The textiles art known as ikat, is made all over the world, and in many different ways, but is believed to have originated in Southeast Asia. The word “ikat” comes from the Malay language which means “to bind”. Ikat is really a style of making fabric, it is a process of binding or tying up the warp or weft threads, or both, and then dying them, so that the unbound threads get the color of the dye. The threads are then untied. This process of tying up the threads is then repeated using different threads to create the design. This binding the threads to create a desired pattern is a complicated art that ikat masters perform, which in Uzbekistan is done exclusively by men.
Ikat velvets are more complicated and involve more steps in the process. The velvet is like the pile on a carpet, it is created by knotting in the silk using small metal wires and then cutting them to create the pile.
My ikats are made in the Ferghana Valley in Uzbekistan by one ikat master whose daughters work with him.