Saturday, October 27, 2018

Costume Designs by Alexandre Benois for the Ballets Russes
Wearable Art

Marie-Therese Wisniowski

There are a number of posts on this blogspot that are centered on the costumes of the Ballets Russes. For your convenience I have listed them below:
Costumes of the Ballets Russes
Costume Designs by Léon Bakst

Introduction [1]
Alexandre Nikolaevich Benois was born May 4, 1870 in St. Petersburg, Russia into the family of Italian, Russian and French ancestry. His father, Nikolai Leontievich Benois, was a famous architect of the Imperial Mariinsky Opera House in St. Petersburg who built many other historic landmarks. His two brothers were professional artists, and young Alexandre Benois was brought up in a highly cultural environment, conducive to the development of his own many talents. The family lived in their private 4-story mansion next to the Imperial Mariinsky Opera House in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Alexandre Benois.

He studied art at the Imperial Academy of Fine Arts, then he studied law and graduated from the Law Department of St. Petersburg University. There he developed a life-long friendship with his fellow law student Sergei Diaghilev. They formed a circle of artists and art connoisseurs known as 'Mir Iskusstva' (World of Art). Benois lived in Paris and Versailles for 3 years from 1896-99, where he substantially researched Louis the XIV, the "Sun King", and his epoch. Benois made an important contribution to the history of France by his discovery of the memoirs of the Count Louis de Saint-Simon, and carried unprecedented research of that period. Back in St. Petersburg he published his acclaimed illustrations to 'The Queen of Spades' and 'Bronze Horseman' by Alexander Pushkin.

In 1899-1907 Benois collaborated with Sergei Diaghilev on a number of art shows. They produced the first international art show of artists from Scandinavian countries and Russia in St. Petersburg in 1900. The largest portrait show was organized in 1904 in Tavrichesky Palace in St. Petersburg. That show also included the research of over 7 thousand portraits in various traditional and contemporary styles and involved art historians, restorers, and artists from many Russian cities. Benois also collaborated with Diaghilev on the publication of art catalogs, books and the 'Mir Iskusstva' art magazine, which promoted artistic innovations and challenged the existing order. Their book 'History of Russian Painting' (1904) became the first comprehensive work on the subject.

Benois was the scenic director of the Imperial Mariinsky Theatre from 1901-1905. He was also the co-founder of the "Seasons Russes" with Sergei Diaghilev in 1909. He created exquisite designs for the ballets "Giselle" by Adolphe Adam, "Petruchka" by Igor Stravinsky and "Les Sylphides" on the music of Frédéric Chopin with choreography by Mikhail Fokin. Back in Russia Benois collaborated with Stanislavsky and Vladimir Nemirovich-Danchenko on productions at the Moscow Art Theatre (MKhAT).

Benois witnessed degradation of the Russian society through the communist revolutions and the Civil War in the 1st quarter of the 20th century. In 1918-26 he was the Curator of Paintings at the Hermitage Museum, partly because the famous 'Madonna Benois' by Leonardo DaVinci, which used to be his family's property, was now at the Hermitage. In 1926, he left the Hermitage and Russia for good. His friendship and work with Sergei Diaghilev continued in Paris.

'Madonna Benois' by Leonardo DaVinci

Benois was involved in publications of more than 100 art books and editions. He worked on productions of about 200 ballets and operas all over the world. His international background and inter-disciplinary education enabled him to create the unparalleled grand-scale cross-cultural and cross-genre project of the "Seasons Russes" together with Sergei Diaghilev. Benois' contribution as an artist, designer, director, producer, and an art historian made significant impact on theatre, opera, ballet, art, and art publishing of the 20th century. His comprehensive 'Memoirs' were published in 1955. He died on February 9, 1960 in Paris, and was laid to rest in Cimetiere des Batignolles, 8 Rue Saint-Just, Paris, France.

Costume Designs by Alexandre Benois for the Ballets Russes [2-3]

Costume design for the Coachman (1921).
Media: Water color, Indian ink and pencil on paper.
Size: 42.8 x 26 cm.

Costume design for a Merchant's Wife (1911).
Media: Water color, Indian ink and pencil on paper.
Size: 31.4 x 23.6 cm.
Serge Lifar Collection, gift of Simone Del Duca.

