Monday, August 25, 2014

An Ikat Avalanche

My workspace looks like a snow storm made of ikat pieces!  Perhaps "ikat obsession" would have been a more appropriate heading for this post.  As I look back through this blog, I see at least 5 other posts on the ikat cane.  It is such fun to create, and there are several different versions "out there" to choose from - or to help you develop your own.

My first exposure was through Donna Kato's book,The Art of Polymer Clay Millefiori Techniques.  Donna demonstrates a couple different approaches for making ikat canes.  Lindly Haunani has developed her own approach incorporating her wonderful rainbow approach to color, and I have had a lot of fun experimenting with her method. Iris Mishly has a lovely tutorial demonstrating 3 different versions of ikat canes.  In addition, there are several free tutorials online.  Obviously, I'm not the only person who finds this look and its variations fascinating!

However, the credit (or blame) for my current ikat spree goes to Lindly.  At the polymer master class workshop in July, Lindly spent part of the last afternoon demonstrating and discussing some of the ways in which ikat can be manipulated.  While the bracelets in the photo on the right do show their ikat origin, some of the manipulated sheets don't look anything like ikat!

I decided I had to share here some of the results of my experimenting.  Hope you enjoy the show!
This little set on the left showcases my favorite ikat sheet (so far).  The ikat cane is not manipulated here except to be cut and placed in strips next to itself.  I did experiment with the spacing of colors, their order, and strip width, and particularly cut down on the amount of base or background color that I used to set the other colors apart.  I love the almost-but-not-quite Skinner blend look.  It definitely looks like fabric to me.

The leaf shape on the left is another ikat cane cut diagonally with the opposite sides flipped and butted up against a center strip of color.  I had to add some wave to the edges and it has a "leafy" feel.  If you find a tree this fall with leaves like this, I want to know!
The next two sets are examples of feathering with ikat canes.  I have always loved the look of feathering in lampwork beads, and have experimented a bit with feathering striped polymer clay sheets.  It took a nudge from Lindly, however, to make me realize I could try this with ikat.  Oh, the results!  I found that stretching the sheets out on the pasta machine after doing the initial feathering created a simply wonderful look.  Both the lavender and the yellow sets show the results of stretched feathering.
 Now for another twist:   herringbone!  This particular manipulation makes the clay look three-dimensional.  I textured this surface for a couple of reasons.  The herringbone treatment just seemed to be somewhat "rustic" and therefore more muted to me, and texturing helped ease and set the joins between the strips.  Don't you love it when form and function work together!
Here is one last example of ikat with large neutral separating strips between the colors and feathering tossed in for good measure.
Now run out and play with some ikat canes!


  1. Dear Kristie
    These are just beautiful and show just what can be done with an ikat cane. I really need to have a go at these! Thank you for sharing.
    Best wishes

    1. Thank you, Ellie. Yes, the ikat cane or stack is just sooo pretty. Then, when you start to manipulate the slices, a whole new world opens up. Hope you get to experiment soon! ~Kristie