Decor and Fashion Connect in Traditional Textile Techniques

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In my recent blog post in which I showed a few some images of  the “Decor and Fashion” connection, I presented a brief description of the intricate dye-and-weave process knows as “Ikat.”

The Dyer's Art: Ikat, Batik, Plangi

Shown: my own well-worn copy of this wonderful reference book.

Now, for those of you who have an interest in what’s behind the fashion aspect, I’m happy to introduce two wonderful books on the subject of Ikat, and other traditional dye techniques.

The Dyer’s Art is an exciting compendium of many resist-dye techniques.  The author, Jack Lenor Larsen, is a renowned designer, artist, and authority on weaving.

“Resist” dyeing is most recognizable in it’s most simplistic form as the good-old “tie dye’ of the 60’s and even more recently in it’s rebirth in the funky-trendy mode.
My own definition: What it refers to technically is any process by which yarns, woven textiles, or other materials are bound, coated, or otherwise treated to “resist” application of, or immersion in, a dye or other colorant.

Whether your familiarity with Resist dyeing is from that mode, or in batik (wax), or other, less familiar methods like  “Plangi” and “Arashi Sibori” and others,  Resist techniques are fascinating. For me, it’s been a long time interest, since I first started experimenting with textile design and art-to-wear, in the late 70’s. I’ve been an admirer of Mr. Larsen since I first heard of him!

Pages 224 and 225 illustrate making a traditional “Double Ikat” textile in Bali: creating an intricate tied-and-dyed design on the warped threads, right on the loom, before the weaving is even begun.

The Dyer's Art - page 224
The Dyer's Art - page 225
The Dyer's Art - Jack Lenor Larsen

Beautiful! Pages 174-175, if you get the book.

Less technical,  Ikat Textiles of India, Chelna Desai presents an entire book of beautiful examples of more contemporary fashion applications in addition to traditional Ikat method. While Larsen explores Ikat with a global view, Desai focuses on Indian Ikat work. This beautiful book is illustrated with images of Ikat textiles from many private collections in India.

Ikat Textiles of India, by Chandra Desai

Hundreds of traditional and contemporary examples of Indian Ikat

You can check out both of these volumes through our own Design Library.

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