Saturday, December 24, 2016

The Dilemma of Digital Art
Opinion Piece on Art

Marie-Therese Wisniowski

Season's Greetings
This will be the last post for 2016. The next post will be on the 14th of January, 2017.

Santa drawing Christmas Graffiti - Tats Cru.Ink.

No matter what your religion or what your belief system, I hope you have a very enjoyable festive season.


This article was originally published in an international refereed Journal namely: The Journal of the Sydney Society of Literature and Aesthetics, The University of Sydney, Vol.13, No. 2 pp. 83 - 88, December 2003. The article centered on the growing trend to use computers to generate images for prints on paper and prints on cloth. It focused on “intent” and warned against the serendipitous production of art; that is, producing an accidental “effect” that can only be justified by searching for a “cause” - after (and not before) the artwork was produced.

I believe digital disruption is as relevant today as it was at the time the article was published. Computers and associated software allow us to generate thousand of images in a very short time frame and so choosing one that was quite accidental in intent means that art may descend into becoming an effect searching for a cause; that is, fabricating a justification for an image that was created serendipitously. We can do that for any image that a trained monkey might draw!

I hope you enjoy the article.

“Not In My Name” (Fine Art Prints on Paper or on ArtCloth)
Printmaking is often called the democratic medium. The contemporary art of printmaking in developed countries is generated from the action of two forces. On one hand, the high functionality of prints rendered them as the medium to communicate visual information to the mass audience for commercial purposes[1]. On the other hand, because of its unlimited range of experimentation and expression, printmaking also generates “fine art”, which is intended for art cognoscenti on purely decorative and aesthetic purposes[2, 3-4]. In the latter context, the inexpensive nature of the medium enabled the urban middle-classes in developed countries to acquire “art” within their means[5].

Print on Paper: Gregor Cullen – Redback Graphix (1979). Wollongong City Gallery.

One of the major differences between pre- and post- 1960s printmaking is the imagery derived from photomechanics[6] – the use of previously printed materials, which employ a halftone screen. Prior to the 1990s, the camera was an analogue device, which was used by artists as an alternative data provider for halftone screen manipulation[7]. With the advance of computer technology (i.e. both hardware and software) in the 1990s, pixel manipulation became commonplace[8]. In artistic circles, computer technology was rendered as a mediating process, rather than an end itself (i.e. computer generated images required human intervention in order to be considered “art”). Digital prints on paper or on cloth therefore embody this manifesto.

Print on Paper: Marie-Therese Wisniowski - The Australian Pilot: Digital Print (full view) 2003.

Print on Paper: Marie-Therese Wisniowski - The Australian Pilot: Digital Print (detailed view of the background) 2003.
Note: The textured appearance of the background was produced via digital processing in order to yield a landscape in print above.

The orthogonal interest between commercial and “fine art" prints on cloth or paper rests on definitions of copyright and originality. Mass produced prints necessarily diffuse the notion of originality that the master prints of yesteryear, with their limited editions, struggled to maintain[9,10-11]. In the 1970s, copyright in “fine art" prints did not surface as an issue, since the rise of poster collectives were aimed for mass distribution and espoused an anonymity of effort, so little emphasis was placed on originality or copyright. Yet these issues have become central to contemporary printmakers, who face and embrace the onslaught of a digital revolution.

Print on Paper: Earthworks Collective.

Unlike the 1970s, the issues confronting contemporary printmakers are no longer driven by the need for the social engagement of art. Communications are global and all pervasive. Getting a message out using the printmaking media is no longer a priority for its own sake. Moreover, if publications are required, the educated masses can utilize modern computer technology and employ publishing application packages, which are easy to use and produce cheap pamphlets[12].

The focus for printmakers in contemporary developed countries has once again centered on master prints (with limited editions). Fine-art traditions have resurfaced. Art theories in terms of post-modernism and deconstruction have threaded their way through prints on cloth and on paper. With this focus, originality is once again at the fore. The question at hand is whether or not the computer program and hardware is contributing more to the originality of a digital print on paper or cloth than the thoughts of the artist printmaker. This delineation is hard to decipher since only the outcome of a print is judged and not the difference between the initial intention and the outcome. No judge counts or wants a map of keystrokes (if any) from the start to the end of the process in the production of a deconstructed digital print.

