Saturday, September 26, 2015

Balinese Paintings - Tabing (Part III)

Marie-Therese Wisniowski

Art inspired by a particular religious background has featured on this blog spot. For your convenience I have listed some posts on this topic below:
Islamic Art
Historical Israeli Batik Artworks
19th to 20th Century Australian Christian Embroidery

The Balinese are of Hindu faith and so many of their art cloths reflect on Hindu themes.

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 IV.

Today’s post is the third post on tabings. Tabings are roughly square and are put against the wood back of the raised bed, which is the centre of all Balinese household rituals, forming a backdrop to the offerings laid out on such occasions. They are also used in a similar way in temple pavilions. The form covers not only illustrative scenes, but also various kinds of calendars, which are painted within the traditional style.

Tabing – Sumantasantaka
Size: 185 x 132 cm.
Courtesy of Tropenmuseum.
Comment: Date painted ca.1900.

A couple, with iconography similar to Arjuna and Suprabha (but this may be from the Sumanasantaka) depicting the wedding and then a battle scene.

Before we discuss the stories that are the subject of tabings we need to understand how the Balinese view the divisions between “left” and “right”.

The Balinese Divisions Between “Left” and “Right”[1]
The division between left and right is commonly conceived in human societies between bad (or uncivilized) and good (or civilized). For example, chopsticks are non-handed implements and yet throughout Asia, using chopsticks in your left hand to cook or to eat would be considered “uncouth” or uncivilized. Similarly in all Indonesian societies the division between bad and good is also handed. It is very apparent in the wayang kulit(i.e. shadow puppet play), where the dalang (i.e. puppeteer) taking the puppets out at the beginning of a performance, places the “good” characters on his/her right and the “bad” characters on her/his left. The terms “of the left” and “of the right” are widely used to refer to the nature of characters. The whole cast of puppets is at the start divided into left and right, and the audience automatically knows which are the "good" and "bad" characters that are waiting in the wings, and hence from which side they will enter. The center of the screen is the proper place of the gunungan (i.e. the central tree-on-the-mountain puppet), and it is the place of action; the performers all enter and retire to the appropriate side depending of the nature of the characters. The dalang places the "good" figures on his/her right, but as the audience faces the puppeteer, the "good" characters are viewed on their left, so that except for the dalang, the “good” figures on the puppeteer's “right” are in fact seen by the audience on their “left”.

All of the main characters of the wayang kulit are on display as the puppet master gets ready. From the (audience, puppeteer) viewpoint good characters will appear on the (left, right); evil characters on the (right, left). The fan-like puppet in the middle serves as the chorus of the performance.

All of the main characters of the wayang kulit are on display as the puppet master gets ready. From the (audience, puppeteer) viewpoint good characters will appear on the (left, right).

Painting - detail, Bali, Indonesia, Southeast Asia.
Tabing Temple Painting depicting “Adiparwa - Churning of the Milky Oceans” by Mangku Mura, 1972.
Courtesy of Sydney Museum, Anthony Forge Collection.

This convention is followed in every Kamasan painting, where the "good" side is shown to the spectators on the left. Moreover, in battle the “good” side comes from the spectators left into the center and the “bad” side enters the battle from the spectators right toward the center. This convention applies particularly to mythological paintings as well as in some of the later stories. Nevertheless, there are some paintings that breach the left/right rule, but these are few and far between.

Balinese Paintings – Tabings (Part III)

Tabing – Swarga: Hell Scene.
Size: 150 x 160 cm.
Courtesy of reference [1].
Comments[1]: Kamasan work; mid 19th Century. Finest quality work on heavy Balinese cloth.

There are various stories of personages who visit Swarga and witness the torments of the damned, but it has so far proved impossible to identify which particular story this is. At the top right hand corner, humans are shown interacting with two Begawan (i.e. holy people) who are apparently suspended from trees. Below them, a young hero is interviewing a naga king. The rest of the painting is taken up with scenes from Swarga, and there appears to be none of the characters, from the top right hand scene involved in the portrayal of what is going on.

Some of the torments shown in the painting include: a pig is shown roasting a spitted human; an adulterous girl has a saw inserted into her private parts; a woman who has no children has an enormous spider attached to one of her breast; birds with steel blades as their beaks are attacking dead souls etc.

