Saturday, June 28, 2014

Balinese Paintings – Ceiling Paintings[1-2]

Marie-Therese Wisniowski

Balinese paintings fall into five categories: flags and banners; (ii) ceiling paintings; (iii) ider-ider (cloth painting in a horizontal strip format); (iv) langse (form of a cloth painting used as a curtain) and, (v) tabing (kind of cloth painting in a rectangular format hung on walls) – Part I, Part II, Part III and Part IV.

Balinese paintings formed highly prestigious and sought-after decorations for festivals in all kinds of temples (pura). These paintings have very specific uses. Hence they would be displayed only on set occasions and moreover, for a limited time. They were not intended to be art objects in themselves for deep contemplation, but rather were viewed in a more holistic sense as being part of a whole complex, which they decorated. Offerings and the actions of priest and congregation, which were the main focus of attention, often obscured them. They were usually painted on cloth or bark cloth and when not on display were folded and stored into baskets. The fact that they were stored for most of the time assisted in preserving them, although repeated folding over many years would cause damage to the painted surface.

Today post is on another in the series on Balinese paintings but this time featuring - ceiling paintings.

Ceiling painting. Painters from the village complex of Kamasan painted cloth panels.
Courtesy of reference[1].

The Artists (in this series on Balinese paintings)
Today there is only one community of traditional painters still in practice and they form part of the Kamasan village complex. Kamasan is composed of four separate villages that together comprise Gelgel. For over 300 years Gelgel was the seat of the senior raja (i.e. King) of Bali - the Dewa Agung. After the revolt early in the 19th Century the raja abandoned Gelgel and built a new palace two miles north in Klungkung, but many of the specialists who provided services for the court stayed within the Gelgel complex.

The last Dewa Agung Jambe II in 1908. He lost his life in the so-called puputan of Klungkung Palace on 28th April 1908 during the Dutch intervention in Bali (1908). This was a ritually laden suicidal attack by the dynasty and their retainers against a well-armed detachment of Dutch colonial troops. In the end, almost two hundred Balinese were killed by Dutch bullets in the uprising.

The painters of Kamasan village complex were concentrated in two of the eight wards of that village, namely, Banjar Sangging and Banjar Pande Mas. The word Sangging refers directly to the act of painting and Pande Mas means literally goldsmith. These wards accurately describe the occupations of the specialists who live there. Both wards have their own administration structure, but they share a temple – the Pura Bale Batur.

Pura Bale Batur Temple – Kamasan.

Households in both wards practice painting and goldsmithing. This tendency to impart knowledge and to restrict taught skills to family groups is rife throughout Balinese society.

Kerta Gosa is a building that is part of the building complex of the Semarapura Palace. It was built around 1686 by the first holder of the throne of the kingdom of Klungkung - Ida I Dewa Agung Jambe. Initially, the paintings that decorated the ceiling were made of cloth. In 1930 the cloth was replaced by plasterboard and re-painted.

In painting, boys and girls from a young age play an important role in the coloring process and so marriage to outsiders posed a double threat – that of losing a skilled sister or gaining an unskilled wife. Hence, almost all marriages were originally restricted to people from those two wards.

Mangku Muriati, now in her 40s, was encouraged to become an artist by her father, an accomplished Kamasan painter, Mangku Mura. As a child she helped her father in coloring his paintings and assisting him in his studio.

In 1973 there were approximately 30 to 40 households in Kamasan that made a substantial part of their income from the production of paintings. In addition there were many other individuals who would take some part in the production process when and if opportunity occurred. By 1977, when tourist sales of paintings substantially increased, the number of households dependant on paintings increased by a third. Moreover, almost any mature woman from Banjar Snagging and Banjar Pande Mas as well as some of the men would sell paintings and other art objects.

Kamasan artist Ni Made Suciarmi in her gallery-studio in Banjar Sangging. Born in 1932, she is one of the oldest artists working in Kamasan today. Her artworks are exhibited in the Seniwati Gallery of Art by Women in Ubud, Bali.

Ceiling Paintings
Usually the ceiling of a pavilion above the bed where the offerings are placed is decorated with some kind of cloth stretched horizontally under the roof. Plain white cloth is often used, or imported Indian cloth of floral designs. However, paintings are occasionally used and these feature subjects that can be centrally organized in order to be viewed from below. A favorite subject is Garuda (eagle), surrounded by gods – see below.

This ceiling painting - Garuda attacked by the gods of the eight directions - was painted by the artist Nyoman Dogol (1876-1965) in the 1920s. It was collected from an ancestor temple Pura Dadia in Kamasan by Anthony Forge in 1972-73.
Size: 129 x 170 cm.
Courtesy of reference[1].