Costume design for the Second Merchant (1911).
Double-face design.
Media: Water color, Indian ink and pencil on paper.
Size: 31.4 x 23.6 cm.
Serge Lifar Collection, gift of Simone Del Duca.

Costume design for Petrouchka (1943).
Media: Water color, pencil and ink on paper.
Size: 25 x 16.5 cm.
Archives SBM.

Costume design for the Magician (1943).
Media: Water color, pencil and ink on paper.
Size: 25 x 16.5 cm.
Archives SBM.

Costume design for the Ballerina (1943).
Media: Water color, pencil and ink on paper.
Size: 25 x 16.5 cm.
Archives SBM.

Costume design for the Blackamoor (1943).
Media: Water color, pencil and ink on paper.
Size: 25 x 16.5 cm.
Archives SBM.

Headress for Nicolas Zverev as the Blackamoor (1920).
Media: Green velvet embroidered with braid and furnished with feathers.
On permanent loan to SBM.

Costume for the Ballerina (1920).
Media: Velvet, silk, cotton fabric and fur.
Archives SPSMTM.

Costume design for the Mummer-Devil (1921).
Media: Water color, Indian ink and pencil on paper.
Size: 34.2 x 22.2 cm.
Archives MBT.

Costume for a spirit if the hours (ca. 1909).
From Le Pavillon d'Amide.

Alexandre Benois and Leon Bakst.
Overdress from the costume for Aurora (ca. 1922).
from Le Mariage d'Aurore.

Cloak from costume for a harpist (ca. 1909).
from Le Pavillon d'Armide.

Costume for a spirit of the hours (ca. 1909).
from Le Pavillon d'Armide.

Jacket from a costume for a musician (ca. 1909).
from Le Pavillon d'Armide.

Costume for Petrouchka (ca. 1911).

Jacket from costume for The Hunt in Act I (ca. 1910).
from Giselle.


[2] R. Bell, Ballets Russes - The Art of Costume, National Gallery of Australia (2009).

[3] Editors J.E. Bowlt, Z. Tregulova and N. R. Giordano, A Feast of Wonders, Skira Editore, Milano (2009).

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Japanese Prints (Part II) [1]
Works on Paper

Marie-Therese Wisniowski

For you convenience I have listed the other post in this series below.
Japanese Prints (Part I)
Japanese Prints (Part III)

Introduction [1]
The Ukiyo-e print represents the culmination of a long history of printing in Japan and East-Asia. Printing and paper making were invented in China, and the techniques are known to have been used in Japan at least as early as the seventh century. The traditional method of printing in East Asia was by means of wooden blocks.

The production of Ukiyo-e prints relied on the combined effects of a designer, a block cutter and a printer, with a publisher to co-ordinate and oversee their labours. It was, however, the artist who had supplied the original design who put his name to the finished print. Since the publisher financed the whole venture, its success depended on this ability to make the appropriate choice of subject matter and to know and understand the market.

The stages involved in the production of a Ukiyo-e print were numerous, and yet an experienced publisher could arrange for the print run of, for example, a theatrical scene to appear within a few days of its first public performance. Initially, the publisher commissioned the artist to provide a detailed design and, once approved, this was copied on to a thin, semi-transparent paper so that it could be used directly on the block. The type of wood most widely used to make the block was cherry, since it was soft enough to be carved with comparative ease and yet strong enough to take finely carved detail and to withstand the demands of numerous print runs. Having placed the paper face down on the block, the block cutter then cut around the lines of the design, leaving them in relief, while removing the intervening areas of wood. The block cutter's task was an extremely skilled task, for the effect of the finished print relied on his success in translating the flowing, calligraphic line of the artist's original ink painting into a hard and rigid medium. The end result was an art form which combined the essence of a painting with the limitations of the woodblock print.

Except in the case of special color effects, the main or key block which supplied the outline of the design was printed in black. Proofs were then run off which could be used to indicate the colors required for different parts of the design so that the block cutter could make an additional block for each color. Since as many as twenty or more different blocks may have been used on a full color print, it was necessary to ensure some accurate method for the registration of color. From 1644 onwards, Japanese craftsmen solved this problem by employing a device known as the kentō: a pair of marks was cut in relief on the key block and was then incorporated into each color block. By lining up the paper with these marks, it was possible to ensure that the different areas of color corresponded to the relevant parts of the design.