Tabing – Bharatayudda: Death of Abimanyu.
Size: 80 x 104 cm.
Courtesy of reference [1].
Comments[1]: Kamasan, Pen Sekenm, 1030s-1940s. Bought from the artist who used it in his family temple. It no doubt also served as a sample of his best work to show prospective customers. Most halus (i.e. fine workmanship) style, with added gold leaf prada.

Abimanyu, the son of Arjuna, had a hero’s death. While making a foray in which he successfully saved Dharma-wangsa, he was cut off and surrounded by the enemy. He was attacked by all of the most experienced and famous warriors of the Korawa side. When he had finally died he had one hundred arrows in him.

Here he is shown, fighting on, even after his bow had been severed. All around him are his attackers: at the top right is Drona, with Duryodana behind him; and beneath them Sakuni, with his younger brother Sarabasa behind. At the top left, the attackers are Jayadarata with Karna behind; and Burisrawa and Dussusana below. At Abimanyu’s feet, Laksana Kumara, a son of Duryodana, dies, having being hit by a discus. Across the bottom of the painting are six more Korawa who have been killed by Abimanyu – on the right are Kertasuta and Sakadurma, brother of Duryodana, and Senjuruh, one of his ministers; and on the left, two more brothers of Duryodana, Kaertasena and Durmasana, with minister, Whartbala behind.

The lengthy text describes the action. Above the text the sun is about to be veiled by clouds, while to the right lightning flashes, and to the left is Dwaja, the thunderbolt of Abimanyu’s grandfather, Indra.

Tabing – Bharatayuddha: Salia and Aswatama.
Size: 94 x 120 cm.
Courtesy of reference [1].
Comments[1]: Eurpoean cloth, painted by Manku Mura in 1972.

Towards the end of the Bharatayuddha, after the death of Karna, Aswatama, the son of Drona (who has already been killed), accuses Salia, who is about to be appointed commander of the Korawa army, of being responsible for some of the recent disasters. Both become furiously angry, and since both derive some aspect of devine power from the god Rudra, take on the pamurtian form (i.e. a nine-headed demonic form), assumed by high gods in states of fury. However, since both derive their power from the same source, they are equal, and so no advantage is to be gained by fighting.

Manku Mura was definitely trying to bring this point out by balancing the two pamurtian figures. Hence he refused to nominate who was Salia and who was Aswatama. The idea of balanced opposition of equal powers is clearly conveyed in this cloth painting.

Tabing – From “Boma’s Death”.
Size: 121 x 135 cm.
Courtesy of reference [1].
Comments[1]: This very vigorous fight scene has not yet been positively identified. It appears likely to be part of a battle scene from the “Boma’s Death” story – yet another story involving some of the Bharatayuddha characters – in particular Arjuna, Karna and Krisna. In this story some of these characters are killed, and are only supernaturally brought into life at a later stage, in order to take their parts in the Bharatayuddha battle proper. Tentative descriptions that could be assigned to this painting are: at the bottom two chariots approached each other and the man on the right has successfully shot the hero on the left, who in retaliation has done no more than get an arrow into the charioteer of his opponent. This may be the death of Arjuna, which occurs in the battle in this story. At the top, the old King with droopy eyes may be Basudewa. He kills two opposing Kings with discuses, while to the left at the top, he is himself killed. If indeed this is Basuewa, then the man who kills him must be Karna. In the top right, a knightly character who may be Sambu, Krisna’s son, beheads an enemy. The painting is unusual in that this large obviously “mythological” battle has no servant figures present.

Tabing – Arjuna Wiwaha: Arjuna Metapa (detail).
Size: 74 x 89 cm.
Courtesy of reference [1].
Comments[1]: Arjuna is shown being tempted by two nymphs, while one more stands behind him and two more nymphs appear to be leaving, perhaps having given up the task as hopeless. Down below, with Twalen and Morda, are two nymphs who are difficult to distinguish in type from the nymphs tempting Arjuna, - this contrasts with the more usual practice of depicting coarser condong (i.e. female servant the counterpart of Twalen and Morda) type nymphs tempting the parekan (i.e. the four servants of key importance in Balinese versions of Hindu epics). These nymphs are dancing in a very explicit manner, and getting an equally explicit responses from the objects of their temptation.