Marion Manifold, who won the Shell Fremantle Print Award (WA) in 2001 for her paper print series remarked[13]: “Much of the questioning and hesitation as to the merit of digital prints seems to revolve around two points: the degree of skill needed and the impression that digital prints are quick to produce...I spend thousands of hours to create a set of prints: taking the photographs, manipulating ideas, experimenting with techniques, different inks...” Whilst the integrity of her prints is not in question, what should be addressed is whether the process is based on trial and error alone (and so is made feasible only because of the instant feedback of the electronic age), thereby being devoid of any original intent by the artist printmaker. Such prints - devoid of original intent - may be classified as an “effect” searching for a “cause”.

Marion Manifold - Rosy Dreams: From the verandah at Purrumbete 7/27.
Technique: Linoprint (diptych).
Size: 76 x 112 cm.

It should be remembered that IBM’s “Deep Blue”[14] computer program outplays most human chess players. It is now possible to grab a digital print and use a random number generator to re-map pixels and so create a new work of deconstructed art, without a human hand touching a single key[15]. Following a long Australian tradition, such as along the lines of the Ern Malley (1944) hoax[16], it would not be surprising if, in the not-too-distant future, a computer program, such as IBM’s Deep Blue, could win the Shell Fremantle Print Award! Hence, questions of causality (or the lack of it) in digital prints still have not been effectively addressed by contemporary artist printmakers.

In a digital age it is just not originality that is at stake, but the actual copyright of the print must also enter into the debate due to the availability of digital prints and the existence of the internet. For example, artist printmaker Douglas Sheerer argues that[17]: “...I am at this stage not overly worried about possible copyright infringement (anyone with a computer and modem will be able to download my images and print them out)”. However, others have not taken this point of view. Artists like Heather Hesterman, John Wolseley and John Pollard have used the actual production techniques in order to secure copyright of their work. For example, Hesterman, consciously or unconsciously, gives greater weight to her copyright, because she uses fabric instead of paper[18] as do I with all my ArtCloth works. Wolseley and Pollard go one-step further than most of their contemporaries. Wolseley makes his own paper and although he may generate print editions, each print is made unique due to the specific properties of the individual sheets of paper[19], whereas Pollard has invented his own technique called “Aquachrome”[20]. Other printmakers use more time-honored traditions of destroying the templates of their process and so preserving the unique markings on their works in order to ensure closure.

Heather Hesterman, Holes 
(Nude) (1997).
Technique: Screen print, punched 
holes red silk, glass and 
frame (detail).
Size: 44 x 30 cm.

Marie-Therese Wisniowski,Flames Unfurling (2010).
Technique: MultiSpersed Dye Sublimation (MSDS) technique on delustered satin.
Size: 44 x 30 cm.

John Wolseley – Paradise Rifle Birds.

Where do we go from here? It is my thesis that with the arrival and ubiquitous use of digital prints, the termination of deconstruction theories in the print media will occur in the not-too-distant future. Just like economic rationalism, if analyzed, deconstruction is a logical consequence of an illogical premise; that is, it assumes that non-connectivity or objectivity is the ultimate human goal/condition. With deconstructed digital prints on paper or cloth, the interplay or feedback between the computer and the artist printmaker is so intricate that the original intention may be continuously and incrementally eroded so that it is no longer reflected in the final outcome. This serendipitous or trial and error process may have spectacular effects but will leave the viewer divorced from the original intention of the artist printmaker (which would be obliterated by the iterative process, rendering the work as an effect searching for a cause).

Marie-Therese Wisniowski – Cultural Graffiti. It is a deconstructed ArtCloth work formed with intent; that is, the cause in producing the work existed prior to its creation in order to frame the act of engagement – the effect.

