Ikat March 2022


This Saturday, we spent a pleasant morning catching up with news and working on various projects, and then we were entertained by Erica Just who was talking about Ikat weaving.

Ikat (meaning “Binding”) is a dye and resist technique involving carefully wrapping a series of very narrow warps (sometimes only four or five threads) with cotton threads, plastic tape or plastic strips which will act as a resist when dyeing. These are built up to make the required width of cloth. The design of the overall cloth has to be carefully planned in advance to decide exactly which section needs to be protected, otherwise precise shapes can become blurred.

Erica trained at Loughborough College of Art where she got hooked on weaving. She’s also a painter and sometimes uses her naturalistic plant studies to inspire her weaving designs.  She had some lovely pieces inspired by shells and butterflies, and other pieces with narrow stripes of Ikat separated by plainer stripes. Most of her commissions are for interior design, so she produces a varied range of items from very small mounted pieces to large wall hangings.

After a slide show with lots of examples of Erica’s work we were treated to a look at Ikat fabrics from the different countries that Erica has visited.  We saw intricate weaving from Indonesia (woven on a wide backstrap loom needing two weavers to pass the shuttle to and fro), which had probably taken two years to produce, a double Ikat from Bali, a striking pictorial design from Sumba with a distinctive red, a beautiful silk sari piece from India, fabric from the Ivory Coast woven in narrow strips sewn together (kente cloth), a dramatic design on burnished chintz from Uzbekistan and stunning chequer designs in deep indigo and cream from Japan. It was fascinating to see the contrast of fabrics from the different countries.

The following link is worth looking at-




words: Liz Carrington

pictures: Janet Gleave, courtesy of Erica Just