Tabing – Arjuna Wiwaha: Arjuna and Indra.
Size: 83 x 99 cm.
Courtesy of reference [1].
Comments[1]: This painting shows Indra with suitable attendants, and female nymphs, perhaps some of those who have previously tempted Arjuna, despatching Arjuna and Suprabha to discover the secret of Detia Kwaca’s powers. Indra and the nymphs are on the right, and Arjuna and Suprabha kneel before him, on either side of the elaborate central tree. Behind Arjuna are two heavenly resi (i.e. priests), of which one nearest the center is Begawan Wraspati (who is, following convention, given the face of Drona). Underneath the resi are shown two male characters, presumably heavenly attendants, possibly those who brought Arjuna from his meditation to Indra’s heaven.

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

Saturday, September 19, 2015

The Australian Tapestry Workshop (1986 – 1995)[1]
Art Essay

Marie-Therese Wisniowski

There are two previous posts on the Australian Tapestry Workshop (ATW). For your convenience I have listed the posts below:
The Australian Tapestry Workshop
The Australian Tapestry Workshop (1976 – 1985)
The Australian Tapestry Workshop (1996 - 2004)

The Australian Tapestry Workshop, which was formerly known as the Victorian Tapestry Workshop, was founded in 1976. The ATW continues to enjoy an international reputation as a leader in contemporary tapestries. It is the only workshop of its kind in Australia and one of only a handful in the world that is specifically geared for the production of hand-woven tapestries. It has introduced national and international artists to how this traditional medium can be used in an innovative, contemporary and unconventional manner.

A workroom at ATW.

Using the same techniques that were employed in Europe since the 15th century, the ATW's skilled weavers collaborate with artists from Australia and overseas to produce tapestries that are known for their vibrancy, technical accomplishment and inventive interpretation.

Merill Dumbrell working on John Olson’s tapestry – Rising Suns over Australia Felix.

Since its inception, the ATW's philosophy has been to employ weavers that have all trained as artists in order to enable a closer collaboration with the artists whose work they are interpreting. Many notable Australian and international artists have collaborated with the ATW's weavers over the years including Arthur Boyd, Jon Cattapan, John Olsen, John Coburn, Jorn Utzon, David Noonan and Sally Smart.

Weavers beginning on John Coburn’s tapestry – All That Jazz.

To date, ATW has created more than 400 tapestries ranging in size from palm-size to monumental. They are woven using the finest Australian wool, specially selected and spun for tapestry, which is dyed on-site forming a unique palette of 370 colors. The completed tapestries hang in significant public and private collections around the world. ATW is one of Australia's largest producers of public art, and every year, millions of people see ATW tapestries in a host of different environments from galleries to museums to corporate or government building entrances etc.

Weavers unroll - Sun Tapestry – after it has been cut-off from the loom.

Artists’ Tapestries from ATW – 1986 to 1995
Below is a select number of tapestries created via the collaboration between artists and ATW's weavers over the decade from 1986 to 1995.

Tapestry: Fly
Janenne Eaton is a Melbourne based artist. Her practice incorporates painting, photography, installation and video. Her works have been exhibited extensively in national and international museums and commercial galleries. For example, Janenne's work is represented in the National Gallery of Australia (Canberra), the National Gallery of Victoria, Museum of Modern Art (at Heide) and in the National Portrait Gallery (Canberra). In 1986 she collaborated with ATW to create a tapestry for the National Australia Bank.

Fly (1986).
Designer: Janenne Eaton.
Interpretation: Georges Mora.
Weaving: Robyn Daw, Meryn Jones.
Size: 1.83 x 2.40 m.

Tapestry: Paradise Garden
Colin Lanceley was born in 1938 in Dunedin (New Zealand). In 1939 his family moved to Australia. In 1956 he began a Diploma at the East Sydney Technical School. After graduating in 1960, Lanceley formed the Imitation Realist Group together Michael Brown and Ross Crothall. In 1987 he collaborated again with the ATW to produce "Paradise Garden".

Paradise Garden (1987).
Designer: Colin Lanceley.
Interpretation: Cresside Jolles.
Weaving: Cresside Jolles, Pam Joyce, Owen Hammond, Hannah Rother.
Size: 2.31 x 3.38 m.