The new millennium art viewers in these uncertain times are aware of their doubts and some have even mapped out their own socio-political agendas and solutions. The modern art viewer may not be able to connect (or even want to connect) with the luxury of resting in the scientific objectivity of deconstructed contemporary art, especially if it is divorced from original intent. In the new millennium, the “Not in my Name” prints on paper or cloth (whether digital or non-digital) will once again connect the viewer to the human condition, and more importantly, the original intention of the artist printmakers will impose itself on the outcomes of their art, thereby rendering the processes used (i.e. screen, computer or wood block etc.) not too dissimilar to the process employed when using a canvas, a brush and some paint.

[1] John Barnicoat, “A Concise History of Posters”, Thames and Hudson, London, 1975.

[2] Edmund Burke Feldman, “Varieties of Visual Experience”, (2nd Edition) Prentice Hall, New York,1982.

[3] Russell Ferguson (Ed), Donna de Salvo, in “Hand Painted Pop: American Art in Transition, 1955-62”, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, 1992, pp.67-94.

[4] Janis Hendrickson, “Roy Lichtenstein”, Benedik Taschen Verlag GmbH, Koln, 1994.

[5] Sasha Grishin, “Australian Printmaking in the 1990s: Artist Printmakers 1990-1995”, Craftsman House, Sydney, 1997, p.10, hereinafter referred to as Grishin, “Australian Printmaking in the 1990s: Artist Printmakers 1990-1995.

[6] John Dawson (Ed), “Prints & Printmaking”, Quill Publishing Ltd, London, 1981, pp.146-148.

[7] Michael Langford, “The Book of Special Effects Photography”, Thomas Nelson Australia, Melbourne, 1982.

[8] Adobe Systems, “Adobe Photoshop 6.0 User Guide”, Adobe Systems Incorporated, California, 2000.

[9] Edmund Burke Feldman, “Varieties of Visual Experience”, (2nd Edition) Prentice Hall, New York, 1982.

[10] Russell Ferguson (Ed), Donna de Salvo, in “Hand Painted Pop: American Art in Transition, 1955- 62”, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, 1992, pp.67-94

[11] Janis Hendrickson, “Roy Lichtenstein”, Benedik Taschen Verlag GmbH, Koln, 1994 p11.

[12] Adobe. “Products”, 2003 (2 pages) Online, available Netscape: (16th April, 2003).

[13] Louise Tegart, “The View From Here: Marion Manifold and Louise Tegart”, Imprint, Autumn 2002, V37, No1, pp. 12-13.

[14] IBM. “Search Results: IBM Deep Blue Chess Program Articles”, 2003, (2 pages) Online, available Netscape: y=8 (18th April 2003).

[15] Apple Computer. “Welcome to Mac OSX”, Apple Computer Inc., USA, 2001.

[16] Bernard Smith, Terry Smith, Christopher Heathcote, “Australian Painting 1788-2000”, (4th Edition) Oxford University Press, Melbourne, 2001, p.233.

[17] Grishin, “Australian Printmaking in the 1990s: Artist Printmakers 1990-1995” p.7.

[18] Grishin, “Australian Printmaking in the 1990s: Artist Printmakers 1990-1995 “ p.9.

[19] Grishin, “Australian Printmaking in the 1990s: Artist Printmakers 1990-1995” p.8.

[20] Grishin, “Australian Printmaking in the 1990s: Artist Printmakers 1990-1995” p.12.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Traditional Japanese Arabesque Patterns (Part II)
Art Review

Marie-Therese Wisniowski

There are two other posts on this blogspot that have entered on Arabesque Patterns and for your convenience I have listed them below.
Traditional Japanese Arabesque Patterns (Part I)
Sarasa Arabesque Patterns (Part III)
Yuzen Arabesque Patterns (Part IV)

Arabesque is a form of artistic decoration consisting of "surface decorations based on rhythmic linear patterns of scrolling and interlacing foliage, tendrils or plain lines, often combined with other elements".

Karakusa is Japanese and means “foreign plant” or “winding plant”. The pattern consists of various spirals, and these spirals take their shape from vines and other natural forms. The design features of the pattern was abstracted from these natural forms. In addition, a mathematical algorithm can be constructed in order to generate traditional design features and it may be utilized in order to generate new spiral forms.

