Saturday, September 24, 2016

Creative Strength Training:
Prompts, Exercises and Personal Stories for Encouraging Artistic Genius
Book Review

Marie-Therese Wisniowski

There are a number of book reviews on this blogspot. For your convenience I have listed the other book reviews below:
Textiles: The Art of Mankind - Mary Schoeser
The Pattern Base - Kristi O'Meara
Stitch Stories - Cas Holmes

I first met Jane Dunnewold in 2002 when I accompanied my husband on a tour of the USA. He was invited to give a number of University seminars/lectures and moreover, was attending a meeting in San Antonio (Texas). Instead of following him about, I decided to email Jane about one of her Complex Cloth workshops that she was conducting in her then "Art Cloth Studio", which was on the top floor of the Beacon Hill Presbyterian Church complex, San Antonio, Texas, USA. Just before I left she emailed me that a person had withdrawn from the workshop and she hoped I could attend.

Art Cloth Studio (top floor of the Beacon Hill Presbyterian Church complex), San Antonio, Texas, USA.

A youthful Marie-Therese at her work table in Art Cloth Studio. Some finished samples of her output from the workshop are on the back wall (February 2002).

In 2002-2004 I did a part-time "Continuing Study Program" with Jane which formed part of my outside studies program for my Bachelor of Fine-Arts. In 2007 she invited me to be the inaugural guest editor of her ezine - HeArtCloth Quarterly.

ezine Front Cover of HeArtCloth Quarterly - edited by Marie-Therese Wisniowski (December Issue, 2007).

In 2008 I invited her to be a participant in the first inaugural ArtCloth exhibition held in Australasia. I was pleased that she accepted and her ArtCloth work - Sacred Planet I: The Myth of Human Superiority - illustrated her willingness to push boundaries not only with creative ideas but also with techniques and materials.

A detail view of a panel of Sacred Planet I: The Myth of Human Superiority (Jane Dunnewold).
Exhibition: ArtCloth: Engaging New Visions.
Digital printing on cotton from an original photograph. Mixed Media: sand, felt, and burn out chemical.
Size: 112 cm (width) x 294 cm (length).

As you can see Jane and I have a fruitful, creative, artistic and mutually respectful relationship over a long time! Clearly I am unashamedly biased since: I like her art; I like her penmanship and authorship of her many books; I like her ideas and more importantly, I like the fact that she wants to share her knowledge with others and does so freely - always giving sound and practical advice.

Creative Strength Training[1]

Front cover of Jane's new book - Creative Strength Training[1].
Photograph courtesy of reference[1].

The organizing principle of the book is centered on Jane being your personal creative and artistic trainer to ensure you become creatively fit. That may be the end goal, but it’s the journey to that destination that is the backbone of the book. Furthermore, Jane at the end of each chapter shows how other artists as well as herself have responded to such challenges.

The first chapter centers on "Defining Creative Stamina". It is sectioned into:
(i) Introduction;
(ii) Writing As An Assist To Making;
(iii) Working With Memory;
(iv) Artists Respond.

Each section logically follows from the previous, giving an orderly sequenced introduction, which sets the mood for the rest of the book.

Some of the photographs, quotations and captions in this chapter are in themselves instructive. For example,

Caption[1]: "Some people sit in meditation. Others practice an instrument or write poetry".
Quote[1]: "Be at least as interested in what goes on inside of you as to what happens outside. If you get the inside right, the outside will fall into place - Eckhart Tolle".
Photograph courtesy of reference[1].

The second chapter is the first part addressing the need to "Overcome Stumbling Blocks". Here the sections fall into:
(i) Obstacles To Working;
(ii) The Rebellious Expanded Square;
(iii) Artists Respond.

A typical insight into this chapter is Jane's introduction and instruction on how to create an expanded square and how such a square can be employed as the basis of an artwork. In particular, she cites Mary Ann Ashford's work. Below is Mary Ann's expanded square, which she used as a basis of her ArtCloth work (see below).

Photograph courtesy of reference[1].

Photograph courtesy of reference[1].

The third chapter continues the theme of overcoming stumbling blocks. The sections are in themselves humorous since it focuses on regaining control of your artistic voice rather than relinquishing control by trying to second guess what you think may please others. The sections are:
(i) The Committee, Your Chakras And The Tribe;
(ii) Dismantling The Committee;
(iii) Artists Respond.
Note: For the definition of a Chakras - see Chapter 7.

