide variety of colors. They can indeed become a beautiful part of any bridal trousseau. The Ikat technique allows the weaver to prepare precisely the pattern of colors on the finished fabric by wrapping sections of the yarn with rubber strips before dipping it in select dyes. The rubber strips used for tying are a modern innovation replacing the traditional method of tying with coarse cotton thread. Bindings or substances resisting dye penetration are applied over the fibres in pre-determined patterns and then the threads are dyed.

Alteration of bindings and using more than one colour for dyeing produces a multi-coloured thread effect. Removal of bindings and subsequent weaving of the threads would form the desired pattern woven in the fabric. The determining characteristic of ikat is the dyeing of patterns, by means of bindings, on the threads prior to weaving of the fabric. More the precision in the application of the resist bindings, finer would be the pattern formed.

Ikkat is classified into single ikkat silk Sarees  and double-ikat styles. Single Ikat fabric are created by interweaving tied and dyed warp with plain weft, or resisted weft yarns is inserted in plain weft. Double ikat involves the process of resisting on both warp and weft and then interlacing them to form intricate yet well composed patterns.

In warp ikat the dyeing of the threads would be of the warp (lengthwise lay of threads) across which the plain weft (breadth wise feed of thread across the warp) is led through. In weft ikat it would be vice versa. In double ikat both warp threads and weft threads would be dyed separately and then woven together.

In warp ikat the patterns are evident on the warp lay even before the weft is introduced. Ikat created by dyeing the warp is simple as compared to the making of either weft ikat or double ikat.

Patterns can be formed vertically, horizontally or diagonally. Weft ikat is preferred when it is the overall picture that is important, not the precision of the patterns. Double ikkat is even rarer and an example is the Patan Patola of Gujarat. Less accurate or poor imitation double ikkat versions are available in the market.

The artistic excellence of ikat prints can be gauged from its traditional motifs of flowers, dancing girl, creepers, leafs, parrot, animals, birds, mythological characters and geometrical patterns. Most of the ikkat printed sarees have repeated geometrical patterns of diamonds, circles, squares, lines etc.