The “kara” of Karakusa means “China”, while “kusa” means “plant”. The Karakusa pattern came to Japan from China, although it has said to have originated in ancient Egypt. Elements which seem to have influenced the form of the Karakusa pattern are palmettes, lotuses, plants such as the acanthus, and marine organisms from the Mediterranean. It took a long time for the pattern to be transmitted from Europe to the Orient, and by the accretion of slight changes from each country and culture on its journey eastward the original curve pattern was significantly modified. In particular, Byzantine Christian culture and Buddhist art of the Gandhara added their own touches to the pattern. As it journeyed along the Silk Road these influences fused with the Buddhist culture of China, before the pattern finally reached Japan in the ASUKA period (7th Century AD). The splendid workmanship of many artifacts utilizing the Karakusa pattern, which were brought into Japan, are still evident today. Once it matured in Japan, the designed became fixed and so reached its final form as a decorative pattern.

Although Karakusa includes the element “plant” in its original meaning, there was no one particular plant used as a model. “Plant” merely referred to a flowery shape or a shape like grass. The shape includes a vortex-like curve similar to that of a vine, and this feature combined with a specific flowering herb, is the common element in all Karakusa patterns. Types of Karakusa patterns include the “Japanese Apricot Karakusa”, the “Peony Karakusa”, the “Lotus Karakusa”. Because of its stout growth, the vine was considered a symbol of prosperity, a symbol which underlines the spiral patterns that are evident in Karakusa patterns.

Arabesque Patterns on Brocade, Satin...[2]

Arabesque Pattern Number 135.

Arabesque Pattern Number 139.

Arabesque Pattern Number 159.

Arabesque Pattern Number 202.

Arabesque Pattern Number 210.

Arabesque Pattern Number 227.

Arabesque Pattern Number 244.

Arabesque Pattern Number 250.

Arabesque Pattern Number 255.

Arabesque Pattern Number 256.

Arabesque Pattern Number 260.

Arabesque Pattern Number 262.

[1] Kiyoe Fuchigami, Journal for Geometry and Graphics Volume, 5 (2001) 35–43.

[2] Textile Design In Japan: Traditional Arabesque”, Kamon Yoshimoto, Graphic-sha Publishing Co. Ltd, Tokyo (1977).

Saturday, December 10, 2016

New Colorways For My 'Cultural Graffiti' Fabrics
Fabric Lengths

Marie-Therese Wisniowski

On this blog spot there are posts that center on my “Wearable Art” (e.g. scarves, digital or analogue created fabric lengths etc.) For your convenience I have listed these posts below.

A Selection of My Scarves
Leaves Transformed: A New Collection of My Digitally Designed Fabrics
My New Silk Rayon Velvet Scarves@Purple Noon Art And Sculpture Gallery
My Fabric Lengths@QSDS
My Fabric Collection:"Oh, Oh Marilyn and Mona!"@Spoonflower
2013 Australian Craft Awards – Finalist
My Scarves@2014 Scarf Festival: "Urban Artscape" Pashminas
My New Scarves and Fabric Lengths
New Range of Silk Neckties - Karma and Akash
AIVA: My New Hand Dyed and Hand Printed Fabric Design
New Colorways For My 'Cultural Graffiti' Fabrics
Byzantine Glow: A New Collection of My Digitally Designed Fabrics
Wall Flower: A New Collection of My Digitally Designed Fabrics
Ink Fern: A New Collection of My Digitally Designed Fabrics
Celebratory Fireworks
My New Silk ArtCloth Scarves
New ‘Unique State’ Silk ArtCloth Scarves
 - My New Hand Dyed & Printed Fabric Design
Renaissance Man - My New Hand Dyed & Printed Fabric Design
Banksia - My New Hand Dyed and Hand Printed Fabric Design

Ginkgo Love - My New Hand Dyed and Hand Printed Fabric Design

“Garden Delights I & II”
 - My New Hand Dyed and Hand Printed Fabric Design
Wallflower III - My New Hand Dyed and Hand Printed Fabric Design
Rainforest Beauty
 Collection - My New Hand Dyed and Hand Printed Fabric Design
Spring & Autumn Flurry Collection
 - My New Hand Dyed and Hand Printed Fabric Design