Comments[1]: In the Adiparwa (i.e. story), Garuda stole amerta (i.e. water or immortality) from the gods to rescue his mother, and the gods attacked him but he escaped. In the above depiction eight gods are shown, each of the appropriate color and with the right weapon, attacking the invulnerable Garuda.

Direction is very important for the Balinese since they need to know how they are placed especially in terms of their orientation with respect to the mountain and the sea. The painting is designed so that when it is face down above the spectator, East and West are correctly located.

Each of the four principle directions – North, South, East and West - is associated with a god and with a color that the Balinese would instantly recognize. The four intermediate directions (e.g. North-East etc.) each have a god whose color should be intermediate between those gods on the principal directions. For example, Sambu in the North-East is between Vishnu, black (North) and Iswara, white (East) and his color is blue (not grey). Usually the center of the Balinese artwork is multi-colored and usually occupied by the highest Hindu god – Siwa. However, in this painting the place of Siwa is taken by the multi-colored Garuda, who is shown as invulnerable to the attacks of the gods of the eight directions, and is therefore a being of great power and so is suitable to occupy the center position. Each of the eight gods hurls the weapon appropriate to his direction at Garuda. These eight weapons, each specific to one of the eight points of the compass, are often used alone as signs of the directions, with the lotus, which is a weapon of Siwa in the center, forming a small diagram equivalent to our compass rose.

Another ceiling painting is in the form of a plindon or “earthquake" calendar – see below.

Anthony Forge inspects a plindon - earthquake calendar (1979).
Photograph: Courtesy of A. Vickers.

Ceiling Painting Plindon (Earthquake Calendar). Kamasan artist, Made Pager, early 20th Century, from the family of the artist’s descendants. Halus work (i.e. finest workmanship).
Size: 144 x 138 cm.
Courtesy of reference[1].

Comments[1]: Most plindons are to be hung on walls or as a backing for offerings. This plindon has been designed to be stretched above the raised platform on which offerings are put. The artists have painted the twelve months around the edge, and thus have left a large central area, which has been divided into nine squares, seven of which have predictions for the days of the seven-day week. The center has a god, while one corner is occupied by a generalized rakasa or detia (i.e. type of demons) and also a nimbus (i.e. bright cloud surrounding deities), presumably symbolizing the opposition between the forces of the right and left, which created and maintains the world.

Around the edge the months go anti-clockwise, each month dominated by its god. The names of the gods are included in the diagram. The scenes for each month in general illustrate written predictions. The predictions are "general" in form and so are not always bad. For example, an earthquake in the Balinese July means that “… the state of the world will be safe, the crops good and all produce cheap”. An earthquake in December however indicates”…the state of the world is bad, many are sick and many die, the chickens die and the plants wither and there will be many forced marriages”.

The layout of the above Ceiling Painting.
Courtesy of reference[1].

Pelintangan painting at rear, and Garuda and the Gods of Eight Directions on ceiling of pavilion within temple Pura Kawitan Pasek Gelgel, Banjar Sangging in Kamasan Village, Bali, October 2010.

The ceiling of the Kerta Gosa pavilion, Semarapura, Bali.
Photograph courtesy of S. Campbell.

Comments[1]: The upper panels depict scenes from the Bima Swarga story. The lower panels depict scenes from the Tantri narrative and the story of the mythical bird Garuda searching for the water of immortality. They also depict the earthquake calendar (plindon), which shows predictions for the consequences of earthquakes falling on particular months and days.

[1] A. Forge, Balinese Traditional Paintings, The Australian Museum, Sydney (1978).
[2] The Australian Museum (Sydney, NSW).

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Neu Kunst: Mona & Marilyn
Post Graffiti ArtCloth

Marie-Therese Wisniowski

One of my passions is to create Post-Graffiti artwork on cloth. A series of posts on this blogspot have addressed issues in Graffiti and Post Graffiti Art as well as presenting images of such art. I have listed some of these below for your enjoyment.
Time Dimension in Art
Unleashed: The Rise of Australian Street Art
Act of Engagement
New York Spray-Can Memorials
Another Brick
Cultural Graffiti
Beyond the Fear of Freedom
Oh, Oh Marilyn and Mona@Spoonflower
Paste Modernism 4

My latest Post Graffiti ArtCloth/Quilt works I have labeled under the title “Neu Kunst” – being German for “New Art”. These ArtCloths/Quilts are Post Graffiti deconstructed works.

Deconstruction denotes the application of post-modern ideas of criticism, or theory, to a "text" or "artefact", based on architectural deconstuctivism. A deconstruction is meant to undermine the frame of reference and assumptions that underpin the text or the artefact.

I have purposely juxtaposed a Graffiti work (by an unknown artist) with one of my Neu Kunst artworks in order to demonstrate the vast difference between the “-ism” to the “post-ism”; that is, the difference between Graffiti Art and Post Graffiti Art.

