Saturday, July 25, 2015

Hawaiian Quilts – Part II[1-2]
Art Review

Marie-Therese Wisniowski

For your convenience I have listed other posts in this series:
Hawaiian Quilts - Part I.
Hawaiian Quilts - Part III.

Hawaiian Culture[1]
The 1959 Statehood Admissions Act of Hawai’i (USA) defines a Native Hawaiian person as - “any individual who is a descendant of the aboriginal people who, prior to 1778, occupied and exercised sovereignty in the area that now constitutes the State of Hawaii” (Statehood Admissions Act of Hawai’i, 1959). The term “Hawaiian” is not necessarily the preferred Native Hawaiian term within this ethnic group; rather the proper term in the Hawaiian language is Kanaka Maoli, which translates as “true” or “real” person.

Young women in traditional dress, Kauai (Hawaii).

The native Hawaiian concept of “self” is grounded in social relationships and tied to the view that the individual, society, and nature are inseparable and key to psychological health. Such relational and emotional bonds are expected to support and protect each member, which in turn can promote psychological “well-being”.

Men's aloha wear. Lava Lava-men sarong wrap.

Tradition native Hawaiian conception of psyche: person, family, nature and spiritual world. Mana is “life energy” and lokahi is harmony” Thus, ohana can be considered an extended and complex arrangement of roles and relationships that include all of the following: Ke Akua (god), Aumakua (family guardian gods), Kupuna (family elders), Makua (parents), Opio (children), Moopuna (grandchildren) and Hanai children (those offspring of other families incorporated into another family to be raised and cared for).

Hawaiian conception of psyche.
Courtesy of reference[1].

Within this framework, health and illness are considered to be a function of those forces that serve to either promote or to destroy harmony. Given the importance of the complex social fabric for native Hawaiians, many of these forces reside in events and behaviors that support or undermine social and spiritual relations. For example, things that destroy the social fabric include the following behaviors: hate (ina’ina); jealousy (lili); rudeness (ho’okano); being nosy (niele); bearing a grudge (ho’omauhala); bragging (ha’anui); showing off (ho’oi’o); breaking promises (hua Olelo); speaking bitter thoughts (waha ‘awa); stealing, fighting, and hostile (huhu) behaviour.

Traditional Hawaiian statues on the beach

Destruction of the spiritual fabric occurs when forces come into play when an individual or a family violates certain taboos or restrictions, thus opening the door for supernatural forces seeking propitiation or mollification to enter their lives. These forces are: offended ghosts (lapu); natural spirits (kupua); spirit guardians (aumakua); ancestor/elders (kupuna); black magic or sorcery (ana’ana); curse (anai).

Male Hawaiian hula dancers.

The resolution of both social and supernatural conflicts can occur by using prosocial behaviors (i.e. any action intended to help others) and certain rituals that can restore and promote lokahi. Prosocial behaviors include adopting the behaviors of a Kanaka Makua (a good person). These behaviors include the following: humility and modesty (ha’aha’a); politeness and kindness (‘olu’olu); helpfulness (kokua); acceptance, hospitality, and love (aloha).

Hawaiian tattoos.

Ritualistic behaviors that can restore and promote harmony include the following native Hawaiian healing arts: herbal treatments (la’au kahea); purification baths (kapu kai); massage (lomi lomi); special diets and fasting; confession and apology (mihi); dream interpretation (moe ‘uhane); clairvoyance (hihi’o); prayer ( pule ho’onoa); transfer of thought (Ho ‘olulu ia); possession (noho); water blessings ( pi kai); spirit “medium-ship” (haka).

Thus, the Native Hawaiian worldview encompasses a complex system that is rooted in the interaction of body, mind, and spirit, and is directly tied to prosocial human relations and prospiritual relations. The restoration of health and wellbeing requires the adoption of prosocial behaviors and engagement in the healing arts and protocols that can re-establish interpersonal and psychological harmony.

Traditional chines. Hawaiian medicine incorporates many tools in its holistic approach to health in order to balance the mind, body, and spirit. Some of these tools include lomilomi (traditional Hawaiian message), connecting with the breath (Ha), clearing and letting go of unhealthy thoughts and feelings so we can be rightly aligned with our self (ho’oponopono), medicinal herbs, prayer, intention, affirmation, and chants.

Early Hawaiian quilts therefore represent a complex psychological state due to the intersection of taught Christian values overlapping in a Venn-like construct with the more in-grained traditional psychological mores.