La Volute Collection - My New Hand Dyed and Hand Printed Fabric Design
Urban Butterfly -
 My New Hand Printed Fabric Design
Acanthus Dream
 - My New Hand Printed Fabric Design

Cascading Acanthus - 
My New Hand Dyed and Hand Printed Fabric Design

My New Hand Dyed and Hand Printed 'Rainforest Beauty' Pashmina Wraps Collection

My "Cultural Graffiti" suite on cloth and paper was based on my intention that my art marks should not be discernible, and so I did not want to base it on an alphabet or symbolic images (like pictograms) etc. I wanted my images to have the “feel” of typographical and image marks. I wanted my images to be vibrant but have a mystery to them, as if they were indecipherable messages from unknown urban peoples. I searched deep and decided to use my “matrix formatting” screen printing technique, which involves splicing together a number of images to form a matrix. As this ArtCloth and prints on paper suite was strategically planned, I called it my “Cultural Graffiti” suite.

ArtCloth: Cultural Graffiti I (Detail View).
This ArtCloth work was exhibited in 2004 at the "Festival of Quilts and the Knit & Stitch Conference", Birmingham, England.

New Colorways For My 'Cultural Graffiti' Hand Dyed and Hand Printed Fabric Range

Using white fabric as the base color, time honored hand dyeing and hand printing techniques are employed to create my signature rich, multi-layered 'Cultural Graffiti' designs on fabric whilst ensuring that the 'hand' of the fabric remains intact.

My 'Cultural Graffiti' design is now available in two new colorways - in rich magenta/purple hues and rich red/warm gold hues. These two fabrics are available for purchase. Please email at - Marie-Therese - if you wish to purchase these two unique fabrics. The design can also be dyed and printed on numerous natural fibers of your choice - please email me to discuss these options.

These fabric lengths can be used for wearable art, accessories, quilts, furnishing and interior design projects.

All photographs courtesy Marie-Therese Wisniowsk.

Title: 'Cultural Graffiti' in rich magenta/purple hues (draped on model view).
Technique: Dyed, over dyed, discharged, silk screened and foiled on rayon employing dyes, pigment, metallic paint and foil.
Size: 185 cm (wide) x 121 cm (high).

Title: 'Cultural Graffiti' (in rich magenta/purple hues - draped over stand).

Title: 'Cultural Graffiti' (in rich magenta/purple hues - full view).

Title: 'Cultural Graffiti' (in rich magenta/purple hues - detail view).

Title: 'Cultural Graffiti' in rich red/warm gold hues (draped on model view).
Technique: Dyed, over dyed, discharged, silk screened and foiled on rayon employing dyes, pigment, metallic paint and foil.
Size: 185 cm (wide) x 121 cm (high).

Title: 'Cultural Graffiti' (in rich red/warm gold hues - draped over stand).

Title: 'Cultural Graffiti' (in rich red/warm gold hues - full view).

Title:'Cultural Graffiti' (in rich red/warm gold hues - detail view).

Saturday, December 3, 2016

The Three Basic Weaves - Twill Weave[1]
Art Resource

Marie-Therese Wisniowski

This is the fifty-ninth 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
Progressive Shrinkage and Methods of Control
Durable Press and Wash-and-Wear Finishes - Part I
Durable Press and Wash-and-Wear Finishes - Part II
Durable Press and Wash-and-Wear Finishes - Part III
Durable Press and Wash-and-Wear Finishes - Part IV
Durable Press and Wash-and-Wear Finishes - Part V

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!

Twill Weave
Twill weave is one in which each warp or filling (weft) yarns floats across two or more filling or warp yarns with a progression of interlacings by one to the left or right to form a distinct diagonal wale (i.e. a ridge on a textured woven fabric such as corduroy). A float is that portion of a yarn which crosses over two or more yarns from the opposite direction.

Twill weave fabric.