Hoshō paper derived from the inner bark of the mulberry tree was widely used for Ukiyo-e prints since it was sufficiently strong and thick to withstand printing with numerous color blocks, while at the same time absorbent enough to take up the colors. The main colors used come from vegetable and mineral sources, while additional shades could be mixed directly on the block. By wiping away some of the color on the block before printing, it was also possible to achieve different gradations of a single color from light to dark. The introduction of aniline dyes during the 1870s brought a variety of new and vivid colors to the printmaker's palette, especially purples and oranges.

Japanese craftsman applied ink or color directly on to the block; paper was then placed on top and the impression was taken by rubbing the uppermost side or back of the paper with a pad barn in a zigzag or circular motion. Once all the sheets of paper had been printed with one color, the whole procedure was repeated for another color, and so on.

Japanese Prints (Part II) [1]

"Courtesan with a Fan" (ca. 1781) by Kitagawa Utamaro (1754 - 1806). From the series - "Collected Beauties of the SouthLands". The courtesan is holding an uchiwa fan, which depicts a shore scene, together with an appropriate poetic inscription [1].

Mother and children in a scene from Chūshingura (Tale of the 47 Ronin) drama (ca. 1790) by Kitigawa Utamaro (1754 - 1806). This is an example of a print which not only portrays a beautiful woman and her children, but also has theatrical associations, thus combining the two most popular Ukiyo-e subjects [1].

Great performance of the comic play Niwaka with female musicians by Kitagawa Utamaro (1754 - 1806). Utamaro sought an endless variety of settings in which to place the women portrayed in his prints. In this case, they are shown as musicians participating in a play [1].

Akakime of the Akatsuta-ya, a famous beauty by Kitagawa Utamaro (1754 - 1806). This is an example of a print which not only portrays a popular courtesan but which also helped to circulate contemporary high fashion by means of the details of her sumptuous dress. The lines of the body and head are also offset and balanced by the arrangement of the kimono draped on the ground [1].

The courtesan Kasugano of the Sasa-ya, having just emerged from a bath (ca. 1795) by Taki Eishō (active from ca. 1785 - 1800). From the series - "A comparison of beauties within the quarter (i.e. Yoshiwara) [1].

The actor Ishikawa Ebizō (1794) by Tōshūsai Shark (active from 1794 - 1795). The Ishikawa were one of the great acting families of Japan and can frequently be identified by their distinctive red costumes decorated with concentric white squares [1].

Portrait of the actor Matsumoto Kōshirō as Kōtoya Bungorō (ca. 1800) by Utagawa Toyokuni (1769 - 1825). From a series of portraits against patterned grounds [1].

Emblems of the "Seven Gods of Good Luck" by Masayuki Shinsai (1764? - 1820). Surimono, inscribed with poems. The "Seven Gods" are alluded to by depicting their attributes: the calico bag and fan refer to Hot, the God of Contentment and Happiness; the fish and hat to Ebisu, the God of Daily Food and Patron of Fishermen; the mallet to Daikoku, the God of Wealth; the scroll to Jurjin, the God of Scholastic Learning; the stag's horns to Fukurokuju, the God of Longevity; the musical instrument yo Benten, the Goddess of Music and Love; the helmet to Bishamon, the God of Wealth [1].

[1] J. Hutt, Japanese Prints, Studio Editions Ltd, London (1996).

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Art Quill Studio@2018 Sydney Craft & Quilt Fair
Art Fairs & Markets

Marie-Therese Wisniowski

For your convenience I have listed other posts in this series:
That Little Art Place
ArtCloth Textiles Created by Marie-Therese Wisniowski
Art Quill Studio@2019 Melbourne Craft & Quilt Fair

Art Quill Studio@2018 Sydney Craft & Quilt Fair. June 20-24th, 2018 at the International Convention Centre, Darling Harbour, Sydney.
Marie-Therese standing next to the '2018 Craft & Quilt Fair Celebrating 25 Years' sign at the International Convention Centre, Sydney. As part of the celebrations Expertise Events designed a fresh new logo symbolizing their commitment to the longevity and success of the craft industry and to their future vision for the industry.

25 Fabulous Craft Years
A Message from Gary Fitz-Roy, Managing Director, Expertise Events

Gary Fitz-Roy, Managing Director, Expertise Events.

