Specialty fabrics often add the flair or punch to a fabulous room design. At the recent fall High Point market those specialty fabrics frequently came from ikats and susanis.
The word “ikat” means “to bind.” It is a very ancient way of creating designs in fabric by resist-dyeing (a bit like tie-dying) the threads before the fabric is woven. In Thailand, villagers take the weft (crosswise filling threads) and tie tiny bits of plastic onto the threads.
The tightly tied areas of thread, when put into the dye pot, resist the color and create a pattern, once the plastic ties are removed. Traditional Thai ikat cottons are often indigo-dyed in lively and engaging motifs representing the village life and beliefs of the people.
Modern Thai ikats in cotton and silk are brightly colored with good imported chemical or natural dyes.
In fact, Carole Sloan writing in Furniture Today said that many of the new ikats “in their latest interpretations evoke almost a Native American feel”. Using this process with newer fabric design and fresh colors can provide a wonderful mix of traditional feel and contemporary fashion. Take a look at the incredible black lacquered chairs shown here with a vibrant ikat fabric. Wow.