I am fascinated by hand woven cloth and humbled by the patience involved in weaving. Ikat takes that process to a new height. The threads of the weft and sometimes both the warp and weft are dyed before the weaving begins and this forms the pattern. Amazing!
Balinese Ikat is different from the Ikat that you find in the Islands of Nusa Tengara to the east. It is thinner and the colors are often brighter. I love Ikat of all kinds, but the Balinese Ikat can be easier to wear.
I found a nice shop in Ubud called Gego (phone no is 0361 972949) that has some colorful blouses and other clothing made of Balinese Ikat. From the Monkey Temple, walk uphill on Monkey Forest Road and it is a few shops up on the left. The Like many ethnic fabrics, the dyes are not necessarily color fast to begin with, so start by wearing your ikat with jeans or something it won’t rub off on. To set the dye you may need to soak the fabric in white vinegar or salt water overnight and then wash it. I paid about US$27 per blouse and bought 5, but didn’t bargain because they sewed them overnight and delivered them to me the next day all the way down in Jimbaran. I didn’t pay anything for the delivery.
If you would like to see some museum quality Ikat from the outlying islands with complex refined designs, Check out WWW.THREADSOFLIFE.com, the Indonesian Textile Center at Jalan Kajeng 24 in Ubud. Turn up Jalan Kajeng a block after Ubud Palace and just before the Lotus Cafe. It is a narrow road with some nice little shops and restaurants and a bit of a walk from the main road. Don’t give up! It is well worth seeing. The textiles are Fair Trade and wonderful.
If you still need a further Ikat “fix” the market at Klungkung is known for both Ikat and SONGKET
which is a hand woven brocade that is found in many places in Southeast Asia, but Bali has its own lovely style.