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What is Ikat? Wikipedia defined Ikat as “a dyeing technique used to pattern textiles that employ a resist dyeing process on the yarns prior to dyeing and weaving the fabric”. It is a centuries old traditional fabric with hand-dyed technique using a resist dying and woven method.

For Ikat, they are individual yarns or bundles of yarns that are bind together to form the resist and the desired pattern; it is achieved with a tight wrapping applied on them. A typical Ikat textile is characterized by apparent "blurriness" in the design. The blurriness is a resultant effect of the exertion of the weaver in lining up the dyed yarns in an effort to make the pattern come out perfectly in the finished product. The blurriness can however be reduced by the skill of the craftsman/woman when finer yarns are used.

The dyeing technique used in Ikat fabric weaving varies widely. Many have ethnic, ritual or symbolic meaning while some are being developed for export trade. Conventionally, Ikat fabrics are signs of class, status, wealth, power and prestige for those who use it. The reason is due to the time and complexity of skill immersed in its weaving making it outstanding among fabrics.

Ikat is very unique owing to the fact that the resist is applied to the yarns before they are woven into clothe, where in both fabric faces are patterned. While in other resist-dyeing techniques such as tie-dye and batik, the resist is directly applied to the woven clothe. This makes Ikat’s style come out marvelously and great to behold for the sight.

Ikat Fabric Samples

All over the world, from India, Central Asia, Southeast Asia to Japan including Africa and Latin America Ikat fabrics is produced with different techniques and specifications. But it is Ikat fabrics from Uzbekistan that is still reigning, becoming the hit in fashion and interior design industries lately. They are more popular for their large and bold Ikat patterns.

Another uniqueness of Ikat is its universal weaving style that is common to several cultures of the world. This is adjudged to be one of the oldest forms of textile ornament. Its popularity this day is beyond measure and tis will last for a very long time no doubt, as the beauty always amaze people.

Ikat fabrics can be used in several ways for a variety of things like chic Ikat upholstery fabric and Ikat curtains. It can also be used as Ikat pillow covers, Ikat throws and Ikat quilt all for beautification and comfort.

Care of Ikat Fabrics

Good dry cleaner: Good dry cleaners that will not use harsh chemical must always be allowed to handle your cloth. Vacuuming frequently is also an advantage because you won't have to dry clean often.

Treat spills promptly: Spill on your fabric must be treated as a matter of urgency gently with dry absorbent cloth. Rubbing will damage the cloth, so do not rub. You can also blot spills with a clean white cloth or plain paper towel.

Washing: When washing your Ikat fabrics in the machine, wash separately in cold water with mild detergent and no bleach. Spin at low setting or line dry.

0 Comments | Posted By UzbekAlive

If you are searching high and low for the best ikat fabric, then look no further, you've certainly arrived at the best destination for the most fantastic deals available anywhere. There's no doubt about the surge in popularity of ikat fabrics in the past few years. The trend is definitely here to stay, for good reason too, they are just amazing. The beauty of the ikat fabric leaves people stunned. Let's share a little information about the process behind these beautiful ikat fabrics to help untangle some of the mystique.

The gorgeous fabrics are formed by binding individual yarns or bundles of yarns with a tight wrapping applied in the preferred pattern. The yarns are then dyed accordingly. The bindings may then be changed to create new patterns and the yarns dyed again with another color. This way, you can use all kinds of color combinations for remarkable results. This process may be repeated multiple times to produce elaborate multicolored patterns that will stun everyone. When the dyeing is completed all the bindings are removed and the yarns are woven into clothe.

In other resist-dyeing techniques such as tie-dye and batik the resist is applied to the woven cloth, whereas in ikat the resist is applied to the yarns before they are woven into cloth. Because the surface design is created in the yarns rather than on the finished cloth, in ikat both fabric faces are patterned. The style and beauty of the end result is truly a miraculous sight to behold.

An important characteristic of ikat textiles is an apparent "blurriness" to the design. The blurriness is a result of the extreme complications the weavers has lining up the dyed yarns so that gorgeous patterns come out perfectly and uniquely in the completed cloth. The blurriness can then be minimized by using finer yarns or by the skill of the craftsperson. Ikats with little blurriness, multiple colors and complicated patterns are more difficult to create and therefore also bite more into your wallet, but its well worth it.