The Neu Kunst ArtCloth/Quilt works were recently selected for the 2014 QSDS Invitational, “Art Quilts: Celebrating 25 Years of QSDS” May 23rd - July 3rd 2014, at the Richard M. Ross Art Museum, Ohio Wesleyan University, Delaware, Ohio, USA by jurors Tracy Rieger (Director, Quilt Surface Design Symposium) and Tammy Wallace (Assistant Director, Richard M. Ross Art Museum).

The artworks have been previously selected for exhibition at the following venues:
(i) "New Horizons in Fiber 2008" exhibition, Art Centre of Plano, Plano, Texas, USA, February 1st - March 3rd, 2008.
(ii) "Art Textiles Conference and Exhibition", F Block, College of Fine Art, University of New South Wales, September 13th, 2008. Organised by the Australian Textile Arts & Surface Design Association Inc. and the College of Fine Art, UNSW, Australia.
(iii) The "2009 Australian Cotton Fibre Expo", at Narrabri, NSW, Australia, May 8th - 17th, 2009.
(iv) Unleashed: The Rise of Australian Street Art, Redcliffe City Art Gallery, Queensland, Australia, March 16th - April 16th, 2011.

Printed Fabric Lengths
Due to many requests, I have digitally redesigned some sections of these artworks and have made them available as printed fabric lengths. The fabric lengths, fat quarters and swatches are available for purchase from Spoonflower (custom print on demand digital textile printers) on various custom fabrics. See the following url link and click on the image to view and order/purchase the fabric design: My Fabric Lengths@Spoonflower - see also a previous post: My Fabric Collection.

Neu Kunst: Mona
The ArtCloth/Quilt work, “Neu Kunst: Mona” investigates the influence of the “fine-art” world on the “street” art of Graffiti and the Post Graffiti movement. This artwork centers on various Artists’ attitudes towards Leonardo da Vinci’s, Mona Lisa.

Toward 1500, Italian art entered a new phase, the so-called “High Renaissance” era. Leonardo Da Vinci’s (1452-1519) Mona Lisa (ca. 1503-13) typified the “new” awakening, showcasing ambitions in characterizing the psychological relationship between subject and viewer.

Toward 2000, a “new” awakening entered the art world. As modern society became more complex and alienation more extreme, layers of conscious thought and reductionism in art became only accessible to a smaller group of artists. At the extremes, with little education and with no prospect to understand their complex society, a group of artists emerged, stripped of any sophisticated tools, training or consciousness in order to create “street” art – now labeled as graffiti art. It abounded on such surfaces as public and private buildings, pavements, windows, doors, fences, electricity poles and garbage dumpsters. Their tools were simplistic. Images were usually formed employing paint brushes, paint spray-cans and stencils. Stencils were used since they were simple and moreover, the stenciled messages could be reduced to a few elements in order to make them intelligible; that is, they were producing in the most rudimentary form a modern version of the stone-age pictograph.

This ArtCloth work is named “Neu Kunst”. It is a Post-Graffiti investigation of the influence of the “fine art” world on the new awaking of “street” art. The iconography of the artwork centers on 500 years of appropriation of the Mona Lisa image. It traces its journey through time to its current destination on contemporary walls in our urban streetscapes.

Appropriated images include: Marcel Duchamp’s L.O.O.H.Q. portrait; Lili Lakich’s neon light version of Mona; Miss Piggy featured as Mona Piggy; Ennio Marchetto’s version of La Giocond; Laurie Robin’s collage-effect of the Altered Mona Lisa and advertisements.

Heat reactive pigment has been silk screened and manipulated to give a 3 dimensional quality to the central image and to raise it from the surface of the cloth base.

The techniques include numerous silk screen methods, stitching, discharge, monoprints, lino blocked, stamped, stenciled, hand painted and digitally collaged images employing pigments, dyes, discharge agents, pastels, crayons, charcoal, metallic paints and heat reactive pigment on cotton. The work is 125 cm long x 75 cm wide.

Pink was chosen to highlight this famous image and to highlight the contemporary nature of Graffiti Art by using a color in the “graffiti palette” as depicted in the central image. The color, pink, also acts as the highlight color due to the many associations it has with the elusive and feminine quality that was her hallmark.

Images of “Neu Kunst: Mona”

Neu Kunst: Mona (full view).

Neu Kunst: Mona (detailed view). Highlighting an area of stitching on the ArtCloth work.

Neu Kunst: Mona (detailed view). Image appropriated from Marcel Duchamp’s L.O.O.H.Q. portrait.

Neu Kunst: Mona (detailed view). Image appropriated shows Miss Piggy who was featured as Mona Piggi.

Neu Kunst: Mona (detailed view). Image appropriated from Laurie Robin's collage-effect of the Altered Mona Lisa.

