I wish I could describe what ikat tape is…Maiwa says it’s poly, but I’m not clear on what that is. All I know is that I can only find one source for it, it’s expensive, and because that source is Canadian, there are other expenses added to the cost. That’s a lesson I learned the hard way. I ordered one roll, but by the time all the other stuff was added to it, that roll was damned expensive. And by the way, the postman knocked on my door to have me sign papers, since the package “came for across the sea.” Now, if I order, I order multiple rolls, as many as the current budget will allow. I’m lucky that a friend gifted me with some tape she was no longer going to use. Thank you, Wendy.
Because the tape is thin, it really does go a long way. You can also easily split the tape for smaller sections. Since a local weaver is doing a first ikat project, I decided to look into buying tape again. Still the same ol’ source and no other that I could find.
This also made me drag out my ikat books, or at least try to find them–still missing one. In the books, they show that you can use different materials for tying, including kitchen plastic wrap for long sections. I think trying those other materials will involve a lot more practice for me, although in thinking about it, maybe that doesn’t need to be so tight because you wrap string around the whole section, making really tight ties at the beginning and end of the section. What do you think? would too much dye seep in? In the picture below, I tied an itty bitty piece of a section and decided it faster for the moment to continue in my usual way. You can see it third from the bottom, right side towards the center.
Years ago, I posted a video from You Tube showing a woman tying ikat. The video is silent except for the sound of the squeaking ties. I found it fascinating, but I still wonder what kind of material she’s using.
And speaking of alternative materials, I received a Uline catalog (do they ever stop sending those things?) with some possible wrapping materials. Will have to think about that.
In my search I did find some interesting sites to explore:
Strands of Silk you can see sections tied with string and other with just tape. Also a cartoon to guide with the design.
Andrea Schewe’s worktable blog Southeast Asia pictures and description of ikat tying and weavings
Backstrap Weaving Many interesting pictures of designs tied and untied, finished weavings, and an experiment by the author. I really liked the pictures here. There’s also a video.
And then there’s the exchange rate for Canadian/United States dollars