Saturday, 7 May 2011

Experimenting with Ikat

Thursday was a real treat. It had been arranged for us weavers to visit the home of Mary Restieaux, an established ikat weaver, dyer and colour specialist. Although the ikat technique was relatively unknown to me, during my research for my current Garden project I have become aware of its current popularity in interiors. Ikat is a form of resist dying and shares many similarities to tie dying.

Mary's style was particularly defined and eye catching. It gave me a whole new perception of the weave process as the pattern and colour of her weaves are created through the warp threads. The weft threads play significantly less importance as regards to patterning and are so fine they are barely visible. Her work is extraordinarily detailed and precise and her works are based on 200 ends per inch or more. Mary has had a wealth of experience not only in he world of interiors but equally in the fashion world which showed me that weave really does offer a wide variety of career paths. Colour was a particular specialism of Mary's and it is easy to understand how she was chosen to work with established fashion giants such as Herve Ledger and Missoni to create new colour palettes each season.

The day certainly inspired me to embrace spring colours in all their glory within my collection of weaves. Another interesting piece of advice was the use of black in work to offset colours and give them added vibrancy which is something I had not thought of doing before.

The morning was spent learn about her technique, extremely organised working process (one would have to be working from home) and her countless achievements. In the afternoon we were allowed to use her dye lab to experiment with the ikat technique on silk yarns which were then translated into beautiful wrappings. The results were incredible! A thoroughly enriching day was had with lots of inspiration and further exploration.

Here are the three wrappings I completed-

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