The warp, removed from the warp frame, is bundled up ready for dyeing. At the dye house the threads are wrapped loosely around a long pole and immersed into a dye bath. This dyeing and binding process is extremely complex. For a multi-coloured ikat, reds and yellows tended to be applied first with a hot dye bath. These colours are applied in separate workshops to those in which the indigo dye is applied with a cold dye bath. After each dye is applied, the threads are wrung out by hand and returned to the ikat binding workshop, where the tied areas of the warp are unbound. They are then fixed to the patterning frame once again and the next area marked out for a particular colour was tied. In the more complex ikats, this process is repeated several times, passing repeatedly between the designer and binders and the various dyeing workshops.
Photograph © Tim Stanley