Tapestry: Cool
Michael Johnson was born in Sydney in 1938, and trained at the National Arts School (Sydney), where in 1959 he received a Diploma in Art. Johnson lived in London from 1960 to 1967 and moved to the USA in 1969, exhibiting in both countries as well as in Australia during that time. Johnson’s interest in the richness of nomadic rugs contributed to his feeling for tapestry as an artistic medium. In 1988 he collaborated with ATW to produce two tapestries - Warm and Cool – for the Commercial Union building in Melbourne (Australia).

Cool (1988).
Designer: Michael Johnson.
Interpretation: Sara Lindsay.
Weaving: Robyn Daw, Anne Kemp, Sonja Hansen, Jennifer Sharp.
Size: 2.13 x 2.44 m.

Tapestry: Aotea Tapestry
Robert Ellis was born in England in 1929 and then later moved to New Zealand, where he held his first solo exhibition in 1959. Ellis’ work is represented in many major public collections within New Zealand and internationally, including the Centre for Contemporary Art (Hamilton, New Zealand) etc. Ellis worked with ATW to design - Aotea Tapestry. It was commissioned to hang in the Aotea Centre, Auckland (New Zealand).

Aotea Tapestry (1989).
Designer: Robert Ellis.
Interpretation: Irene Creedon.
Weaving: Irene Creedon, Irja West, Merethe Tingstad, Anne Kemp, Chris Cochius, Iain Young, Merryn Jones, Barbara Mauro.
Size: 11.5 x 6.4 m.

Tapestry: The Harbour
Mary Macqueen (1912 – 1994) was born in Carlton (Victoria, Australia) and first exhibited her work at the Victorian Artists’ Society Annual Exhibition in 1943. By the early 1970s, Macqueen’s career as an artist was in full flower and she was a recipient of numerous awards and prizes in this period. In the mid-1980s Macqueen’s delicate water-color designs won her commissions to design a suite of tapestries entitled "Pavillion". In 1990 she collaborated with ATW to design a tapestry depicting Sydney habour for a private client. The tapestry is now in the collection of the National Gallery of Victoria (Melbourne, Australia).

The Harbour (1990).
Designer: Mary Macqueen.
Interpretation: Chris Cochius.
Weaving: Chris Cochius, Tim Gresham.
Size: 1.70 x 2.38 m.

Tapestry: Creative Landscape - Darkness and Light
William Robinson was born in 1936 and currently lives in Kingscliff, NSW (Australia). His painted portraits and landscapes, which often utilize cool tones and a slightly distorted perspective, have been exhibited in Australia and internationally. He has twice been awarded one of the most prestigious art prizes in Australia for portraits – The Archibald Prize. Robinson worked with ATW on a tapestry entitled – Creative Landscape: Darkness and Light – which is in the collection of the Art Gallery of NSW (Australia).

Creative Landscape: Darkness and Light (1991).
Designer: William Robinson.
Interpretation: Andrea May.
Weaving: Grazyna Bleja, Tim Gresham, Hannah Rother.
Size: 2.30 x 3.00 m.

Tapestry: Terra Australia
Martin Sharp is one of Australia's best-known artists. He was born in Sydney in 1942 and in the 1960s collaborated with Richard Neville, Richard Walsh and fellow artist Gary Shead on the magazine “Oz”, which attained legendary status in Australia and then later in England. His artwork often contains motifs that are very reminiscent of POP Art. Sharp has collaborated with the ATW on a number of projects. He designed "Terra Australis" for the Australian High Commission in London.

Terra Australis (1992).
Designer: Martin Sharp.
Interpretation and weaving: Iain Young.
Size: 1.28 x 2.50 m.

Tapestry: Awelye No. 1
Gloria Petyarre was born ca. 1945 and lives and works at Mosquito Bore in the Northern Territory (Australia). She was a leading member of the renowned Utopia art group and began working in batik before transferring to painting. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally. ATW commissioned to design a pair of tapestries – Awelye I and Awelye II. They have been exhibited in many international galleries and museums as part of touring exhibitions.

Awelye No. 1 (1993).
Designer: Gloria Petyarre.
Interpretation and Weaving: Irja West, Claudia Lo Priore, Grazyna Bleja.
Size: 2.00 x 2.75 m.

