November 2012

My friend Glenys had a rusty bowl containing water in her garden. Some mulch got in and turned the water black. So she put in an old woollen blanket and went away for 2 weeks.

The result: this interesting cloth.


I came across another interesting cloth. This cloth is from Flores. It is an interesting approach to traditional ikat as every second thread is a solid colour. Ikat is achieved by binding the warp and then dyeing it before weaving. This warp has been dyed in indigo. The red/brown is morinda, a natural dye used commonly in Indonesia. I’m rather partial to dragons. This cloth is also interesting from another angle because there is quite a bit of variation in the beating and hence the spacing of the weft yarns. It is so unusual to see differences in beating on these traditional textiles. Maybe the weaver got tired. Maybe more than one person did the weaving..a daughter, a grandmother, a friend. This is apparently from an experienced weaver. The ikat is a testament to that.

I have been doing some extensive research into South East Asian textiles and have come across some interesting techniques. This textile fits into that category. ”. In the textile the blue is the same as used on the ikat and side stripe. The alternating warp thread colour is also used in some stripes. The blue in the central band appears to be a different colour because it is alternated with the brown and has the effect of muting a traditional ikat. So having analysed what makes it work, I wanted to weave a cloth with elements of the original. This is the result being woven.

Traditional textiles from South East Asia form the research of a workshop that I’ve developed titled East Meets West. This workshop will be presented at the following conferences

Fibres Ballarat, 5-13 April 2013,

Fibre Arts New Zealand, 21-27 April.

OHS, 2-5 May 2013,

ANWG, 18-22 June. www.anwg-conference-2013

As I have mentioned these events with regard to teaching, I should also mention that I will be at Contemporary Handweavers of Texas 30 May – 2 June 2013.

I am delighted that the Queensland Museum has acquired my daughter’s hand woven wedding dress (2005) for their collection. It is woven from silk and triacetate/acrylic to achieve variation in lustre. The fabric had a lovely drape and good weight. A basic eight shaft design was used for the main part of the dress and then this was then used as a block design on 24 shafts for the accent fabric that was then embellished by beading.

2 Responses to November 2012

  1. Hi Kay, nice piece, the ikat with the alternating solid thread is an old trick to stretch the effect of the ikat. Twice as much cloth with only having to tye half the weft. I’ve seem the technique in the works in Laos and Thailand. My other favorite trick I’ve seen is the left over ikat bobbins are used within the tiny stripes to create another nice eye catching effect. Both conserve the ikat and stretch the impact within the cloth and save some labor. Deb Mc

  2. kayfaulkner says:


    Thanks for sharing.

    What is amazing about this piece is the technical aspect of getting this ready to weave. It is only when you actually “do” that you truely appreciate what is involved, but you would understand that because you do similar research, working out how things are done.

    For those who would like to know more: for normal warp ikat, the warp is wound, the bits that are to stay the original colour are bound off and then the warp is dyed. It is then put on the loom and woven. Consider that these are woven on a back strap loom. Putting the dyed warp on a backstrap loom is a relatively simple process. It does however take great skill in keeping those fine patterns carefully aligned. Now this piece has additional solid colour warp threads added. On a normal treddle loom where one can have more control over separate warps it is tricky enough adding in the extra colour and maintaining pattern. You discover this by “doing”. I am in awe of these Flores weavers. They weave circular warps on their backstrap looms.The threads go around and around. One warp thread continuing on to the next. The patterned warp stay in place. Then they add in the second one. This is two circular warps together! I have yet to see them actually doing. I definitely know they use circular warps but have not 100% confirmed that they solely do circular warps. Potentially this could be a cut warp and treated in a similar manner to the one I put on my loom. I strongly suspect though that this is the traditional circular warp approach. I have yet to get to Flores to actually see and confirm. That will be another trip sometime….I hope.

    What I also enjoyed (apart from the technical aspect) in the original textile was how adding in that extra colour changed the original colour by visually colour mixing across the whole piece as well as the colour effect in the actual ikat.

    The other fascinating thing is how often a technique will surface in one part of South East Asia to the another……and let’s face it in different corners of the world.

    Deb, it’s also interesting to consider that you’ve seen this technique done as weft ikat. Now that would be so much easier to do and would certainly mean that there is twice as much cloth for effort. I know that doesn’t hold true for when it is in the warp. The quantity of binding is the same. The effort of adding in the extra warp and keeping everything aligned is huge. The only saving of time for the preparing the ikat is that you don’t have to wind as many warp threads. But you have to wind those as a separate warp anyway.


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