Ikat is a tie-dye technique yielding woven
fabric of the most intricate and colourful designs, both in cotton and
silk. It is the most unique art form of Andhra Pradesh's handloom
heritage. Ikat weaving is a heritage craft that even survives today.
Unlike the styles of Tamil Nadu ('Chungadi') or Rajasthan (Bandhani) where the fabric is tie-dyed in Ikat, in Andhra Pradesh the yarn is tied and dyed before being woven into patterned fabrics.
A Weavers Dream
It involves an innovative technique used in weaving Telia Rumal - an attractive multipurpose fabric. Telia is derived from Tel (means oil), which is used in sizeable quantity in preparing the yarn for weaving.
Ikat enables the weaver to program precisely the exact pattern of colours on the finished fabric by wrapping it up with wax and clay before dipping it in selected dyes. This enables the subsequent dying process to take place in a controlled manner.
The technique is unique and extremely popular. When only one wrap of weft yarn alone is tie-dyed, keeping the other plain, it is called single Ikat, while the complex patterns produced by tie-dyeing both wrap and weft, it is called double Ikat.
Pochampalli, Koyalagudem, Choutuppal, Puttapaka and Narayanpur are some of the centers of Ikat weaving. Typical items include sarees, blankets, mats, carpets, coasters, fancy bags etc.