Monthly Meetings

Ikat A World of Compelling Cloth

March 11, 2023

Seattle Art Museum

Personal Tour by Collector and Curator David Paly

Ikat exhibt at Seattle Art Museum


Of all the cloth in the world, ikat stands out. Creating this textile requires dedication, if not devotion, to the power of  each and every thread that is tied to resist dye. A grandmother in Indonesia recently described the 56 steps it takes  her each time she assembles the materials, calculates the colors and patterns, and then ties for months before  weaving. Yet, even when following each step, the process defies exact linear design. Wikipedia calls ikat “blurry,” but  others acclaim it as a hovering reminder of the value of the inexact. With ikat, we learn to appreciate illusion, not  illustration. 

Organized by the Seattle Art Museum, this wide-ranging exhibition highlights the ongoing global reach of the complex  ikat textile. Over 100 ikats will be on view, combining textiles from SAM's global collection with many new promised  gifts and loans from illustrious Seattle-area private collections. 

A world tour of the regions where ikat has thrived will follow. Over 100 examples spanning the last three centuries will  be drawn from a collection that is also an act of dedicated discovery over the last 40 years by Seattle-based patron  David Paly. Selections will lead the way to Africa, across the Americas, through Asia, along the Silk Route, and a brief stop in Europe. Bringing ikat into the 21st century will be seen in the work of one American artist and a dozen  Indonesian artists brought together by Threads of Life, an organization that encourages ikat to continue to thrive. 

Currently, ikats are not seen in museums as often as “faux” versions abound in printed abbreviations on factory printed cloth that truly are blurry. Bolts of cloth for fashion and furnishing labels take away the precision, texture, and  significance of original ikats and deliver what ads call the ideal “bohemian ethnic chic.” How to distinguish an original  hand-dyed, handwoven cloth from such cliché adaptations will be explored in a hands-on portion of the exhibition.  

Ikat is a radical departure from the reliance on the factory-made cloth that surrounds us. This spring at SAM, be  reminded of the potential power of the woven world to carry the sacred into view. 



At this point in time, meetings will be virtual until further notice (with any exceptions listed in the table below). The CQA board will evaluate the situation as it evolves and adjust if necessary.

Visitors are always welcome at our meetings, and there is no admission fee. Meetings run from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on the second Saturday of each month, on the Seattle Pacific University campus. (See directions, maps, and room information, below.) Bring yourself a sack lunch if you wish.


To become a member click here and go to "Join the CQA".

Month Speaker
March 11, 2023 SAM Tour: IKAT Tour with David Paly in person at SAM (Registration available for members in Members section)
April 8, 2023 Rachel Brumer, Textile Artist
May 13, 2023 Valerie Goodwin, Mixed Media Artist and Architect
June 10, 2023 Barbara Earl Thomas, Mixed Media

Would you like to attend our next meeting? Contact programs for the link.

Directions to Bertona Hall on the Seattle Pacific University campus:

GPS entry: 107 West Bertona, Seattle 98119

From I-5, take the NE 50th Street exit and drive west. Turn left (south) on Fremont Avenue N—about two miles. Get into the right lane as you cross the Fremont bridge and take the first turn-off to the right and then immediately right again onto Nickerson Street. Follow Nickerson for about half a mile, and turn left (south) at the stoplight for 3rd Avenue West. You are now on the SPU campus.Turn left onto 3rd.

Enter the parking lot on your left by turning into the driveway beside the Subway. Our building is on the east side of the parking lot, a one-story red brick building. Parking in the lot is free for us on weekends; ignore the restricted parking and "No Parking" signs.

map for Bellevue Arts Museum and parking Photo of Bertona Hall

Click here to see a map of the entire SPU campus.