Hawaiian Quilts – Part II[2]

Artist unknown – The Beautiful Unequaled Gardens of Eden and Elenale (Late 19th early 20th Century).
Background[2]: This unique quilt is one of the few historic examples believed to be made by a man. The original owner stated that it had been made “…by a great-great-granduncle of my husband and handed down to him by an uncle” – a most uncommon linage for a quilt.

The quilt’s two pictorial sections juxtapose a scene out of Hawaiian legend with a central image of the Christian religion brought to Hawaii by American missionaries in the nineteen century. The right side of the quilt depicts Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, while the left side presents Elenale and Leinaala, the mythical hero and heroine of a popular nineteenth century Hawaiian romance. The story of Elenale and Leinaala was the first literary work ever published in Hawaiian, which is strictly an oral language until codified by the missionaries. In it the supernatural Elenale grew up in an eponymous magic garden, which Hawaiians considered second to only to Eden in its pristine beauty. Elenale fell in love with the earthly princess Leinaala and rescued her from a witch which held her captive.
Technique: Cottons, hand appliqued and quilted.
Size: 86 x 98 inches.

Artist unknown – Quilt for Queen Lili’uokalani (ca. 1893).
Background[2]: Queen Lili’uokalani, the last monarch of the Hawaiian kingdom, reigned from January 1891 to January 1893, when she was forced to relinquish control of the islands to a provisional government that favored the annexation by USA.
Technique: Hawaiian island cottons, hand appliqúed and quilted.
Size: 98 x 96 inches.

Queen Lili’uokalani and assistants - Queen Lili’uokalani’s Crazy Quilt (ca. 1895).
Background[2]: This quilt is a remarkable document. Queen Lili’uokalani’s arrest in January of 1895 after a substantial cache of arms were found on the grounds of her home, suggesting a treasonable act of rebellion was to ensue against the provisional government. She was found guilty and sentenced to hard labor, although the sentence was not carried out.

The quilt bears the embroidered phrase: “Imprisoned at ‘Iolani Palace. We began this quilt there”. Also embroidered on the quilt are dates of the Queen’s birth, ascension to the throne, dethronement, arrest and abdication, as well as the names of the queen’s supporters and women who assisted in completing the quilt. Tiny pairs of crossed Hawaiian flags appear at each corner of the quilt’s central square.
Technique: Honolulu Oahu silks, hand pieced and embroidered.
Size: 98.6 x 96 inches.

Artist unknown – Cross Flags Quilt (late 19th/early 20thCentury).
Background[2]: The royal Hawaiian flag’s design was a combination of the red, white and blue stripes of the USA and the Union Jack of the British flag. It consisted of alternating red, white and blue stripes representing the major islands of Hawaii, with the Union Jack placed in the upper left hand corner. The Hawaiian flag first raised its standard eight-stripe shape in 1845, when Kauai, which was previously a territory, officially became part of the kingdom.
Technique: Cottons, hand pieced, appliqúed and quilted.
Size: 90.5 x 84.5 inches.

Artist unknown - My Beloved Flag (early 20th Century).
Background[2]: This complex quilt is a superior example of the form most recognizable and fully mature state, probably made after the islands were annexed by the USA in 1898. Four Hawaiian flags are pieced around a central motif of Hawaiian royal symbols. The eight stars undoubtedly stand for the eight major islands of the Hawaiian chain, as do the eight stripes on each of the flags. The Hawaiian seal did not include stars until after Queen Lili’uokalani was deposed in 1893, so the quilt must have been made after that event.
Technique: Cottons hand piece, appliqúed and quilted.
Size: 74.5 x 79 inches.

Artist unknown – Crown and Wreath (ca. 1900).
Background[2]: This simple design enlarges the single royal crown found on the 1845 Hawaiian coat of arms into a bold central motif and surrounds the crown with a laurel wreath. The crown and wreath are framed by an equally uncomplicated outside floral border.
Technique: Cottons hand appliqúed and quilted.
Size: 78.25 x 77.25 inches.

Artist: Amy Hobbs Maihikoa – Embroidered Plumes (ca. 1904)
Background[2]: Amy Hobbs Maihikoa made this delicate embroidered quilt as a wedding present for her daughter. Sixteen pairs of embroidered plumes set in a variety of orientations decorate the quilt, which is covered with intricate hand quilting stitching.
Technique: Cotton, hand embroidered and quilted.
Size: 79 x 77.5 inches.

