Ikat or Kasuri Dyeing
"Kasuri" is the Japanese word for the Ikat style of fabric weaving. Kasuri fabric is woven using pre-dyed threads (usually dyed with indigo). This technique requires the weaver to bundle treads together so that when they are loomed, a pattern or image emerges in the fabric. Some form of resist-dyeing using wax or another material is usually used to dye the threads.
Ikat weaving is not unique to Japanese textiles. Cultures all over the world have used a form ikat weaving including countries in Central and South America, India and Indonesia. There are several different ways to produce an ikat fabric. The easiest way is to dye the warp threads on the loom. Dying the weft thread (the horizontal thread) is more challenging and makes precision harder to attain. Double ikats are those in which both the warp and the weft threads are dyed, and the patterns interlock. These are the most difficult and require the most skill. Kasuri fabrics are either weft ikats or double ikats. Despite the difficulty of these techniques, Japanese ikats are known for their precise patterns. Japanese oshima cloth is regarded as the most precise ikat. It is woven and unwoven several times to create the precision.
The kasuri technique is very intricate and requires a skilled weaver. While this was a common weaving technique for centuries in Japan, the number of kasuri artisans has greatly diminished in modern Japan. Consequently, it has become more and more difficult to acquire traditional kasuri fabric and it often comes at a premium price. We carry replicate printed fabrics of Ikat or Kasuri dyed designs, but due to the cost of this fabric art, at this time, we do not carry any fabrics that are produced through this technique.