Neu Kunst: Mona (detailed view). Image appropriated from a magazine advertisement.

Neu Kunst: Mona (detailed view). Imaged appropriated from an advertisement selling contact lenses.

Neu Kunst: Marilyn
The next piece in this series centers on Marilyn Monroe. She was more than just a movie star or glamour queen. A global sensation in her lifetime, Marilyn's popularity has extended beyond star status to that of an icon. Today, the name "Marilyn Monroe" is a symbol synonymous with beauty merged with glamour, fame, desirability, sensuality and vulnerability. From Norma Jean to Marilyn Munroe is a journey from a “person” to an “idea”.

Marilyn’s journey has been documented through history by “movie-goers” and the public at large. Using digitally printed and overworked images, the following images depict part of her image metamorphosis: Artists such as the “poster ripper”, Mimmo Rotella, reintegrated street posters into new statements as in the piece, “A Tribute to Marilyn”.

Two unknown Graffiti Artists have interpreted the movie legend: one as a sprayed, stenciled, isolated image on a wall; the second, looks at what Marilyn would have looked like if she had lived to an old age.

Food artist, Prudence Emma Staite, recreates famous works using Smarties. Here she has depicted Andy Warhol’s print of Marilyn using Smarties confectionary.

The third last image is a graffiti work of the icon in Washington DC. It is of an actual homeless man and Marilyn, keeping warm on a steam vent. It is a parody of the universal image of the famous publicity photos of her posing with her skirt billowing as she stood over an air vent. The icon has now morphed again to continue the conceptual and visual imagery of this post graffiti piece.

I have once again used multiple complex layers of printed, stitched, stenciled, painted, resist, mark-making and distress techniques to create the heavily textured and dense surface. The color, red, was chosen as the highlight color due to the many associations it has with the movie star, in particular the overtly sensual and effervescent quality that was her hallmark.

The techniques include numerous silk screen methods, stitching, discharge, monoprints, lino blocked, stamped, stenciled, hand painted and digitally collaged images employing pigments, dyes, discharge agents, pastels, crayons, charcoal, metallic paints and heat reactive pigment on cotton. The work is 125 cm long x 75 cm wide.

Bright red was chosen to highlight this famous image and to highlight the contemporary nature of Graffiti Art by using a color in the ’graffiti palette’ as depicted in the central image. The color red was also a highlight color due to the many associations it has with the movie star, in particular the overtly sensual and effervescent quality that was her hallmark.

Images of “Neu Kunst: Marilyn”

Neu Kunst: Marilyn (full view).

Neu Kunst: Marilyn (detailed view). Highlighting an area of stitching on the ArtCloth work.

Neu Kunst: Marilyn (detailed view). Image appropriated and based on Andy Warhol’s “Marilyn” print, which Prudence Emma Staite recreated using “Smarties” (M & M's).

Neu Kunst: Marilyn (detailed view). Image appropriated from Mimmo Rotella's decollage - which he created by ripping posters (particularly movie advertisements) off exterior walls, attaching the fragments to canvases, and then tearing off smaller pieces from the posters to create colorful, often amusing, collages.

Neu Kunst: Marilyn (detailed view). Image appropriated from an unknown USA photographer. A homeless person is sitting below a graffiti image of “Marilyn on a wall”.

Neu Kunst: Marilyn (detailed view). Image appropriated from an unknown USA graffiti artist. Stencil image of Marilyn on a wall.

Neu Kunst: Marilyn (detailed view). Image appropriated from an unknown USA graffiti artist who spray painted an image of Marilyn to see what she may look like when she aged.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Musings of a Textile Tragic - Lost in Translation
June, 2014 - Issue 114
Art Essay (TFF Column)

Co-Editor: Marie-Therese Wisniowski

The largest selling textile magazine in Australasia is Textile Fibre Forum (TFF). I am the co-editor of the magazine (its founder - Janet de Boer - being the other co-editor). Hence I have created a column within the magazine titled – Musings of a Textile Tragic. This column will appear on this blogspot together with a link and contents page of each new issue of the quarterly magazine once it is available from magazine outlets and on the ArtWear Publications website.

Front Cover of Textile Fibre Forum (June, 2014 - Issue 114).

For your convenience, I have listed links to other Musings articles:
Musings of a Textile Tragic
Co-Editor of TFF
Of Fires and Flooding Rain
Venusian Men
The ArtWork of Youth
Textile Tasters from My Workshop
Be Brave, The Rest Will Follow

Content Page of TFF - June 2014 Edition (Issue Number 114)

Musing of a Textile Tragic - Lost in Translation
Sometimes our fibre art just gets - “Lost in Translation”. Els van Baarle, who hails from The Netherlands, tells this wonderful story of entering one of her batik ArtCloth works in an exhibition that bracketed local works - from oil paintings to sculpture to prints on paper and supposedly fibre art. At the opening her husband arrived before her and entered the foyer for welcoming drinks only to notice that Els’ ArtCloth work was draped majestically on a table that was used to serve the drinks. He approached the curator and indicated Els would not be pleased with that arrangement. Within minutes before her arrival Els’ ArtCloth work was featured on a wall with the other artworks. Clearly a case of - “Lost in Translation”.