Tapestry: Elephant Gingham
Geoffrey Ricardo was born in 1964 in Melbourne (Australia) and received a BA in printmaking at Chrisholm Institute of Technology in 1986. He began working as a printmakers’ assistant and lectured printmaking at Monsh University (Melbourne). His color and monotone etchings have been exhibited in numerous exhibitions. Animals play an important role in his etchings and frequently appear transformed with elements of artificial symbolism as in Elephant Gingham(1994) - a tapestry woven by ATW.

Elephant Gingham (1994).
Designer: Geoffrey Ricardo.
Interpretation: Irja West.
Weaving: Irja West, Claudia Lo Priore.
Size: 1.65 x 2.00 m.

Tapestry: Suburbanology
Dean Bowen was born in Maryborough (Victoria, Australia) in 1957. He undertook a Diploma of Fine Art from 1974 to 1976 at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (Melbourne) specializing in printmaking. His work, which includes prints and small-scale metal sculpture, has since been shown in Australia and internationally. In 1995 Dean Bowen won the commission to design a tapestry to be woven by ATW for the Melbourne Town Hall. The tapestry – Suburbanology – was the outcome of a detailed collaborative process between the artist and weavers and is now on public display in the Town Hall precinct.

Suburbanology (1995).
Designer: Dean Bowen.
Interpretation: Merrill Dumbrell.
Weaving: Merrill Dumbrell, Lisa Stebbing, Rebecca Moulton.
Size: 2.50 x 5.00 m.

[1] S. Walker (editor), Modern Australian Tapestries From the Victorian Tapestry Workshop (now known as ATW), The Beagle Press.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Musings of a Textile Tragic
Introducing a New Co-Editor

Textile Fibre Forum (Issue 111, September, 2013)

When I became co-editor of Textile Fibre Forum (see below) I not only sourced half the articles of the magazine, but also wrote the occasional article myself and moreover, I created a regular column - "Musings of a Textile Tragic" - in order to address different issues that encompass textile and fibre art. For your convenience, I have listed links to other "Musings" articles that I penned, which appeared in the magazine.
Co-Editor of TFF
Of Fires and Flooding Rain
Lost in Translation
Venusian Men
The Artwork of Youth
Textile Tasters from My Workshops
Be Brave, The Rest Will Follow

I first became the co-editor of Textile Fibre Forum (TFF) magazine in the December 2013 issue. Janet De Boer was the founding editor of TFF and was the other co-editor. I published my column - Musings of a Textile Tragic - in an issue prior to my co-editorship and so it appeared in September issue of TFF in 2013. In order to complete the "Musings" series I have decided to "posthumously" publish the article on this blogspot.

If you have not read it, I hope you enjoy it!

For over thirty years Marie-Therese Wisniowski worked as a senior graphic designer and art director for some of Melbourne’s and Sydney’s leading advertising agencies (e.g. George Patterson Advertising etc.) In 1984 she moved to Newcastle and was employed by the University of Newcastle’s Medical Communication Unit and was responsible for their magazines and publications as well as developing the design of their multi-million dollar international HIVAids programme materials. Since that time she graduated from the University of Newcastle with a Bachelor of Fine-Arts, she became a casual lecturer in the Faculty of Education & Arts, a founding director of Art Quill & Co Pty Ltd and more importantly, specialized in fine-art prints on paper and cloth, which have been exhibited nationally and internationally.

She is the author of the books, ‘Not in My Name’ and ‘Beyond the Fear of Freedom’. Her written works have appeared in journals such as ‘Literature and Aesthetics’, ‘Craft Arts International’, ‘Textile Fibre Forum’, ‘Fibreline’, ‘Embellish’, ‘Down Under Textiles’ and ‘Quilting Arts’. She has also authored articles on websites such as ‘Pop Art Legitimizing Prints as an Art Medium – A Generator of Future Processes and Art Movements’ for the Exchange Partners in Print Media website. In 2007 she was invited to be the inaugural guest editor of the international e-zine ‘HeArtCloth Quarterly’.

For more resource information, art essays, student workshop outcomes and samples, art and exhibition reviews and more examples of her own work see Marie-Therese’s blog site.

Musings of a Textile Tragic (Issue 112, September 2013)
The Hazelhurst Regional Gallery & Arts Centre presented a vintage fashion fest on Sunday the 5th May 2013. The centrepiece of the fest was the exhibition - “After Five: Fashion from the Darnell Collection” - which featured stylistic moments in fashion from the 1920s onwards.