From the beginning as a single hall event at the exhibition Centre Darling Harbour in 1994, the fair is now the largest craft event in the Southern Hemisphere. The fairs were the first Australian craft events to be held in international venues, positioning craft alongside mainstream events such as the motor shows and international medical conferences.

From top: Graeme 'Shirley' Strachan opens the first Fair in 1994; A view of the Fair from above.

It's been an amazing journey and quite an accomplishment that our Craft Fair can bring so much joy to so many. We feel so honoured to have shared the journey with so many wonderful people.

The Fairs have been enjoyed by millions of craft lovers and nurtured the creative industry and inspired creative souls by showcasing world class displays and international as well as home grown talent. Designer Kaffe Fassett, quilter Margaret Rolfe, decoupeur Nerida Singleton, and tea cosy designer Loani Prior - are just some of the guest artists who have featured at the Fair. Quilt shows, competitions and workshops have been a feature at the events. We value highly the relationship with quilting guilds who have their annual exhibition with the Fair.

Expertise Events have also nurtured non-profit groups with more than $3 million in cash sponsorship allocated over the 25 years to guilds, more than $50,000 in prize money and the provision of stands for non-profit groups for little or no cost. We have invested $27 million in advertising and promoting craft and raised the industry's profile. In 2016 we also created the Craft for Kids Foundation to facilitate the donation of craft supplies from visitors and deliver them to kids in need.

We are committed to giving back and have made financial and marketing resources available to many charities. It's nice to see some of what we have achieved being re-invested and nurtured by the industry and more importantly, by the community.

25 years on, the Craft & Quilt Fair is still supported by the iconic magazine, The Australian Women's Weekly. The Weekly holds a special place for it's where I met my wife, Judy Newman, who became our craft consultant. She has a passion for craft, coming from a formal textile teaching background and together I think we make a great team.

The future looks bright and we look forward to the next 25 years and seeing where we can take craft.

Marie-Therese of Art Quill Studio
Marie-Therese Wisniowski of Art Quill Studio is an acclaimed international and national textiles award winner - e.g. ‘Second Place Prize’ and two ‘Honourable Mentions’ at the Quilt Surface Design Symposium Fabric Show Competition Columbus, Ohio, USA (2010, 2009, 2007). A ‘Work of Distinction’ was collected at The Americas Biennial Exhibition of Contemporary Prints, The Americas Biennial Exhibition & Archive, University of Iowa, Iowa, USA (2008). Her work was ‘Highly Commended’ at the ArtCloth Swap, hosted by Artwear Publications in conjunction with the Textile Art Festival, Brisbane Exhibition Centre (2011) and she was a ‘Finalist’ at the Inaugural 2013 Australian Craft Awards - Fashion Accessories Category, awarded by design100 P/L (2013).

2009 QSDS Fabric Show, Ohio, USA.
Title: #2 (full view).
Size: 75 inches (length) x 45 inches (width).
Techniques/Media: Dyed, multiple over dyes including clamp resist, multiple silkscreen prints, lino block, stamping and foiling on lurex cotton employing dyes and pigment.
Awarded: Honorable Mention by juror Sue Benner, Artist, USA.

2009 QSDS Fabric Show, Ohio, USA.
Title: #2 (detail view).

Art Quill Studio under Marie-Therese’s direction produces unique, contemporary, high quality, hand dyed and hand printed ArtCloth textiles using time honoured and complex surface design techniques. Artcloth textiles are custom designed and made in Australia by Marie-Therese Wisniowski who employs her signature printing techniques to create her textiles. Every ArtCloth textile is an original work and cannot be replicated. ArtCloth textiles are available as fabric lengths, fat quarters, fabric samplers and scarves and are perfect for craft, wearable art, accessories, quilting, furnishing, as framed artworks and interior design projects.

If you would like any information about my ArtCloth textiles and scarves please email me at - Marie-Therese - to view/purchase what is currently available.

Art Quill Studio@2018 Sydney Craft & Quilt Fair
Some of the fabric designs and collections seen below were created especially for this show to celebrate its 25 year contribution to the art and craft sector.

A general view of the Art Quill Studio Stand No.G29 at the 2018 Sydney Craft & Quilt Fair which featured Marie-Therese's Hand Dyed and Hand Printed ArtCloth fabric lengths, fat quarters and fabric samplers; Hand Dyed and Hand Printed ArtCloth velvet scarves, silk scarves and pashminas; Hand Dyed Shibori ArtCloth velvet and silk fat quarters; and one-off/limited edition digitally printed fabric lengths.

