Many pre-Columbian cultures have examples of woven fabrics dating back hundreds if not thousands of years. Guatemala is known for a type of weaving called double-ikat, which comes from an Indonesian word meaning “to bind.” In Ikat, threads are tie-dyed before being strung on the loomthis predetermines the pattern that will be created. Ikat can be used to create textiles of astonishingly intricate detail, as well as soft, blended patterns like on this punchy purple tote.
Made from cotton that is hand-woven in Sololá, Guatemala, it has an inner zip pocket, an inner cell phone slot pocket, and a light beige cotton lining that means searching for a lost lip balm doesn’t require a flashlight. Features leather straps and detail along the zip top, as well as “feet” on the bottom that help the bag stay upright when you set it down.
Made in Guatemala using fabric hand-woven in Sololá, Guatemala. 18"W x 11 1/2"H x 6 1/4"D. 15" handles (8 1/2" drop).
Ikat is a type of weaving where the pattern emerges according to how the warp and weft threads are dyed. The name comes from a Javanese word meaning "to tie or bind," and it refers to the process of coloring the threads. Bundles of cotton, silk, or wool are either tied or painted with wax according to predetermined patterns. When the bundles are dipped in dye, the wrapped areas resist the colorsimilar to tie-dye. The bundles may be dyed, rinsed, dried, and re-dyed multiple times.
Then, as the threads are woven, patterns emerge in precise blocks of color, or soft blended patterns. In double ikat, both the warp (vertical) and weft (horizontal) threads are dyed, a process that takes great skill and planning to envision the final textile.
Although the word has Southeast Asian origins, ikat is common in South America, too, especially among pre-Columbian indigenous cultures. Guatemala especially is known for its double-ikat woven cotton, which is often created on manual back-strap looms. Uzbekistan in Central Asia is famous for intricate silk ikat weavings that came to Europe and Japan via Silk Road traders. Because of the great time and skill involved, the most complex ikat fabrics are traditional symbols of prestige and power.