IKAT AND TIE DYES
Ikat is the commonly used word to describe a method of yarn resist dyeing and the basic process is known to have existed in India for at least 1500 years. Bundles of yarn are tightly bound with threads or strips of rubber to cover the areas that will eventually form the pattern. After tying the yarn is fully immersed in a dye bath where the dye penetrates the exposed yarn and leaves the protected areas undyed. For multicolour effects the process is repeated. When rinsed and dried the ties are removed and the yarn is fed on to the loom in a strictly controlled order ready for weaving. This basic process is simple enough but is extremely time consuming; a well controlled pattern requires great skill and attention to detail. Once set up, the weaving of a warp Ikat is simple and fast. Although there are virtually endless pattern opportunities working with a tie-dyed warp the maximum effect of this technique is achieved by tie-dyeing both warp and weft. This doubles the amount of tie-dyeing and slows down the weaving as the weaver has to adjust virtually every weft insertion to ensure a good pattern alignment.
Bandhani is the Indian word for the more basic form of tie-dye. Small areas of plain cloth are tightly bound with cotton thread; the cloth is then immersed in a dye bath and after drying, the ties are removed to reveal the pattern formed by the contrast between the dyed and undyed areas. This process is one of the oldest and widely practised methods of applying pattern and colour to textiles. Examples have been found in South America dating back to the first century BC and there is some evidence that the method was practised in Asia several centuries before that.
Like many techniques there are interpretations and much of the current production is very specifically produced for the Indian home market. We started working with a small family unit with a view to developing a selection of patterns that we think will have wider acceptance. This is probably the most labour intensive of all the products in our range and our prices have to reflect the costs of this intricate work.
APPLIQUE & EMBROIDERY
All of this work is carried out by the womenfolk of various villages in Gujarat and western Rajasthan. Working at home and surrounded by children, chickens and goats this is a very real cottage industry.all of the work is hand sewn and the applique pieces are all hand cut.
The word durry is a phonetic approximation of a Hindi/Urdu word describing a woven cotton rug or mat.
They are all hand woven and traditionally use the tapestry style of weaving where the pattern is achieved by colour contrasts in the weft.
A wide variety of designs and qualities are possible and consequently a huge variation in prices. This sometimes seems surprising when they are all classified as durries. Costs vary according to weight, quality of raw materials, intricacy of pattern and of course size.
It is very easy and tempting to make cheap durries; however the market is very saturated at this level and we have concentrated on design, quality and good colouring. We use only fast colours, the best quality yarns available and highly skilled weavers.
Our " top-end" durries are in terms of quality and consistency as good as any to be found on the market and are exclusive to The Indian Collection.
At the other end of the scale are our low cost simple designs which have great texture and represent great value.