Artist unknown – Fan and Feather Plume (early 20th Century).
Background[2]: The fan and feather plume is a traditional pattern often worked by island quilters. Because a pair of warrior chiefs holding feather plume standards was depicted on the royal Hawaiian coat of arms, this popular design motif, like a flag quilt, held sentimental meaning for island quilt makers. The stylized fans and plumes and stark red-on-white color scheme make it a powerful graphic design. On this example the quilt maker has framed the traditional pattern with a floral border.
Technique: Cottons hand appliqúed and quilted.
Size: 83 x 75 inches.

[1] L.D. McCubbin and A. Marsella, Native Hawaiians and Psychology: The Cultural and Historical Context of Indigenous Ways of Knowing, Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 15, 374 – 387.
[2] R. Shaw, “Hawaiian Quilt Masterpieces”, H. Lauter Levin Associates, Inc., China (1996), ISBN 0-88363-396-5

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Aboriginal Batiks From Northern Queensland (Australia)[1]

Marie-Therese Wisniowski

During the early 1980s and 90s the teaching of batik to Aboriginal women and men was on the move from its original source at Ernabella to other aboriginal art centers as far afield as Western Australia and in Cairns, far Northern Queensland (Australia).

Cairns is in Northern Queensland (Australia).

Screen printing has been an integral part of the Aboriginal and Islander Art Course at the Far North Queensland Institute of Technical and Further Education (TAFE) since its inception in 1984.

See - Banggu Minjaany Art Gallery

General Techniques Used On Aboriginal ArtCloths[1]
Batik is an artistic process in which designs are created on fabric using a wax resist. The wax is applied to the fabric via a brush or canting, the latter is a tool that holds the wax in a reservoir to enable the artist to draw the wax onto the fabric.

The wax is applied successively between dye baths of different colors, with each new waxing blocking out (or resisting) the dye to penetrate those waxed areas, thereby enabling the artist to control the coloration of the fabric.

The dyes need to be light fast cold water dyes in order to ensure that the wax can be removed without altering the coloration of the fabric as well as to ensure that the handle of the fabric will return to its original feel. Napthol dyes are the dyes of choice.

After a final rinse in water, the fabrics are hung to dry normally in a shaded area, since sunlight can cause the dyed cloths to fade or become fugitive . The wax is usually removed from the fabric using boiling water, which also contains a little soda ash or caustic soda to assist in the removal of the wax. For extra finishing some fabrics are dry-cleaned.

Lino-Block Printing On Fabric
Lino block is cut in order to produce a raised surface, which on inking, is then pressed or printed onto the surface of the fabric. Squares of linoleum are used for printing, with the designs drawn onto the block and then with lino-carving tools or knives cut out to create a positive or raised image for printing. The ink or dye is applied to the raised relief using rollers. The block is then pressed or printed onto the surface of the fabric in a repeat or sometimes random manner.

Ink or dye can be used. In the case of ink it is fixed onto the fabric using heat. For dyes, they first must be thickened with a thickening agent (such as Manutex) to allow the dye to adhere to the relief surface of the block. The fabric is then steamed in order to fix the color onto the fabric and the thickening agent is removed by washing the fabric out in water.

Screen Printing
Using a silk screen one can transfer an image onto a fabric. A silk screen is a fine mesh usually nowadays made from a synthetic fiber, rather than from silk (an old custom that is no longer used due to cost). The synthetic fiber is stretch across a rectangular or square frame, usually made from wood. The dye or ink is forced through the screen via a squeegee (that is, a wooden handle with a rubber blade that is attached to the handle).

There are various methods used to transfer an image. One is to make a photo emulsion and develop a permanent image on the silk screen. A negative image is placed on the surface of a screen, which has been coated with a light sensitive emulsion. The screen is exposed to light causing an image to be formed on the surface of the screen. The unexposed emulsion is washed out leaving a “positive” image resident on the screen. The ink or dye is pushed through spaces of the screen that are clear of any emulsion – the emulsion that is left on the screen acts as the resist, stopping the dye from passing through the screen and so preventing it from entering the fabric.

Rubylith film can also be used to mask the screen. The film is cut into a design which is adhered to the silk screen; the film prevents inks or dyes passing through the screen onto the fabric and therefore acts as a resist.

Hand Painting With Fiber Reactive Dyes
Artists also hand paint silks using fiber reactive dyes. To create the design, a Gutta resist is employed. Gutta is a thick honey-like substance, which prevents dyes from bleeding , so the artist can color areas devoid of the Gutta. The Gutta is usually applied from a bottle with a fine nozzle, thereby allowing the designs to be rendered in great detail.

