Ikat - Not a Tangled Web

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June 17th 2010
Published: June 17th 2010
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Some villages in Indonesia specialize in a form of textile called ikat. Unlike batik, where the patterns are made by waxing and dying sections of cloth, ikat is made by dying threads before they are woven into cloth.

Click here to go to the Wikipedia explanations of warp, weft, and double forms of ikat.

Very traditional forms of ikat can be traced to specific villages, where a particular patterned sarong might only be used for certain ceremonies. Some very fine examples of ikat might depict a legend or a story, and are used for wall hangings. Threads of Life on Jalan Suweta, has some wonderful examples of high quality ikat, some of which are for sale for high quality prices.

However, there are more affordable forms of ikat for sale in Ubud. One particular shop fascinated me.

Gego is located on Jalan Monkey Forest. Here you can watch the entire ikat weaving process, though not the dying. In this tiny little shop, run by a tiny little lady named Caroline, she and her assistant spin the thread, weave the cloth, cut the pattern pieces, and sew those pieces into beautiful, one-of-a-kind clothes. She also has ikat fabric
Ikat loomIkat loomIkat loom

A good weaver can produe a metre of fabric a day.
available for sale by the meter, which is rare.

I was told that a good weaver can produce one meter of fabric a day. Considering that a simple short-sleeve shirt takes at least two meters of fabric to make, her prices are quite reasonable. And honestly, wouldn’t you rather have a unique, hand-woven shirt than the “I (heart) Bali” T-shirt that everyone else is wearing? Thought so.

Possibly useful information:
• Threads of Life is located on Jalan Suweta, north of the Ubud Palace. It is a bit of a walk, but worth it.
• Gego is on Jalan Monkey Forest, north of the entrance to the Monkey Forest, on the west side of the street. The shop is very small, but look for the ikat clothing on racks on the sidewalk.

Bali, May 2010

Additional photos below
Photos: 3, Displayed: 3


16th July 2012

wonderful ikat shirt gift
Hi, for my 60th birthday in Dallas Texas USA an Indonesian friend gave me a wonderful dark blue or teal colored short sleeved shirt. The label says "Gego Ikat Bali". I no nothing about it but I looked up Ikat and Gego Indonesia and so now I realize it was handmade or on a hand loom and specially dyed. Maybe it's from Caroline's shop? I am so curious to know more.

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