The traditional Indian Patola textiles, made in Gujarat, employ a method of weaving where the warp and weft are resist-dyed. This process of precise tying and dying means that when the two threads are woven together they form a complete motif. Braun’s own version of the Patola circumvents this labor-intensive method of production by using the more modern technique of silk screen printing.
Historically, many Patolas were designed and made entirely for export, their geometric patterns catering for the specific tastes of the country that they were being sent to. There they were used in different ways. In some places they were symbols of royalty, imbuing rulers with supernatural authority, in others they were assumed to have healing powers. Woven fabrics have a long tradition in India and Indonesia. Especially the Patolas, where every single yarn is partially colored and woven by using the double-ikat technique, are very precious.
Matti Braun’s fascination for the Patolas lies within their very complex method of production, which is supposed to have magical powers, and especially in the symbiosis of highbrow processes, technical perfection, and mystical inscription.