Dyes are painted in the spaces enclosed by the Gutta. The dyes are called fiber reactive, since chemical bonds are formed between the dye and the fabric ensuring that they are strongly adhered to the fabric surfaces. After the dye painting process has been completed, the cloth is steam-fixed to the dye and the Gutta is washed out. Steam provides the energy for the reaction between the dye and the fabric to occur quickly. This process is best suited to silk fabrics. To make painting the silk more easy and to apply the dye more precisely, the silks are sometimes stretched across a frame.

Aboriginal Batik From Northern Queensland[1]

Painters: Boony-Jo Tait and Sean Perrier.
Title: Looking Back On My Dreaming (1993) (Detailed View).
Technique: Batik On Cotton.
Size: 128.5 cm (width) x 280 cm (length).
Place: Cairns, Queensland (Australia).
Collection: National Gallery Of Victoria.

Painter: Barry Bismark.
Title: Fish Design (1991).
Technique: Batik On Cotton.
Size: 85 cm (width) x 133.5 cm (length).
Place: Cairns, Queensland (Australia).
Collection: National Gallery Of Victoria.

Painter: Jenuarrie.
Title: Wall Hanging (1992).
Technique: Batik On Cotton.
Size: 111 cm (width) x 160 cm (length).
Place: Queensland (Australia).
Collection: National Gallery Of Victoria.

Painter: Heather Walker.
Title: Wall Hanging (1992).
Technique: Batik On Cotton.
Size: 110 cm (width) x 160 cm (length).
Place: Queensland (Australia).
Collection: National Gallery Of Victoria.

Painter: Robert Mast.
Title: Turtle Shell Mask (1995).
Technique: Batik On Cotton.
Size: 83.7 cm (width) x 200 cm (length).
Place: Cairns, Queensland (Australia).
Collection: National Gallery Of Victoria.

Painter: Brian Robinson.
Title: Le-op (Face Of Man) (1995).
Technique: Batik On Cotton.
Size: 86 cm (width) x 116 cm (length).
Place: Cairns, Queensland (Australia).
Collection: National Gallery Of Victoria.

Painter: Unknown.
Title: Turtle-Shell Mask (1994).
Technique: Screen Print On Cotton.
Size: 90 cm (width) x 136.7 cm (length).
Place: Cairns, Queensland (Australia).
Collection: National Gallery Of Victoria.

Painter: Sophie Buli.
Title: Dharrri (Head Dress) (1995).
Technique: Batik On Cotton.
Size: 87 cm (width) x 144 cm (length).
Place: Cairns, Queensland (Australia).
Collection: National Gallery Of Victoria.

Painter: Marsat Newman.
Title: Island Mask (1994).
Technique: Batik On Cotton.
Size: 72.5 cm (Width) x 82 cm (Length).
Place: Cairns, Queensland (Australia).
Collection: National Gallery Of Victoria.

Painter: Ken Thaiday Jnr..
Title: Dance (1991).
Technique: Screen Print On Cotton.
Size: 80.6 cm (width) x 132.7 cm (length).
Place: Cairns, Queensland (Australia).
Collection: National Gallery Of Victoria.
Note: Printed textiles such as Ken Thaiday Junior’s Dance (1991) are dynamic one-off experimental ArtCloths that had grown out of his work with linocuts, in which stark figuration overrides pattern. Thaiday’s cotton screen print evokes male dancers in grass skirts and dharri (head-dresses) energetically dancing and beating drums.

[1] J. Ryan and R. Healy, Raiki Wara, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne (1998).

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Margaret Preston[1]
Fine-Art Prints

Marie-Therese Wisniowski

Margaret Preston was an Australian artist who was known during the 1920s to 1940s for her modernist works as a painter and printmaker and for introducing Aboriginal motifs into contemporary art.

Australian rock lily (ca. 1936).
Technique: Woodcut and hand colored.

She was born on the 29th of April, 1875 and died on the 28th May, 1963. The images and story behind her work have been aptly summarized by Elizabeth Butel [1]. This post will mainly concentrate on her prints on paper.

Margaret Preston[1]
Margaret Preston was Australia’s foremost woman painter between the wars, a period when many of the best artists were women. Their art was done more for pleasure and for inner necessity than for money or fame.

Margaret Rose Preston (nee MacPherson) during her time as a teacher in Adelaide.