Els van Baarle - Batik, silkscreen, discharge on velvet cloth.
Size: 90 cm (w) x 300 cm (h).
Photograph Courtesy of Els van Baarle.

I will never forget that my first ArtCloth installation, which I created was my primitive art exhibition - “Codes”. I was fortunate that it was well attended and naturally my ego made me venture to the comments pages of the visitor’s book. I was intrigued to read someone was notably impressed with my artwork since they wrote - “What a lovely set of curtains”. Another case of - “Lost in Translation”.

Sometimes having your work - “Lost in Translation” - is a very handy and cost effective experience. For example, bringing and returning artworks across national borders can be a very expensive business, especially if government taxes get involved in the transfer. Needless to say, bringing ArtCloth through customs never bothers these regulations, since inspectors rarely envisage that cloth is an art medium. A $5,000 ArtCloth work is rendered as - “A very pretty fabric length. No bugs huh - move on!

There can be times when things get a little weird and disturbing, especially if your ArtCloth is exhibited in a fibre exhibition, where you would expect the visitors to be knowledgeable in fibre art. It therefore surprised me that at one of my openings - in which my pieces were generally 3 metres in length and 1 metre in width - I was approached and a request was made: “I don’t want to buy the whole piece (authors’ note: price tag of $5,000). How much would the bottom six inches cost?” Needless to say my answer was simple – alas too simple to repeat here!

When I mentioned this to Els she laughed and told me how polite Australians are! I looked at her confused. She then explained that in one of her exhibitions the artwork was returned to her with the bottom six inches missing - without payment. Apparently the Dutch are a little more aggressive!

Els van Baarle - 3 pieces of thick papers sewn together with copper wire, fabric background - wax and silkscreen.
Size: 80 cm (w) x 270 cm (h).
Photograph Courtesy of Joop van Houdt.

Detail of the above artwork. The artwork was returned to Els with the bottom 1/3rd of the piece (90 cms) missing as it had been cut off whilst being exhibited.

There was one fibre artist I met in Newcastle who was exhibiting with a group of us in that city. After we packed up the exhibition we started to chat about the lack of sales etc. “Oh”, she said, ”If I can’t sell my work I cut it up and use it for other projects”. She saw the horror in my face to which she responded: ”Not all of us are a Da Vinci”. Of course, there is only one Leonardo but for the likes of me I could not cut up my work. It is not me, even though I accept it could be me if I detested my work and then trust me, I would not exhibit it.

I have often stated that there are three necessary conditions that all artworks possess: (a) they must be “engaged”; (b) they are non-functional; (c) they are aesthetic. To make the "necessary" conditions clearer: (a) engagement - unknown buried art objects are not art since there cannot be an act of engagement; (b) functionality - wearable art is “art” when placed in an art context, but when placed in an non art context (e.g. when it is worn) its functionality obscures the act of engagement; (c) aesthetic - if we were blind, water color paintings or ArtCloth (where the hand of the cloth is unaltered) could not be conceived by our restricted senses and so would preclude an act of engagement. Hence the latter art forms - in a world without sight - would not be deemed as art.

Now this brings me to my final point with respect to the theme of this musing - “Lost in Translation”. The viewer of your artwork brings with them their experiences, knowledge and education/training. I always give my ArtCloth works a title and a summary of the rationale that underwrote the work. Nevertheless, I am continually amazed what the viewer reads into some of my ArtCloth work. Sometimes, yes sometimes, I wished I would have thought of the idea and claimed it was the cause (rationale) that generated the effect (my ArtCloth work). Oh why did I not see what this person saw! I guess this has been the motivating force behind naming artworks “Untitled”. It gives a clean slate to the rationale that underpins the artwork. Unfortunately, not naming my artwork does not work for me. So thank you to the viewer who thought that my ArtCloth piece - Global Warming: Surviving Remnants - was a metaphor for “…the life force that wills itself to overcome adversity in its quest to survive”.

Marie-Therese Wsiniowski's ArtCloth Work: Global Warming - Surviving Remnants.
Technique: MultiSperse Dye Sublimation technique on satin.
Size: 20.5 cm (h) x 20.5 cm (w).

