Sunday, 5 October 2014

Martin Weatherhead introduces his Ikat Weft course for 2015

Martin Weatherhead (pictured in his ikat woven 'snail coat' here describes his plans for the 2015 summer school and the roots of his interest in ikat).
I was first introduced to Ikat by the Japanese weaver Jun Tomita in a workshop with the Ceredigion Guild back in 1979.  We wove warp Ikat samples using Indigo.  Later, with Mary Restieux, I discovered you could have as many colours on a single thread as you wanted.  What an eye-opener!  From then on I was hooked,  experimenting with both warp and weft Ikat.

In 1998 I gained a Winston Churchill Travelling Fellowship to study Ikat in Central Asia.

At the 2013 Summer School in Carmarthen we experimented with warp Ikat.

This time we will be exploring weft Ikat. We will concentrate on balanced weave because the patterns show up more readily. The most striking thing is the way the patterns move. The patterns shift left and right as you weave creating a diamond mesh. The process is dynamic. The pattern is affected not just by how you dye the threads but also how you weave them.

We will examine how to control this dynamic technique and we will create a variety of patterning both with static blocks and with shapes that move.

The principles can also be applied to weft- faced weaves. My rugs (below) are weft-faced. 

Click on image to see weaves in more detail

The ultimate in weft Ikat is Picture Kasuri to give it its Japanese name. This is where a single weft is Ikat-dyed over a distance of many meters and when it is folded up in the weaving process the picture emerges as if by magic. This will be covered more in theory than in practice but it would be fun if there was time to try making one as a group so that everyone could take away an Ikat weft to weave at home.       

Picture Kasuri lobster by Jun Tomita