Last updated on April 2nd, 2018 at 12:51 pm
The interior design market has been flooded lately with Ikat and Suzani textiles. Traci Zeller showed us a lot of different examples from the Fall High Point Market These exquisite ethnic designs can be found on bedding, upholstered furniture, even dishware. But what exactly is an Ikat or Suzani?
Ikat is a dyeing method that is believed to have originated in Central and South America many centuries ago, but many cultures throughout the world have their own Ikat traditions. It is a dyeing method used to create an abstract design on fabric. In fact, the word Ikat translates to “bind” or “tie”.
The process is similar to the more familiar tie-dye method from the seventies. A piece of cloth is tied in several places and dipped in dye. Once it dries and the ties are removed a pattern emerges based on where the ties were placed. While tie-dye produced many abstract designs, Ikat has a more geometric look. Patterns that mimic flames, diamonds and other geometric forms are common.
Suzanis originated in Central Asia and are, basically, an embroidered piece of cloth that is similar to our quilts in that they often tell a story or feature a theme in their design. The word suzani means “needle” in the Persian language. The most common motifs are circles, the sun and moon, flowers, vines, leaves and, sometimes small animals and fish. Just as some American quilts reference specific cultures i.e. the Amish, the suzanis reflect the designs of specific tribes.
Antique suzanis and Ikat fabrics are rare and expensive but today’s fabric manufacturers have captured the color and texture found in both of these textiles. Add a colorful chair to your living room arrangement or bring warmth and pattern to an all neutral bedroom through the use of these historically inspired fabrics.