A general view of the Art Quill Studio Stand No.G29 at the 2018 Sydney Craft & Quilt Fair which featured Marie-Therese's 'Unique, Australian, Contemporary, Hand Dyed and Hand Printed ArtCloth Textiles.

A general view of the Art Quill Studio Stand No.G29 at the 2018 Sydney Craft & Quilt Fair which featured New Collections of Hand Dyed and Hand Printed Limited Edition ArtCloth Fabric Designs.

A general view of the Art Quill Studio Stand No.G29 at the 2018 Sydney Craft & Quilt Fair featuring a range of Marie-Therese's Hand Dyed and Hand Printed ArtCloth fat quarters, fabric samplers and Hand Dyed Shibori ArtCloth velvet and silk fat quarters on the display table.

Some of the New Collections of Hand Dyed and Hand Printed Limited Edition ArtCloth Fabric Designs packaged as fat quarters. The designs/collections were dyed and printed on various cotton fabrics.

Some more of the New Collections of Hand Dyed and Hand Printed Limited Edition ArtCloth Fabric Designs packaged as fat quarters and shibori dyed velvet fat quarters.

More of the shibori dyed velvet fat quarters and New Collections of Hand Dyed and Hand Printed Limited Edition ArtCloth Fabric Designs packaged as fabric samplers. Each fabric sampler consisted of samplers that measured a fat eighth amount of fabrics. The samplers featured cotton, velvet, silk, and/or linen fabrics in each parcel. Numerous techniques were included in each sampler which varied from multi-layered complex cloth, low relief screen printing, deconstructed and breakdown screen printing, talc printing, eco printing, stamping, lino block printing and interfacing screen printing as well as numerous dyeing techniques. Each sampler featured colors that were in the same/similar palette range.

An overhead view of some of the New Collections of Hand Dyed and Hand Printed Limited Edition ArtCloth Fabric Lengths. Various natural fibres were employed as the substrate for the new designs/collections and included various weights of silks, cottons and rayons. Numerous techniques were included which varied from Marie-Therese's signature 'Multiplex' screen printing, discharge printing, multi-layered complex cloth printing, low relief screen printing, deconstructed and breakdown screen printing, talc printing, eco printing, stamping, lino block printing, wax printing, mono printing and interfacing screen printing as well as numerous multi layered dyeing/over dyeing techniques.

Another view of some of the New Collections of Hand Dyed and Hand Printed Limited Edition ArtCloth Fabric Lengths and Unique One-Off Velvet ArtCloth Scarves on display at the Art Quill Studio Stand at the 2018 Sydney Craft & Quilt Fair.

Some of Marie-Therese's Hand Dyed and Hand Printed Unique One-Off ArtCloth Pashmina Scarves on display at the Art Quill Studio Stand at the 2018 Sydney Craft & Quilt Fair.

Marie-Therese adding some more Hand Dyed and Hand Printed Unique One-Off ArtCloth Pashmina Scarves to the display rack.

Marie-Therese discussing the various techniques and media she employs to create each individual ArtCloth Textile, noting that each completed multi dyed and multi layered/printed piece started off as a pure white piece of fabric before she got to it!

Marie-Therese surrounded by her multi dyed, multi layered/printed and colorful world of Unique, Contemporary, Hand Dyed and Hand Printed ArtCloth Textiles that are designed, dyed and printed in her Art Quill Studio at Arcadia Vale in NSW.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Mechanical Finishes - Part II
Art Resource

Marie-Therese Wisniowski

This is the eighty-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!

Mechanical Finishes - Part II
Pleating is really a variation of embossing. It is an ancient art that dates back to the Egyptians, who used hot stones to make pleats.

Ancient Egyptian Pleats.

Colonial women in the United States used heavy pleating irons to press in fancy pleats and fluting. Today pleating methods are highly specialised operations done by either the paper pattern technique or by machine processes.

Box pleats on the back of a frock coat.

The paper pattern method is a hand process and, therefore, more costly; but it produces a wider variety of pleated designs. Garments in partly completed condition, such as hemmed skirt panels, are placed in a pleated paper pattern fold. The fabric is placed in the paper fold by hand and another pattern fold is placed on top so that the fabric is pleated between the two pleated papers. The whole thing is rolled into a cone shape, sealed, and put in a large curing oven for heat setting.