The vintage fashion program also included a “Wild Ones Autumn Market”, a vintage dress up photo booth, free vintage clothing evaluations, brooch making for mother’s day (children/adult activity), making mother’s day cards, film screenings and guided tours of the gallery.

Hazelhurst Regional Gallery & Arts Centre is in Gymea, a southern suburb of Sydney. The Gallery sits on a property gifted to the Sutherland Council by Ben and Hazel Broadhurst. After the property came into Council’s possession in 1995, the ‘Friends of Hazelhurst’ was established in order to support the realization of a Community Arts Centre and Regional Gallery. With the substantial commitment of the Sutherland Shire Council, and the added support of $1million from the Federal Government, building on the site commenced in 1998. The Gallery and Arts Centre opened its doors on January 22nd, 2000.

I decided to see the exhibition, but to give the event a bit of twist for me, I would ask my husband to wear his “Suave” casual suit coat that I bought him in 1976 (wide lapels and collar and pocket leather trims – very disco!). I would dress up in my two-piece outfit (pants and matching suit coat) from the House of Merivale & Mr. John (originally a Sydney fashion house from the 1950s to 1990s that also had outlets in Canberra and Melbourne).

These were the outfits that we wore to our “supercool” registry wedding, wearing our “bell bottoms” with pride and wantonly displaying a little prejudice against the more traditional formatted weddings of those times. Of course, those were the days before “Father of the Bride” which ushered in $20,000 affairs, and then later morphed into overseas French vineyard weddings that friends and family dreaded to be invited to, since they could barely afford the trip let alone the gift. But I digress!

So I threw my husband his “disco” suit coat and told him that we are doing a vintage booth photo shoot of an aging couple that have been together for almost forty years. As always he shrugs, does what he is told and fits into his casual suit coat with ease. His body has changed (no longer so trim, taut and terrific) but it appears that the size of his frame has not altered.

Ellak's 1970's jacket.

I secreted myself into another room and put on the Merivale suit coat. Hmm - not that bad! A little tight here and there and of course, the suit coat took on a more bulging appearance than what it did when I was only twenty-one. I saw a red wine stain mark on the bottom of the coat and memories came flooding back - which were far too personal for me to divulge!

I then tried on the matching pants. After thirty minutes of struggling, wiggling and trying to pour my body into those pants, I finally gave up when the zipper split from the garment. These pants have shrunk badly! Well, they have been conserved in a dark closet for thirty odd years and it is clear to me that although they have not been washed or dry cleaned in that time, they nevertheless have shrunk! Clearly I am in denial.

When I returned, my husband was ready to go and raised one eyebrow when he saw my Merivale suit coat, but without the matching pants. I looked at him and sighed: “Don’t ask.” He quickly departed to the car. Needless to say there was no vintage photo shoot for us that day.

Marie-Therese's 1970's Merivale jacket.

The exhibition “After Five” gave a glimpse of the Darnell Collection that was initially gifted to her goddaughter Charlotte Smith. The “first half” was gifted to Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania (USA) for their fashion archives. The “second half” was gifted to Charlotte and comprised a staggering 3500 items of clothing, from underwear to accessories to jewellery to cocktail to evening gowns etc. Today the Australian collection has grown to 8000 items through generous donations and selective purchases at vintage shops and textile auctions.

Doris Darnell was an American who lived in Chicago. She started her collection in 1937 (during the darkest days of the Depression) by buying a peach-coloured slipper satin dress in a shop - Bryn Maw - in Philadelphia. This purchase triggered a lifelong passion for buying and admiring elegant evening wear. Although a Quaker, this did not restrict her entry into fashion collection. When friends and philanthropists offered her their treasured dresses, hats or handbags, she would record the story behind their gift, which in her mindset was as important as the gift itself.

Her favourite fashion period was the second half of the 1950s. She was a mother with a young family during this time and so most of her entertaining was in her own home. This was the period when it was rigueur for women to own a range of evening wear, including cocktail dresses, dinner dresses and full-length ball gowns, each needing to be delineated by the mode of entertainment.

The Darnell Collection is Australia’s largest private collection of vintage clothing. The exhibition presented over 30 unique outfits from around the world including such designers as Christian Dior, Mary Quant, Oscar de le Renta, Bruce Oldfield, Adolpho, Emilio Pucci, Emanuel Ungaro, Christopher Essex and Franco Moschino among others. Accessories including hats, shoes, evening bags and jewellery were also featured including a rare 1920s Tiffany brooch. The exhibition explored the social history as to how and why evening wear had changed for women over the years.

