Ikat

Handmade master work

Ikat, also known as Matmee in Lao, is a striking technique. It comes from the Malay word meaning “to tie”. Although ikat can be done in many ways, in Laos we use the resist dye technique. We tie plastic string into the weft yarn before it is woven, we dye the weft yarn and then remove the plastic string. Only the fixed heddles are used. Before the invention of plastic string, people used a fibrous string made from a waterproof type of banana tree to tie the pattern.

Elsewhere in the world, artisans use warp ikat and double ikat methods, wherein both warp and weft threads are pattern-dyed before weaving. However, at our studio, as in most of Laos, we only weave with weft ikat; in other words, we only create patterns using the matmee technique on the weft yarns. This allows the patterns to look the same on the back and front of the cloth.

There are five steps to ikat weaving: wrapping the frame; tying the pattern; dyeing and drying the silk, winding the silk and weaving the cloth. Phou Tai communities in southern Laos are skilled cotton farmers and master ikat weavers. At our Living Crafts Centre in Luang Prabang, we also have our very own master ikat weaver, Ms. Phet, who is also a master dyer. She does it all! Traditionally, this type of fabric is used by women who wear them as a sinh, traditional lao skirt. We’ve repurposed it to create cushion covers and other home decor items. Read more on this technique our blog dedicated to ikat.

Showing 1–16 of 21 results

Shibori Cotton Napkin

You'll love it because: This is a painless and, dare we say, pretty way to trade in your paper napkins for reusable, eco-friendly shibori-dyed cotton napkins.

Jo Ikat Scarf

You'll love it because: For the reason our co-founder Jo loves it! Super soft, bold design, just the right amount of weight, and it looks good with everything!

$38.00$60.00

Khao Niao Ikat Scarf

You'll love it because: Khao Niao means sticky rice in Lao, it's local comfort food. This scarf is super soft, cosy and heartwarming, just like sticky rice!

The Rebel Silk Scarf

You'll love it because: An original Ock Pop Tok design that unleashes creativity and empowers innovative thinking. Remind yourself to embrace your inner rebel!

Ikat ZigZag Scarf

You'll love it because: Inspired by the meandering waters of the mighty Mekong River, this silk scarf is handwoven by Mrs. Sykai, an ikat master weaver.

Three Siho Prayer Flag

You'll love it because: Your very own "stairway to heaven"! Did you know the bamboo reeds in this silk temple flag represent steps to a higher realm?

Khao Niao Ikat Shawl

You'll love it because: Warm and super soft, like khao niao or sticky rice, this eco-friendly scarf shows off a complex weave and is wide enough to use as a shawl!

Running Out the Door Silk Scarf

You'll love it because: Can't decide whether you need to wear a scarf or not? Grab this laidback silk wonder! It's lightweight but still offers warmth.

Unisex Dok Lao Indigo Shawl

You'll love it because: An ultra soft, cotton and rayon blend scarf pays tribute to the Phou Tai and Laos' tropical flowers. Perfect with jeans and for men and women!

$38.00$78.00
Sale!

The Rothko Ikat Cushion Cover

You'll love it because: It's inspired by Mark Rothko's serene, ethereal paintings, but it's designed and handwoven by master weavers on the banks of the Mekong!

$34.20$36.60

Mahout Ikat Scarf

You'll love it because: Hand dyed ikat in four bold colours binds this gentle silk scarf together. Named 'mahout' as a tribute to the elephant handlers.

Five Siho Prayer Flag

You'll love it because: Your very own "stairway to heaven"! Did you know the bamboo reeds in this silk temple flag represent steps to a higher realm?

Silk Stupa Scarf

You'll love it because: An original design by master weaver Mrs. Sykai, the ikat motif is a tribute to the meditative and beautiful temple stupas in Luang Prabang.

Luang Prabang Temple Ikat Wall Hanging

You'll love it because: With two complex weaving techniques, this handsome piece is a wonderful Lao souvenir to remind you of temple-hopping in Luang Prabang.

Phou Tai Ikat Indigo Cushion Cover

You'll love it because: Woven by the Phou Tai, the indigo ikat cushion cover, will add good cheer to your bedding, sofa or favourite armchair.

$41.00

Five Squares Ikat Prayer Flag

You'll love it because: Inspired by tradition, the east-meets-west design and colours evoke the calm tranquility of works by contemporary artists like Mark Rothko.

Showing 1–16 of 21 results

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