However, the blurriness that is so characteristic of ikat is often highly sought after by textile collectors. If you are looking for the best quality fabric of artisanal textile heritage of Uzbekistan, then we would appreciate this opportunity to service your needs. Check out our wide selection of UzbekAlive ikats and ikat related products such as ikat quilts, ikat pillow covers, silk ikat scarves and ikat porcelain bowls.

For the more adventurous folks, you may also want to check out awesome eclectic finds such as hand embroidered suzani and hand painted jewelry boxes which are based on gorgeous Islamic mosaics and murals and transforming them into very appealing décor items. You will be astounded at the ingenuity of techniques used to produce such stunning quality and beauty. The surging love affair with ikat fabrics is sure to continue. Take full advantage of this opportunity to start building or adding to your collection today, check out affordable ikat fabrics available at a real bargain.

0 Comments | Posted By UzbekAlive

Vintage Uzbek porcelain

5/5/2015 9:06 AM

It is with much joy we open European or American decoration magazines and find things that belong to our part of the world. This time it was French edition of Art&Decoration (March 2015 edition) that put a big smile on our faces by featuring a vintage porcelain teapot from Uzbekistan. A paisley design teapot belongs to the late Soviet era, thus, is considered vintage. Finding these teapots is a matter of luck and persistent hunts in flee markets and antique stores.  As with many other things, we have only one 500ml teapot available for sale here

Uzbekistan vintage porcelain teapot

0 Comments | Posted By UzbekAlive

"Ikat + Burlap" collection

4/21/2015 8:39 AM

About a year ago in our travels in Sicily we came across a coffee shop “ Ideal Caffe” in the historic part of Palermo.  We stopped by to buy some coffee where we saw coffee bags made of burlap. We weren’t quite sure at that point what we wanted to do with the coffee bean bags but we knew we wanted one.  The seller, a very kind gentleman, gave us two large bags for free – grazie mille!

Ideal Caffe Stagnitta Palermo Sicily   Ideal Caffe Stagnitta Palermo Sicily
"Ideal Caffe Stagnitta" , a coffee shop in the historic zone of Palermo , where we received our first two coffee bean bags as a gift

 

Over the year we  played with a few ideas, used the bags in several styling sessions (you may see them on some photos on the website) and eventually it dawned on us – why not make a ikat+burlap large throw pillow that could be used for sitting on the floor or a cushion to spice up eco-friendly interiors.

We are testing the waters by introducing a few pilot products in our “Ikat+Burlap” collection. Please let us know what you think about them by sending us a message or by leaving a comment in a review field.

Ikat fabric and coffee bean burlap pillow throw collection

 

 

0 Comments | Posted By UzbekAlive

Ikat pattern matching service

3/10/2015 12:57 AM

UzbekAlive ikat pattern matching service

Ikat fabrics, just like any other fabrics with a pattern, have a pattern repeat. Given that handloom woven ikats are narrow, often times, for projects that require wider width of fabric,  the pattern needs to be matched.  For example, you want to use ikats for making curtains – 2 panels, 80cm wide, 3 meters long. Buying a little over 12 meters of 45cm wide fabric will not work for you. Why? Because you need to match the ikat pattern for your curtains and that pattern repeat may vary.

This being said, we are making it official here in this blog that we do offer the ikat pattern matching service. We have been doing this for our customers who, from our conversations, appeared unsure as to how much of the fabric to buy and we will continue doing this.  

What’s the benefit? You only pay for the fabric you really need, what’s left from the middle pieces we use for our own projects. Win-win situation for all of us!

1 Comments | Posted By UzbekAlive

Pantone institute of color announced “Marsala” Pantone 18-1348 as a color of 2015. The name “Marsala” derives from a sweet but stromg wine produced in small Sicilian town with the same name in a vicinity of Palermo, Italy.

To celebrate the warm, deep and rich Marsala color we created a special Marsala collection to which we will be adding more Marsala inspired products throughout the year.