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Man-Made Cellulosic Fibers – Viscose[1-3]
Art Resource

Marie-Therese Wisniowski

This is the twenty-eight post in the "Art Resource" series, specifically aimed to construct an appropriate knowledge base in order to develop an artistic voice in ArtCloth.

Other posts in this series are:
Glossary of Cultural and Architectural Terms
Units Used in Dyeing and Printing of Fabrics
Occupational, Health & Safety
A Brief History of Color
The Nature of Color
Psychology of Color
Color Schemes
The Naming of Colors
The Munsell Color Classification System
Methuen Color Index and Classification System
The CIE System
Pantone - A Modern Color Classification System
Optical Properties of Fiber Materials
General Properties of Fiber Polymers and Fibers - Part I
General Properties of Fiber Polymers and Fibers - Part II
General Properties of Fiber Polymers and Fibers - Part III
General Properties of Fiber Polymers and Fibers - Part IV
General Properties of Fiber Polymers and Fibers - Part V
Protein Fibers - Wool
Protein Fibers - Speciality Hair Fibers
Protein Fibers - Silk
Protein Fibers - Wool versus Silk
Timelines of Fabrics, Dyes and Other Stuff
Cellulosic Fibers (Natural) - Cotton
Cellulosic Fibers (Natural) - Linen
Other Natural Cellulosic Fibers
General Overview of Man-Made Fibers
Man-Made Cellulosic Fibers - Viscose
Man-Made Cellulosic Fibers - Esters
Man-Made Synthetic Fibers - Nylon
Man-Made Synthetic Fibers - Polyester
Man-Made Synthetic Fibers - Acrylic and Modacrylic
Man-Made Synthetic Fibers - Olefins
Man-Made Synthetic Fibers - Elastomers
Man-Made Synthetic Fibers - Mineral Fibers
Man Made Fibers - Other Textile Fibers
Fiber Blends
From Fiber to Yarn: Overview - Part I
From Fiber to Yarn: Overview - Part II
Melt-Spun Fibers
Characteristics of Filament Yarn
Yarn Classification
Direct Spun Yarns
Textured Filament Yarns
Fabric Construction - Felt
Fabric Construction - Nonwoven fabrics
A Fashion Data Base
Fabric Construction - Leather
Fabric Construction - Films
Glossary of Colors, Dyes, Inks, Pigments and Resins
Fabric Construction – Foams and Poromeric Material
Glossary of Fabrics, Fibers, Finishes, Garments and Yarns
Weaving and the Loom
Similarities and Differences in Woven Fabrics
The Three Basic Weaves - Plain Weave (Part I)
The Three Basic Weaves - Plain Weave (Part II)
The Three Basic Weaves - Twill Weave
The Three Basic Weaves - Satin Weave
Figured Weaves - Leno Weave
Figured Weaves – Piqué Weave
Figured Fabrics
Glossary of Art, Artists, Art Motifs and Art Movements
Crêpe Fabrics
Crêpe Effect Fabrics
Pile Fabrics - General
Woven Pile Fabrics
Chenille Yarn and Tufted Pile Fabrics
Knit-Pile Fabrics
Flocked Pile Fabrics and Other Pile Construction Processes
Glossary of Paper, Photography, Printing, Prints and Publication Terms
Napped Fabrics – Part I
Napped Fabrics – Part II
Double Cloth
Multicomponent Fabrics
Knit-Sew or Stitch Through Fabrics
Finishes - Overview
Finishes - Initial Fabric Cleaning
Mechanical Finishes - Part I
Mechanical Finishes - Part II
Additive Finishes
Chemical Finishes - Bleaching
Glossary of Scientific Terms
Chemical Finishes - Acid Finishes
Finishes: Mercerization
Finishes: Waterproof and Water-Repellent Fabrics
Finishes: Flame-Proofed Fabrics
Finishes to Prevent Attack by Insects and Micro-Organisms
Other Finishes
Shrinkage - Part I
Shrinkage - Part II

There are currently eight data bases on this blogspot, namely, the Glossary of Cultural and Architectural Terms, Timelines of Fabrics, Dyes and Other Stuff, A Fashion Data Base, the Glossary of Colors, Dyes, Inks, Pigments and Resins, the Glossary of Fabrics, Fibers, Finishes, Garments and Yarns, Glossary of Art, Artists, Art Motifs and Art Movements, Glossary of Paper, Photography, Printing, Prints and Publication Terms and the Glossary of Scientific Terms, which has been updated to Version 3.5. All data bases will be updated from time-to-time in the future.

If you find any post on this blog site useful, you can save it or copy and paste it into your own "Word" document etc. for your future reference. For example, Safari allows you to save a post (e.g. click on "File", click on "Print" and release, click on "PDF" and then click on "Save As" and release - and a PDF should appear where you have stored it). Safari also allows you to mail a post to a friend (click on "File", and then point cursor to "Mail Contents On This Page" and release). Either way, this or other posts on this site may be a useful Art Resource for you.

