Ikat fabrics for the home have been in fashion for some time now and show no signs of falling from favor. When woven in silk, ikats tend to be expensive and suitable mostly for pillows since the looms upon which they are woven are narrow and thus produce goods which have to be seamed. But a few ikat pillows in a room can make a bold and fresh rustic chic statement.
The ikat samples shown here are Bermingham & Co. (www.berminghamantiques.com), a store in New York City which stocks them in many colorful combinations. And although it is most common these days for ikats to be woven in shocking colors, they are sometimes available in more neutral tones, as can be seen on the subtle grey and white variation below and in the straw and champagne colors shown on the large throw pillows in our barn’s family room. (Design tip: ikats are most successful in silk or silk and cotton as the dyes grap hold of the silk yarns and produce the most lustrous material. Pass on ikat that is woven only in cotton, which is much less expensive, but the end products tend to be rather drab and lifeless.)
In Indonesian, ikat means “to tie or bind” and, like any art form, patterns vary widely from country to country. Designs may have symbolic of ritual meaning or have been developed for export trade. Ikats are often symbols of status, wealth, power and prestige and, perhaps because of the difficulty and time required to make ikats, some cultures believe the cloth is imbued with magical properties.
Packed full of power and punch, an ikat pillow (or better yet, a few of them) will add just the right touch of rustic chicness to your home.
Fabric swatch photos from www.berminghamantiques.com. Bottom photo by John Bessler for Traditional Home