I will not bore you with the minute details of the exhibition since it has long gone and moreover, I have already blogged about the Darnell Collection. Of course, you can go directly to the Collection itself if you want to read more about its contents.

What I did find disturbing was what was defined as “vintage” in the exhibition. Okay, I can understand that we would class as vintage anywhere from 1900 to 1960s. I was only in my early teens in the late 1960s. Perhaps as we are aging, the 1970s to the 1980s appears in hindsight as vintage. But how can you think that the cocktail dresses of the middle/late 1990s – 2000s is still vintage? Is our fashion world turning so rapidly that if a thirteen year-old girl of this decade does not recognize it, then it must be vintage? Are the outfits of the Goths no longer radical, but are now seen as belonging to the same dustbin of history that my Merivale suit apparently resides in (without an operating zipper)?

I was also amazed that many of the clothes that were in the exhibition were purchased at vintage shops (Vinnies?) and at textile auctions. I really do need to go to these hand-me-down shops more often. However, I did not know about textile auctions – where and when are they held?

When in doubt - “Google”! Suddenly I find one entry that interests me. Apparently, Sotheby's Fashion department auctions everything from 17th century doublets to fine French haute couture and Vivienne Westwood's Seditionaries’ as well as fine European and Oriental textiles, embroideries, samplers, patchworks, laces and shawls. Sotheby’s in England conducts two major fashion sales each year - Passion of Fashion and Fine Textiles - with additional smaller sales held in their South London warehouse as opportunities arise.

Suddenly vintage made at lot of sense to me again. It is an investment that all spouses need to get acquainted with!

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Direct Spun Yarns[1]
Art Resource

Marie-Therese Wisniowski

This is the forty-third 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
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Finishes: Mercerization
Finishes: Waterproof and Water-Repellent Fabrics
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Shrinkage - Part I
Shrinkage - Part II

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The long straight continuous nature of filament yarns has limited their use in utility garments and in garments for comfort and warmth. Early efforts to over come these limitations in the synthetic fibers consisted of collecting continuous filaments in large ropes called tows, as they came from the spinneret, then cutting them into staple lengths, baling them and spinning them into yarn on one of the mechanical spinning systems.

More recently methods have focussed on:
(i) Retaining the continuity of the filament tow strand while the fibers are “stapled” and made into yarn – the direct spun system.
(ii) Retaining the continuous nature of fibers while imparting spun-like characteristics – texturizing yarns.

Direct Spun Yarns
The direct spinning systems were developed as a way of by-passing some or all of the conventional systems without disrupting the continuity of the strand of filament tow. The tow-to-yarn process and tow-to-sliver process are two such examples.

Tow-to Yarn System
The Direct Spinner performs all the operations of stapling (making tow into staple) and spinning. It is a machine that processes 4,400 denier high-tenacity viscose rayon.

The tow is fed into the machine via levelling rolls, passes between two nip rolls, across a conveyor belt to a second pair of nip rolls, which travel at a faster rate of speed and creates a tension that causes the fibers to break at the weakest points. The strand is then drawn out to yarn size, twisted and wound on a bobbin.

Diagram of direct spinning: Perlock high tow-to-yarn system.
Courtesy reference[1].

Direct spun yarns have a higher degree of strength and uniformity than conventionally spun yarns. They can be distinguished from conventionally spun yarns by “backing” the twist out of a single yarn. The fibers will have a staple length in excess of six inches (15 cm), whereas conventionally spun yarns have fibers, which are usually less than two inches (ca. 5 cm) in length.

There is no control over the average staple length and there is not sufficient time after stretching and before winding for the fiber to relax, so the yarns have a high potential for shrinkage – 14% in wet finishing operations. This shrinkage makes it possible to produce fabrics such as Rayon-Acetate Taffeta etc.

Direct spun yarns and fabrics.
Courtesy reference[1].

High shrinkage yarns in the filling are alternated with low shrinkage yarns and are puckered by contraction of the high shrinkage, direct spun yarns.

Dense, compact rain wear fabrics can be made by using the direct spun yarns in the filling direction. When these shrink, they bring the warp yarns closer together.