The Art Resource series will be the first post in each calendar month. Remember - these Art Resource posts span information that will be useful for a home hobbyist to that required by a final year University Fine-Art student and so undoubtedly, some parts of any Art Resource post may appear far too technical for your needs (skip over those mind boggling parts) and in other parts, it may be too simplistic with respect to your level of knowledge (ditto the skip). The trade-off between these two extremes will mean that Art Resource posts will hopefully be useful in parts to most, but unfortunately may not be satisfying to all!

Rayon occurs as two types, both of which are made from cellulose; cuprammonium and viscose. In recent years several new rayons called polynosic rayon have been developed with greater wet strength. Rayon is one of the cheapest "synthetics" and it is easily blended.

Generally, rayon is made primarily from wood pulp, which is chemically converted into a soluble compound. It is then dissolved and forced through a spinneret to produce filaments which are chemically solidified, resulting in synthetic fibers of nearly pure cellulose. As rayon is manufactured from naturally occurring polymers, it is considered a semi-synthetic fiber. Specific types of rayon include viscose, cuprammonium, polynosic rayon (modal and lyocell) each of which differs in manufacturing process and properties of the finished product.

Today we shall concentrate on only one form of rayon called viscose.

Viscose Fibers.

Source and Production of Rayon
A regenerated cellulose finer means that it is cellulose in a different physical but same chemical form. Most rayons today are made by the viscose process; that is, wood pulp or cotton linters are soaked in caustic soda and treated with other chemicals so that the liquid can be forced through holes of a spinneret into a bath of sulphuric acid, which hardens the newly formed fibers. For smooth appearing fabrics, the filaments are wound directly on bobbins or cones. For cotton or wool-like fabrics, the filaments are cut into short lengths and spun into yarn.

Spun Viscose.
Note: Viscose rayon fiber polymer solution is first de-aerated and then pumped under pressure through a metering pump unit, then through the filter and finally through the spinneret.

Cuprammomium is another process which is similar to viscose, but usually results in a finer yarn.

Other more recently developed rayons are polynosic and high-modulus. Common trade names are Avril and Zantrel: these do not shrink in laundering and have a fine silky feel. They are stronger than regular rayons. In many ways they are similar to cotton.

General Properties of Rayons
Microscopic Appearance
The finer appears like a smooth rod. Therefore fibers tend to shed dirt easily and yarns will fray unless made from staple lengths and into spun rayon fabrics.

Burning Behaviour
Burns fast like other cellulose fibers with an door of paper and a soft greyish ash.

Most rayons are moderately strong when dry but are weaker when wet (see below). They need special care during washing. High-modulus rayons are strong and not weakened by moisture.

Wrinkles easily (see below) and so needs special finishing treatments.

May be washed like other cellulose fibers except some rayons lose strength when wet and need a short cycle when washed by machine. May be dried at any temperature and pressed with a medium-hot iron (almost as hot as for cotton). Will shrink unless given a shrink-resistant finish. Note: wrinkle-resistant finishes are also used to add body as well as to improve resistance to wrinkling and to minimize ironing.

Rayon is often known as the great imitator since it can be made to resemble fabrics of silk, cotton, linen and wool. It is often blended with other man-made fibers to add absorbency, to cut costs and because it takes certain dyes so beautifully. Most "paper" fabrics are made from rayon fibers.

Viscose is a man-made, natural polymer, cellulosic or regenerated cellulose filament or stable fiber. The International Organization for Standardization defines viscose as: regenerated cellulose obtained by the viscose process. The name viscose was derived from the word "viscous", which describes the liquid state of the spinning solution. A viscous solution is thick and flows slowly, like honey or syrup.

The fiber density of viscose is 1.49 g cm-3, which makes it a heavy weight fiber, similar to cotton and flax.

Electron Micrograph of Viscose Fibers.

Viscose is a fine, regular filament or staple fiber that is usually manufactured in the crimped configuration in order to overcome the very regular, smooth and slippery nature of the uncrimped equivalent.

Viscose is extruded in fiber diameters of 12 to 22 microns, depending on its end-use requirements. The fiber length to breadth ratio is in excess of 2000:1, which ensures that even shorter staple fibers will spin satisfactorily into yarn.

Schematic Cross-Section of Viscose Fiber.
Courtesy reference[1].

The color of the extruded viscose filaments tends to be slightly off white, which is due to its translucency, and which permits some light to pass through the filaments before it is reflected. Although, most of the incident light is reflected, some of it is transmitted and so viscose appears off-white.

Most of the incident light upon viscose is reflected with considerable intensity from the staple fibers’ smooth and regular surface, resulting in a harsh bright luster. Hence a delustering agent, such as titanium oxide, is added to the spinning solution.