Fabric Manipulation - cardboard pleating mold; textile design techniques for pleated patterns & textures.

The machine pleating method is less expensive. The machine has two heated rolls. The fabric is inserted between the rolls as high precision blades put the pleats in place. A paper backing is used under the pleated fabric and the pleats are held in place by a paper tape. After leaving the heated roll machine, the pleats are set in an ageing unit. Durability of pleats differs in the eyes of the producer and the consumer. If the pleat line is still evident after wear or washing, the producer considers this permanent and satisfactory. The consumer, however, is interested in having the pleats hang perfectly flat as if they had just been pressed. Permanence depends on the fiber content.

Rotary Pleating Machine.

Beetling is a finish that is used for linen and a few fabrics resembling linen. As the cloth revolves slowly over a huge wooden drum, it is pounded with wooden block hammers. This pounding may continue for a period of 30 to 60 hours. It flattens the yarns and makes the weave appear less open than it really is. The increased surface area gives more luster, greater absorbency, and smoothness to the fabric.

Irish beetled linen - Pewter.

Decatizing produces a smooth, wrinkle-free finish and lofty hand on woolen and worsted fabrics and on blends of wool and man-made fibers. The process is comparable to steam ironing. A high degree of luster can be developed by the decatizing process because of the smoothness of the surface. The dry cloth is wound under tension on a perforated cylinder. Steam is forced through the fabric. The moisture and heat cause the wool to become plastic and tensions relax and wrinkles are removed. The yarns become set in the shape of the weave and are fixed in this position by cooling off, which is done with cold air. For a more permanent set, dry decatizing is done in a pressure boiler.

Decating process.

Wet decatizing often precedes napping or other face finishes to remove wrinkles that have been acquired in scouring. Wet decatizing as a final finish gives a more permanent set to the yarns than does dry decatizing.

Tentering, one of the final finishing operations, performs the double process of straightening and drying fabrics. If the fabric is started in the tenter frame in a crooked position, it will be dried in an "off grain" shape. The crosswise grain or threads are on the diagonal or pulled into a curved shape rather than being at right angles to the yarns in the lengthwise direction. Today many fabrics are either heat-set synthetic fibers or have a durable press finish, so that it is impossible to straighten them. Heat setting of man-made fiber fabrics is often combined with tentering.

Tentering process.

The use of electronic monitors on the tenter frame will control the speed of the two sides of the tenter and keep the filling yarns at right angles to the lengthwise yarns. These straightening devices are called "weft straighteners".

Tenter machines are similar to a curtain stretcher in principle. They are of two types; the pin tenter and the clip tenter. The diagram below shows the difference between them. The pin device on the sides moves around like a caterpillar tractor wheel. The clip tenter operates in the same way except that the fabric is gripped by a series of clips. More tension can be exerted by the clip tenter, but it may also damage some fabrics, in which case the pin tenter is used. The marks of the pins or the clips are often evident along the selvage.


Loop Dryer
Fabrics with a soft finish, towels and stretchy fabrics such as knits, are not dried on the tenter frame, but are dried on a loop dryer, where drying can be done without tension. Many rayon fabrics are dried on loop dryers.

Loop dryer.

Shearing is a finishing process done by a machine similar to a lawn mower. Grey goods fabrics are sheared to remove loose fiber or yarn ends, knots etc. Napped and pile fabrics are sheared to control the length of the pile or nap surface and to create a design or smooth surface. Sculptured effects are made by flattening portions of the pile with an engraved roller and then shearing off the areas that are still erect. Steaming the fabric raises the flattened portions. Straightline designs in either the warp or filling directions diagonally on the cloth are made by lifting the cutter blade at regular predetermined intervals.

Fabric shearing machine.

Brushing follows shearing to clean the surface of clear-face fabrics. When combined with steaming, it will lay the nap or pile in one direction and fix it in that position thus giving the "up-and-down" direction of pile and nap fabrics.

Fabric brushing machine.

Fabrics are inspected by pulling or running them over an inverted frame in good light. Broken threads are clipped off, snagged threads are worked back into the cloth, and defects are marked so that adjustments can be made when fabrics are sold. The fabric is then wound on bolts or cylinders ready for shipment.

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