Twill weave varies in the number of harnesses used. The simplest twill requires three harnesses. The more complex twills may have as many as 15 to 18 harnesses and are woven on looms with a dobby attachment. Note: on a loom, a harness is the frame containing heddles through which the warp is drawn and which, in combination with another such frame or other frames, forms the shed that determines the woven pattern.

A twill weave blanket which was created using 8 harnesses and 10 treadles.

Twill weave is often designated by a fraction (for example, 2/1) in which the numerator indicates the number of harnesses that are raised and the denominator indicates the number of harnesses that are lowered when a filling yarn is inserted. The fraction 2/1 would be read as “two up, one down”. A 2/1 twill is shown in the figure below. The floats on the surface are the warp yarns, making it a warp surface or warp-faced twill.

Top: Schematic of a 2/1 twill weave. Bottom: Twill weave fabric – three-harnesses 2/1.

All twill fabrics are characterized by diagonal wales which vary in prominence, direction and degree of angle.

The prominence of a twill wale may be increased by the use of long floats, combed yarns, ply yarns, hard-twist yarns, twist of yarns opposite to the direction of the twill line and by use of high thread counts. Fabrics with prominent wales such as gabardine may become shiny because of flattening due to the pressure of wear.

A cotton gabardine trench coat with facing panels and a detachable warmer in soft wool cashmere.

If the ridges have been flattened by pressure, steaming will raise them to remove the shine. Pure white vinegar (5%) or sandpaper may be used to remove shine caused by either pressure or wear. Dip a piece of terry cloth in the vinegar, wring it out and rub hard and fast in both directions of the cloth in the shiny area. As the cloth dries the odor will disappear. Do not iron or press, as either process may flatten the ridges again. Use sandpaper with a gentle rubbing motion.

The direction of a twill wale usually goes from lower left to upper right in wool and wool-like fabrics – right-hand twills – and from lower right to upper left in cotton or cotton like fabrics – left-hand twills.

Twill fabric is also woven in two different directions: a left handed or S twill (figure A above) and a right handed or Z twill (figure B above).

Left hand twill is also known as “S twill” and right hand twill is also known as “Z twill”. Right hand twill is known to have a flatter and smoother surface compared to other twill fabrics.

The facts above are only important in deciding which is the right and wrong side of a twill fabric. In some fabrics that have a very prominent wale or are made with white and colored yarns, the two lapels of a coat or suit will not look the same (see figure below).

Twill wales in lapel look unbalanced. This cannot be avoided and if it is disturbing, a garment of different design should be chosen.

The degree of angle of the wale depends on the balance of the cloth. The twill line may be steep, regular or reclining.

Twill angle steeper than the ideal angle of 45 degrees.

The greater the difference between the number of warp and filling yarns, the steeper the twill line will be. Steep twill fabrics have a high warp count and therefore are stronger in the warp direction. The importance of the angle is that it serves as a guide in determining the strength of the fabric. The diagram below shows how the twill angle changes in steepness when the number of warp yarns changes and the filling yarns remain the same in number.

Twill angle depends on the ratio of warp to filling.

Twill fabrics have a number of common characteristics. They have a right and wrong side. If there are warp floats on the right side, there will be filling floats on the wrong side. If the twill wale does up to the right on one side, it will go up to the left on the other side. Twill fabrics have no up-and-down. Check this fact by turning the fabric upside down and then examine the direction of the twill wale.



Sheer fabrics are seldom made with a twill weave. Printed designs are seldom used, except in silk and lightweight twills because a twill surface has an interesting texture and design. Soil shows less on the uneven surface of twills than it does on smooth surfaces.

Sheer Panel Sleeve twill circle dress.

Fewer interlacing gives the fabric more softness, pliability and wrinkle recovery than a comparable plain weave fabric would because the yarns can now move more freely. When there are fewer interlacings, yarns can be packed closer together to produce a higher count fabric with more weight and durability. If a plain weave fabric and a twill weave fabric had the same kind and number of yarns, the plain weave fabric would be stronger because of interlacings.

Classification of Twill Fabrics
Twill weave fabrics are classified according to the kind of yarn exposed on the surface, as even-sided twills and filling lace twills. Note: Filling-faced twills are not discussed in this section since they are seldom used. They are usually reclining twills.