Novelty yarns are produced by combining a high-shrinkage ply with a low-shrinkage ply to produce a bouclé effect.

The strength of direct spun yarns is best utilized in upholstery fabrics. The disadvantages are expense, lack of crimp and the impossibility of producing blends.

Tow-to-Top System
The tow-to-top process reduces the tow to staple and forms it into slivers on either the Pacific Converter or the Perlock heavy tow machine.

The Pacific Converter is a diagonally cut stapling machine that changes the tow into a staple of equal or variable lengths, and forms it into a crimped sliver ready for further drawing, blending, and spinning operations.

The tow enters the machine through a series of levelling rolls, which spread the fibers out in a sheet about 14 inches (i.e. 35 cm) wide.

Courtesy reference[1].
The Pacific Converter.

The Pacific Converter acts like a lawn mower. A helical cutting blade cuts the fiber band in diagonal strips, while it is carried along on a conveyor belt, thus preventing disruption of the parallelism of the fibers. The cut fibers are flexed to break open any sections that might have fused together and are drawn lengthwise to make them into a thinner sheet. They are moved by serpentine action between fluted rolls, which cause further separation. The thin sheet is then rolled into a continuous sliver and a slight crimp is imparted to the fibers by the crimping unit. The sliver is collected and coiled in a can ready to be taken to a conventional drawing or roving machine.

The spinning of the yarn is done on a conventional spinning machine. Natural fibers are not processed on the Pacific Converter except when wool top is to be added for a blend. A blending attachment is used with the converter.

Diagram of a Pacific Converter.
Courtesy reference[1].

The Perlock machine operates on the principle that, when tow is stretched, the fibers will break at their weakest points (random breakage) without disrupting the continuity of the strand. A sheet of tow nine inches (22.5 cm) wide (i.e. 180,000 denier or more) enters the machine through levelling rolls and then passes between two sets of nip rolls that apply the breaking tension. Breaker bars between the set of rolls control the length of staple. As the tow travels through the breaking zone, tension is applied suddenly and the fibers break in the breaker bar area. This process is then repeated as more tow enters the breaking zone. The fiber strand moves on through another set of rolls into a crimpling box and emerges as crimp sliver. The rest of the yarn making process is completed on conventional spinning machinery.

Hi-Bulk Yarns
Bulk is desirable for warmth, texture, and cover. Bulking characteristics result when the curl or crimp of fibers prevents orderly arrangement and creates airspaces within the yarn.

Thermoplastic fibers can be used to make hi-bulk yarns by processing them on either the Perlock machine or the Pacific Converter if a heat attachment is added. A Perlock heavy tow machine is called a Turbo-Stapler.

The Turbo-Stapler.
Courtesy reference[1].

Thermoplastic fibers, in a flat sheet, are heat stretched as they are passed between heater plates and are then changed to staple in the breaking zone. This gives the fibers high shrinkage properties. Acrylics will shrink 20% or more when they are subsequently relaxed by another heat treatment. The fibers are crimped and a portion of the heat stretched sliver is sent in louvered cans to a Fiber-Setter. Steam enters the can through the slot openings and relaxes the fiber from the strains of heat stretching. This shrinks it so that it loses its high-shrinkage properties. It then re-joins the portion that was not heat-relaxed.

The Pacific Converter processes hi-bulk in two different ways. If a heat-stretching attachment is added, part of the tow is passed through the heat-stretching attachment while the remainder is passed above it. The two parts of the tow are combined before entering the cutting zone, where it is cut into staple. The yarn at this stage is similar to other yarn, since the bulk has not been developed. Subjecting the staple tow to high temperature, usually in the dyeing process, causes the heat-stretched fibers to shrink; and as they are shortened, they force the rest of the fibers to buckle and so create the bulk. The yarn usually consists of 40% non-relaxed and 60% heat-relaxed fibers, but are other ratios might also be used.

In the second method of producing hi-bulk yarns on a Pacific Converter, the tow is purchased as high-shrinkage types and blended before it enters the converter. The spun yarn is heat-treated to create the bulk.

Much hi-bulk yarn has gone into the knit apparel trade, especially sweaters. These are labelled as “Hi-Bulk Orlon” etc. Hi-bulk yarns are also used in woven apparel.

High-bulk yarn. Left: before steaming. Right: after steaming.
Courtesy reference[1].

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