Preston was talented, adventurous and certainly the most vociferous of the women artists. She differed from her compatriots in her more strident demands for recognition – not simply for her own art, but for the many theories she held about Australia’s artistic atrophy. Her single most urgent plea was for a truly indigenous national art for this country, liberated from the United Kingdom and from the threat of internationalism. Her spiritual crusade was informed by her broad and bursting personality and was also an outcome of her tenacity bred in her by experience.

Hollyhocks (1929).
Technique: Woodcut and hand colored.

Many of Australia's women artists from the early part of the twentieth century received financial support from their families and so did not feel the pressure to compete commercially. However, for Preston the story was otherwise. Her itinerant childhood, from Adelaide to Sydney to Melbourne, ended in her mid teens with a return to the city of her birth in 1894 for her sailor father’s final illness and death. While studying at the Adelaide School of Design she began teaching to help support her widowed mother and younger sister, a career that continued long after the death of her mother and marriage of her sister. Preston submitted to the strain of teaching rather than to compromise her art in order to tailor it for the “market”. She wanted - as she wrote in 1927 - to paint her pictures as she would, to choose her own subjects and do them in her own way, leaving all thought of selling out of her mind.

Protea (1925).
Technique: Woodcut and hand painted.

Her determination to see where she stood artistically took her to England and Europe from 1904 to 1907, where her pride in her accomplished realism was shattered by coming face-to-face with modern European art, an experience described in 1927 in “From Eggs to Electrolux”.

“There in that horrid country no one seemed to understand Australian-German, or appreciate Australian art. They were all hopeless. It was even worse for her when she found herself understanding what apparently sane artists and students were saying about a certain picture at a Secessionist Exhibition – a picture that had a large pink dragon, with a lady victim clad in yellow, being rescued by a gentleman in black clothes... They were actually admiring it. It made her feel sick.”

Pansies (1925).
Technique: Woodcut and hand painted.

Overcoming her nausea she sought enlightenment through the study of Japanese art at the Musée Guimer and learnt “slowly that there were more than one vision of art”. Her advances over her Australian contemporaries have, in part, been attributed to her study of this art that directly influenced Post-Impressionism, rather than her analysis of Post-Impressionism itself.

Gums (ca. 1925).
Technique: Woodcut and hand painted.

Returning to South Australia she resumed her teaching and her art practice, saving in that period with the aim to return to Paris. In 1912 she returned to Paris, consolidating her earlier lessons by an eight year stay in England and Europe, which allowed her to experience the fierce, non-realistic color and bold - apparently crude draughtsmanship - of the Fauvists. Precision design was now aided by decorative possibilities of color.

Wheel Flower (ca. 1929).
Technique: Woodcut and hand painted.

Margaret Preston’s invigorating, expressive and powerful art view of “decorative”, was quite different from the vapid, artificial prettiness that has come to be associated with that term.

Anemones (1925).
Technique: Woodcut and hand painted.

Living in England during World War I, she taught pottery and basket-weaving to shell-shocked soldiers at a military hospital on the Devon Moors, all the while developing her skills as a colorist.

Some of the shell-shocked soldiers to whom Preston taught basket-weaving at the Seale-Hayne Neurological Military Hospital, Devonshire (UK).

By the time of her marriage to William George Preston in Australia in 1919, she had been studying, teaching and experimenting with her art for almost thirty years. This late and financially secure marriage released her from the need to earn her living and allowed her full rein in applying her considerable energies and willpower to develop her art and her theories on art. Settling in Sydney where local modernism was a stylish, pale variant of the European mode, she applied her aesthetic to interior decoration, fabric design and even flower arrangement, in addition to printing and printmaking.

Hakea, Ravensthorpe (ca. 1932).
Technique: Woodcut and hand colored.

The Australia she returned to was an urban society, but one which still saw landscape and pioneering traditions of the nineteenth century as its most appropriate visual expression. Depressed urban workers were led to believe that the bush was a place of healing - away from the diseased life of the city. Furthermore, the bush was regarded as masculine in gender, a place to escape from the ladylike refinements of the city and from women’s challenge to supremacy, which had arisen through freedoms that had come to women during the war.

Magnolia (ca. 1937).
Technique: Woodcut hand colored.

Newly and happily married, freed from financial constraints and in complete command of her artistry, Margaret Preston at middle age set about challenging the bush ethos and the entrenched traditionalism of Australian art. Her attack was vigorous, multifaceted and sustained over the next twenty-five to thirty years. Her work reflects the conviction of a fresh, original mind.

The Hunt (1957-59).
Technique: Woodcut hand colored.