Examples of even-sided twills.

Even-Sided Twills
Even-sided twills have the same amount of warp and filling yarn exposed on both sides of the fabric. They are sometimes called reversible twills because they look alike on both sides, although thre direction of the twill line differs. Better quality filling yarns must be used in these fabrics than in warp-faced twills since both sets of yarns are exposed to wear. They are 2/2 twills and have the best balance of all twill weaves.

Reversible twill 2/2 – even-sided. Notice change of warp and filling. Notice change of warp and filling. Warp yarns are dark to correspond the checkerboard design.

Serge is a 2/2 twill with a rather subdued wale, which is still quite apparent. Cotton serge of fine yarn, high count is often given a water-repellent finish and used for jackets, snow suits and raincoats. Heavy yarn cotton serge is used for work pants. Wool serge gets shiny from abrasions and repeated pressing but is not the subject to flattening of the wale as gabardine. Luster comes from the smoothness of yarns. Good quality wool serge is made of fine fiber, two ply worsted yarns and has a high thread count. Serge comes in various weights.

Dress: 1806-1810, twill-weave silk and silk serge.

Twill flannel is similar to serge in construction but differs in appearance. Flannel has a napped surface, which gives it a soft fuzzy appearance. The filling yarns are low-twist, larger yarns specially made for napping. Some flannels have a 2/1 construction. Flannels may be either woolen or worsted. Worsted flannels, frequently used in tailored suits, are easy to press and will take and hold a sharp crease. They usually have less nap than woolen flannels and are less apt to show wear at the edges of the sleeves and elbows. Low-count flannels will tend to get “baggy” in areas of stress because there are fewer points of contact between fibers in low-twist yarns. The fibers tend to pull past one another when there is tension in the fabric.

Brushed worsted wool flannel suit.

Surah is a printed filament twill fabric of 2/2 construction, which is used in silk-like dresses, linings, ties and scarves.

Surah is a soft, lightweight lustrous silk characterized by fine twill lines. Because it isn’t durable, it’s best used in ties and vest fronts.

Warp-Faced Twills
Warp-faced twills have a prominence of warp yarns on the right side of the cloth. Since warp yarns are made with higher twist, they are stronger and more resistant to abrasion; thus, they should be more durable than comparable filling-faced fabrics. They are widely used in utility garments.

Twill 2/1 – warped-faced.

Examples of warp-faced twills.

Drill is a fairly heavy cotton fabric used for work clothing, uniforms and ticking. It is piece dyed. It also has many uses in the unfinished, gray-goods state. For example, it makes good ironing board covers.

Cotton drill (cotton twill).

Jean is lighter in weight than drill. It is used for children’s play clothes, draperies, slipcovers, and work shirts. Jean is not heavy enough for work pants.

Jean fabric – light green floral print.

Denim is a yarn dyed fabric that comes in two weights. Overall denim is made of heavier yarns than drill and usually has blue yarns in the warp and natural yarns in the filling. Sportswear denim is similar to drill in weight and may have stripes, plaids or appear to be a solid color. It is used in sports wear, slipcovers and the like. Blue jeans, Levi and Levi Strauss for example, and dungarees and overalls are made from denim; the name refers to the cut of trousers. Fashion fabrics in denim may be napped, over printed or figured.

Embroidered denim jeans.

Gabardine is a warp-faced steep twill with very prominent distinct wale. It has a 63o angle or greater and always has more warp than filling. Cotton gabardine is made with 11, 13 or 15 harnesses. Long floats, which make the diagonal lines, are combined with short floats between the wales. Cotton gabardine is used for slacks and shorts, wind-repellent jackets and raincoats. Rayon and wool gabardine are sometimes made with a three-harness arrangement in which the warp yarns are crowded close together, giving a steep twill.

Vintage rayon gabardine cowboy jacket and shirt.

Herringbone Fabric
Herringbone fabrics have the twill line reversed at regular intervals to give a design that resembles the backbone of a fish. These may be steep or regular twills and the twill lines may be equally prominent or one side may be more subdued.

Dark grey Herringbone jacket.

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