The viscose cellulose polymer is linear like cotton, but it does not have the spiral configuration of cotton. The viscose polymer system is similar to cotton, however, unlike cotton the amorphous region constitutes 65 - 60%, whereas the crystalline region is 35 - 40% (the reverse of the cotton polymer system). The viscose polymer is only composed of 175 celloboise units, and not the 5000 associated with the cotton polymer. This is due to the relative short viscose polymers making it difficult for a large ordered crystalline region.

The Cellobiose Unit of Viscose.
Note: Like cotton, the viscose polymer contains important chemical groups such as the hydroxyl group (-OH) and the methylol group (-CH2OH). Their polarity gives rise to hydrogen bonds between the OH groups of adjacent viscose polymers, yielding a structural integrity to the viscose polymer system. It should be also noted the van der Waals forces are also present, but these forces are much weaker than hydrogen bonds.

Physical Properties of Viscose
The viscose polymer system is very amorphous and so its filaments or staple fibers are weaker than cotton and only have a fair tenacity. The shorter, more poorly aligned viscose polymers give rise to fewer hydrogen bonds than would otherwise be possible. When wet, viscose is only half as strong as dry, which once again is attributed to its very amorphous nature, which readily permits the entry of water molecules into its polymer system. On entry the water molecules push the polymers apart, breaking significant numbers of hydrogen bonds, and rendering a weaker fiber.

Length of Polymer Chains of Viscose.
Note: Cotton has long polymer chains, whereas viscose has much shorter polymer chains. Longer polymer chains leads to larger crystalline regions (cotton ca. 65%), whereas shorter polymer chains leads to a less crystalline structure (viscose ca. 35%).
Courtesy of reference[1].

Elastic-Plastic Nature
Viscose is a limp handling fiber, because its polymer system is very amorphous. Its polymers are not sufficiently long for a more satisfactory alignment, and so do not allow the formation of more hydrogen bonds, which would result in a more rigid polymer system, and thus yielding a crisper handle to the viscose fiber and its textile materials.

The very amorphous nature and fewer hydrogen bonds of viscose when compared with cotton, enable the polymers to slide pass each other when the filament or staple fiber is put under strain. When the strain is removed, the polymers do not return to the original position they occupied in the polymer system. Thus, the polymer system of the filaments will be disarranged and the viscose fabric will become distorted, stretched, wrinkled and or creased.

Viscose and other regenerated cellulose fibers, become more plastic when wet, for similar reasons used to explain its reduced wet tenacity.

Hygroscopic Nature
The very amorphous polymer system of viscose, as well as the polarity of its polymer system, make viscose the most absorbent fiber in common use.

With regard to other hygroscopic properties (such as crispness and static electricity) the explanations given to cotton apply to viscose.

Thermal Properties
Viscose has similar thermal properties to cotton. The explanations offered for cotton also applies to this fiber. The poorer heat resistance and heat conductivity of viscose compared to cotton rests with the shortness of its polymer length. As heat is applied the small crystalline region polymers vibrate, but since in viscose the polymer chain is short, its vibrations cannot be dissipated along the length of its short chain when compared to the situation for longer chained cotton polymer. As a result, the vibrational energy per polymer unit is much more disruptive and so hydrogen bonds, which are severed, cannot be countered by those that are formed (the latter is larger than the former in the cotton polymer system).

Viscose is the most common man-made fiber that is not thermoplastic, due to its hygroscopic nature, which enables it to absorb water molecules very readily into its large amorphous region of the viscose polymer system. These water molecules sever a significant number of hydrogen bonds, which prevent the retention of any heat-set.

Chemical Properties of Viscose
The chemical properties of cotton and all the regenerated cellulose fibers are similar and so explanations given for the chemical properties of cotton apply also to viscose (as well as to all regenerated cellulose fibers). However, in general the shorter polymers and the very amorphous nature of the regenerated cellulose fibers (such as viscose) are responsible for the much greater sensitivity of these fibers to acids, alkalis, bleaches, sunlight and weather - when compared to cotton.

With regard to dyeing and printing, the regenerated cellulose fibers will generally color more brightly, even when delustered, than their mercerised cotton equivalents. This is due to the greater amount of incident light reflected by viscose, even when delustered. The reflected light brightens, or increases the value and chroma of the dyed or printed viscose fabrics.

Luster of Dyed and Printed Viscose Fabric.

[1] A Fritz and J. Cant, Consumer Textiles, Oxford University Press, Melbourne (1986).

[2] E.P.G. Gohl and L.D. Vilensky, Textile Science, Longman Cheshire, Melbourne (1989).

[3] E. J. Gawne, Fabrics for Clothing, 3rd Edition, Chas. A. Bennett Co., Peoria (1973).