[1]E. Butel, Margaret Preston, Imprint, Potts Point (1995).

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Characteristics of Filament Yarn[1]
Art Resource

Marie-Therese Wisniowski

This is the forty-first 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!

Chemical spinning produces filament fiber, filament yarn and filament tow. (Filament tow is made into a staple and processed by mechanical spinning – see previous post). It is a process in which a polymer solution is extruded through a spinneret, solidified in fiber form and the individual filaments are immediately brought together with or without a slight twist to make the yarn, which is then wound onto a bobbin. Thus filament fiber spinning and filament yarn spinning are parts of the same process.

Chemical spinning of a filament yarn.

Before the twentieth century the only continuous filament yarn was silk, an item of luxury. All utility fabrics were made with yarns containing staple fibers. Man-made continuous filament yarns made silk-like fabrics available for the mass market. Continuous filament yarns are classified into two groups: regular filament yarns (today’s post) and textured filament yarns (a future post).

Continuous filament fibers of PrimaLoft Synergy multi-denier insulation.
Image courtesy of PrimaLoft.

Regular Filament Yarns
When a new fiber is being developed, filament yarn production usually proceeds production of tow for staple. Filament yarns are more expensive in price per pound; however, the cost of making tow into staple and then spinning it into yarn by the mechanical spinning process usually makes the final cost approximately the same. The number of holes in the spinneret determines the number of filaments in the yarn.

Polyester tow waste.

The filament yarn is a finished product unless additional twisting or finishing is required in which case the yarn is sent to a throwing mill.

Throwing is a term that originally meant twisting and/or plying (doubling) of the filament. It now includes finishing and texturizing. The throwing process provides the weaver or knitter with the type of yarn needed for a particular fabric to be made – crepe or voile, for example. Throwsters work in two ways: they buy the raw yarn, process it and sell the processed yarn; or they work on a commission basis in which the customer buys the raw yarn, and sends it to the throwster who processes to order, and returns it to the customer, charging for their services. The latter scheme is beneficial for the customer, since they can meet the seasonal demand and fashion changes without investing in specialized equipment.

Banana silk throwster – multi-colored.

Characteristics of Filament Yarns
Regular filament yarns are smooth and silk-like as they come from the spinneret. Their smooth nature gives them more luster than spun yarns, but the luster varies with the amount of delustering agent used in the spinning solution and the amount of twist in the yarn. Maximum luster is obtained by use of bright filaments, which are laid together with little or no twist. Crepe yarns, of very high twist, were developed as a means of reducing the luster of filaments. Filament yarns are generally used with either high twist or low twist.

High twist polyester yarn.

Low twist singles yarns and knit samples. These yarns and samples have been washed but not blocked.

Filament yarns have no protruding ends so they do not shed lint; they resist pilling and fabrics made from them shed soil. Filaments of a round cross-section pack well into compact yarns, which give little bulk, loft or cover to a fabric. Compactness is a disadvantage in some end-uses, where bulk and absorbency are necessary for comfort.

The strength of a filament yarn depends on the strength of the individual fibers and on the number of filaments in the yarn. Filament fiber strength is usually greater than that of staple fibers. For example,
(i) polyester filaments – 5 to 8 grams per denier tensile strength.
(ii) polyester staple – 3 to 5.5. grams per denier tensile strength.
Note: Denier is defined as mass in grams per 9000 meter of a filament.

The strength of each filament is fully utilized. In order to break the yarn, the filaments must be broken. Therefore, it is possible to make very sheer fabrics of fine filaments that have good tensile strength. Filament yarns reach their maximum strength at about 3 turns per inch or per 2.5 cm, after which the strength either remains constant or decreases.

Fine filament yarns are soft and supple. However, they are not as resistant to abrasion as coarse filaments; so for durability, it may be desirable to have fewer, but coarser filaments in the yarn. Filament yarns are made with a denier (size) designed for a particular end use. For example,
(i) 15 denier for sheer hosiery.
(ii) 40 to 70 denier for tricot lingerie, blouses and shirts.
(iii) 140 to 520 denier for different types of apparel.
(iv) 520 to 840 denier for upholstery.
(v) 1040 denier for yarn for carpets.

Hosiery is sheer but not durable, due to its small tensile strength. However, due its low tensile strength, it has a soft handle.

A comparison of spun yarns and filament yarns are given in the following table.

Comparison of spun yarns and filament yarns.

[1] N. Hollen and J. Saddler, Textiles, 3rd Edition, MacMillan Company, London (1968).