Ikat means to bind or to tie. This piece is made on a backstrap loom that sits on the ground. The warp thread is strung onto the loom and the desired pattern is sketched onto the thread. The thread is then wrapped with string, straw or plastic so certain areas of the thread to resist the dye. The thread is then soaked in one or numerous dye baths depending on the desired pattern. The thread is then returned to the warp of the loom and the weaving process begins. As the weft is woven through the warp the pattern emerges in the cloth.
Much of the cloth is used for ceremonies, wedding, funerals and passed down through families for generations. Some designs have ritual significance, other tell a story or illustrate life on the island.