Marsala Ikat collection - UzbekAlive celebrating a color of the year

 

0 Comments | Posted By UzbekAlive

Last week, as I was riding a train I happened to be sitting to a woman who was travelling to Paris. We first started talking about the duration of her trip, then slowly moved onto ikat fabrics (I had my ikat bag with me), Uzbekistan and eventually come to a topic of rugs. She told me she designed rugs. I mentioned I know silk rug dealers who can probably introduce her to rug makers to work on her designs.

We exchanged emails and she wrote down the name of her gallery.  Before this piece of paper vanished in my recycle bin, I went on to google her works and found out I was talking to an author of beautiful works. Meet Luisa Zanibelli!

 

Coffee table by Luisa Zanibelli

 

 Copper embrossed and brassed coffee table

 

Brass and mirrored and colored glass

0 Comments | Posted By Uzbek Alive

This documentary is a great introduction into artisanal and cultural soul of Uzbekistan. There is a part of the movie where they talk about making ikats and a love legend behind it.

The documentary was filmed in 2014 by Russian cinema production company and for now is available in Russian only. I will keep an eye out for a version with English subtitles and will share it as soon as it is available.
 

0 Comments | Posted By Uzbek Alive

Why Uzbek ikats are so narrow?

10/3/2014 8:57 AM

I just got off the phone with a gentleman who is looking into buying ikat fabrics from us and one of the topics we got into was a narrow width of Uzbek ikats. Here we got into a history of how in the Soviet days, when there was no such thing as a private business, the production of ikat textiles was in the hands of the government and the production was industrialized in a sense there were industrial scale weaving machines. However, even those machines could not make a fabric wider than 90 centimeters. Why not? Because old Soviet industrialized looms were limited to 90 cm!

The collapse of the Soviet Union and the opening up of the market revived artisanal craftsmanship. Fabrics that were made in big factories started being produced by artisans at home on hand looms, which are narrow.  To these day most of ikats made in Uzbekistan are made on hand looms. 

To answer the question as to whether the Uzbek ikats can be made in width greater than 90 cm, I had to drill ikat gurus with my endless questions and have to report that, sadly, "no" is the answer. There have been attempts to try weaving ikats on wider looms that were imported from India - another ikat making culture - and unfortunately, in trials, it was discovered that the quality of Uzbek silk is not suitable for wider loom weaving. 

This conversation reminded me of pre-1991 era photos which I received not long ago from an ikat maker in Margilan. Here we go – black and white photos from the old days. 

 

Uzbek SSR silk ikat fabric production

Sorting out silk cocoons


Ikat fabric making in Uzbek SSR

Young woman weaving


Soviet textile factory

Soviet textile factory


Uzbekistan's textile heritage - ikat making

Textile factory in USSR days, city of Margilan



0 Comments | Posted By Uzbek Alive

There is something simple and natural  about the beauty of ceramic. A few weeks ago, at an exhibition,  we met an amazing ceramic master Bakhtoyor Nazirov. The beauty and the quality of his work is so pure and inspiring,  If you happen to be in Rishtan, Uzbekistan, you will immersed in a small world of ceramic, that's what the city is famous for. Make sure you ask for a house of Bakhtiyour Nazirov and enjoy his ceramic works as well as a typical Fergana hospitality where courtesy to guests takes a special place in the culture. 

Here is a quick intro to Uzbekistan ceramic traditions - Rishtan or Gijduvan (near Bukhara, Uzbekistan) – these are two ceramic Meccas of Uzbekistan. The distinction between the two is very easy - Rishtan ceramics are bright blue, as if taking inspiration from the clear sky. Gujdivan ceramics are in yellow, green and golden hues as if inspired by the autumn.

 

Rishtan ceramics

"Fish" shaped ceramic plates

 

 

 

Rishtan ceramic from Uzbekistan

Handmade ceramic works are usually signed by a ceramic master. 




Rishtam ceramic dishes from Fergana Valley of Uzbekistan

Plates, bowls, tea cups - some sort of a ceramic paradise

 

 


0 Comments | Posted By Florin Florea
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