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Ikat Weave


From ancient trade ties to a fashion statement across 30 countries, ikat is a fascinating weave which universally symbolises wealth, power and prestige. The very term ikat is derived from the Indonesian word ‘mengikat’, meaning “to tie” – a reference to the distinctive technique used to create the weaves.

It is a complex, skill-intensive process of marking, tying and dyeing the design into the yarn to produce elaborate and multicoloured patterns.

A talented artisan weaving a traditional Ikat design on Sumba Island in Indonesia

As part of my collection with Christopher Farr Cloth, I created my very own ‘Ikat Weave’. Our take on this ancient design is a vivid and contemporary interpretation, inspired by the Turkish modern flat weaves I love.

Originally these flat weaves were woven on narrow looms and a few vertical stripes were stitched together. The aim was to capture the movement of colour between the blocks. There is no horizontal repeat, mimicking the traditional ikat weave motif by which the design takes form as the yarn is woven into the cloth.

‘Ikat Weave’ is one of my favourite fabric designs from my collection with Christopher Farr. I have used it in our living room at home in the New Forest, recently featured in my guest edit of Homes & Gardens. We gained permission from the late artist Breon O’Casey to adapt one of his paintings into this rug design, the vibrant colours perfectly complement the large-scale 
ikat on the sofas.

We used ‘Ikat Weave’ in the Knightsbridge Suite, where it adorns the sofa in the Indigo colourway. The strong intense blues merge with lighter tones and black punctuates the design, giving it that extra edge.

Here it has been paired with my ‘Psycho Sprig’ fabric for Andrew Martin in the blue and pink colourway on the curtains. The Flora headboard has been upholstered in my ‘Bookends’ fabric, also from my collection for Christopher Farr Cloth. The blues in the room work perfectly together, the overall look is a nice balance of textures. Sharp pink is peppered throughout, taking reference from the pink in the curtain fabric.

Paul Smith is a design guru we all look up to. His shop in Albermarle Street in London is not only a place to buy exquisitely made fashion for men and women, but also acts as a gallery and showplace for his favourite artists and designers. One of his latest exhibitions showcased quirky pieces of furniture. The Paul Smith design team chose to cover this tall backed vintage chair in my Indigo ‘Ikat Weave’ design. The result is elegantly masculine.

At Covent Garden Hotel, we redesigned Room 215 using Nina Campbell’s ‘Ashdown Stripe’ as the starting point. This fabric has a painterly quality that we love. The colours are strong and worked perfectly with the powerful colours of ‘Ikat Weave’ in Lime.

We commissioned Al Sherman, an artist and maker, to applique the headboard in bright leathers. She used the ‘Ashdown Stripe’ and ‘Ikat Weave’ as reference to create and arrange the design. The Lime colourway is not for the faint hearted, the colours are wonderfully bright; reds, oranges, greens and yellows merge together.

Finally, this wonderful fabric can be found on the Willow Sofa and the Kit Wing Chairs, available to purchase on Shop Kit Kemp.  These items would make a joyful addition to any home!

I think of all my fabrics the weaves have taken the longest time to produce, but have given me the most pleasure.

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