‘ēkät  

Where: Gualaceo, Cuenca, Ecuador
Technique: Ikkat, or Ikkat, is a dyeing technique - Pre-Colombian Technique
Materials: Cotton, silk or wool and natural pigments

Officially recognized by the UNESCO "World Heritage"

‘Ekät , or Ikat, is a dyeing technique used to pattern textiles that employs a resist natural dyeing process on the yarns prior to dyeing and weaving the fabric. ‘

‘Ekät is a weaving style common to many world cultures. It is probably one of the oldest forms of textile decoration. The technique was known to be produced in several Pre-Colombian Central and South American cultures. Nowadays all weavers are over 50 years old, young people are engaged in other activities and have lost interest in continuing this ancient legacy, a difficulty that led to the declaration of ‘Ekät as an intangible heritage of humanity.

The secret of each garment is in the process prior to the fabric, in its process of natural dyeing, after selecting the yarn-wool, cotton or silk must be knotted, wrapped and tied the yarn with a natural fiber of the plants called penca, each wrapper determines the pattern. 

The yarn is immersed in pots prepared with different vegetal anilines extracted from rocks, plants, nuts and worms, ready for dyeing, the colors change thanks to the help of natural components such as salt or lemon, it’s a slow and long process. The moored spaces do not absorb the ink and maintain their natural tone, that is what creates the contrast of colors in the designs. The knots are untied and the fabric begins, which is done on a waist or pedal loom. A characteristic of ‘Ekät textiles is an apparent blurriness to the design.