All of our artisan groups incorporate different patterns and designs of ikat threads into their textiles. Ikat is a method of dyeing yarn in a resist pattern similar to tie dyeing. It is labor intensive to make the tie dyed yarns (hence the localized name of ‘jaspiado’ or ‘jaspe’) but several of our groups still make their own and others buy it in the market all ready dyed.
Ikat is not unique to Guatemala but is used in weaving around the world in differing methods. In Guatemala you can buy ikat designed threads which form many different patterns such as: dolls, birds, trees, the quetzal bird, hearts, diamonds etc.
One of our artisan groups always uses atole on all weavings that have ikat designed threads in them. Atole is a masa based (corn masa) liquid that gives more strength to the yarns in the form of a corn starch. It also makes the yarn easier to work with because of the stiffer texture.
After the entire project has been warped it is put into the masa / atole liquid and then stretched onto the backstrap loom; the string heddles are made while it is wet but then left to dry before beginning to weave.
Be sure to check out all the textiles in our webstore that have Ikat designs in them.