"Judy Cook played with the ideas about the Committee she saw in her mind's eye"[1]. Photograph courtesy of reference[1].

Chapter Four addresses - "The Power of Limitations". It is knowing who we are, what fascinates us, what we can do and what we can't that channels our creativity into reality. Hence this chapter sections into:
(i) Use What You've Got;
(ii) Exploring Limitations;
(iv) Artists Respond.

Here under a sub-section of (ii) titled, "Limiting Variables", Jane uses her own ArtCloth work - "Choir" - as an example of a work that limits a variable since she has stuck to one color palette in her artwork and in doing so provided an unifying effect that underlines the work.

Jane Dunnewold - Choir (2005).
Material: Silk organza and broadcloth.
Size: 203 x 61 cm.
Photography courtesy of reference[1].

Chapter Five is titled - "Learning to Make and Take Time". Digital disruption has been blamed for many changes in our lives from the casualization of the workforce to demise of newspapers and bookshops to the increase of vitamin D deficiency. But perhaps its greatest disruption is that people claim it makes them time poor. Hence this chapter addresses the need for "me time" in a world where others demand to access your "free" time - all the time! Hence this chapter sections into:
(i) Really Big Or Really Obsessive?
(ii) The Deeper Truth;
(iii) Learning To Make And Take Time;
(iv) Artists Respond.

Perhaps one of the more true and tested ways of learning to make and take time are artistic journals, images of which from time-to-time surface in the artwork of the artist. Jane takes us to Carol Wiebe's artistic hand painted journal as an inspiration of how "me time" can journey back to the artist.

One entry in Carol Wiebe's hand painted journal.
Photograph courtesy of reference[1].

Chapter Six focuses on - "What Does Alignment Look Like To You?" Jane characterizes alignment as a balanced combination of what you are good at and what you like to do. The chapter sections into:
(i) Alignment;
(ii) What Do You Love And What Are You Good At?
(iii) Artists Respond.

Here Beth Schellenberger - Metamorphosis I - shows her unique style in terms of graphic design, color and methodology (i.e. intricate hand stitching).
Photograph courtesy of reference[1].

Chapter Seven addresses - "Making Your Work Distinctly You Own". It sections into:
(i) Focus, Alignment and Goals;
(ii) Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Chakras;
(iii) Mining Content;
(iv) Artists Respond.

As "Chakras" is mentioned in this chapter as well as Chapter Three we should digress to explain its meaning. The Sanskrit word "Chakra" literally translates to wheel or disk. In yoga, meditation, and Ayurveda, this term refers to wheels of energy throughout the body. There are seven main chakras, which align the spine, starting from the base of the spine through to the crown of the head. To visualize a chakra in the body, imagine a swirling wheel of energy where matter and consciousness meet. This invisible energy, called Prana, is a vital life force, which keeps us vibrant, healthy, and alive.

Under the section - "Mining Content" - Jane refers to Kerrie Boase-Jelinek's artwork who passionately pursues printing with objects from the natural world.
Photograph courtesy of reference[1].

Chapter Eight is the first part of addressing the topic - Each Of Us Is Fascinating. It sections:
(i) Each Of Us Is Fascinating;
(ii) Writing Your Artist Story;
(iii) Artists Respond.

In writing your artistic history Jane suggest you focus upon: who you are and what physical path your life has taken; how do you work and what do you love to do; what do you care about and how does that manifest in your artistic content.

Jane Dunnewold, 2002.
Photograph courtesy of reference[1].

The second part of - Each Of Us Is Fascinating (Chapter 9) - sections into:
(i) Caring Enough To Be Clear;
(ii) How To Distill And Edit Your Story;
(iii) Artists Respond.

Judy Cook - Me And Annie Oakley.
"There is a difference in creating a product to sell and using creative skills to express personal voice. I've found making art to sell is not enough."[1].
Photograph courtesy of reference[1].

The final chapter (Chapter 10) is titled - "Discovering Grace Through Acts Of Making". It sections into:
(i) Why Have The Tools To Be Authentic;
(ii) Moving Ahead With the Plan;
(iii) Artists Respond.

The title of this Chapter cannot be better reflected than in Jane's choice of an Art Cloth work by Adriene Huffington - Dreaming. Here Adriene reflects that her work is created from a juxtaposition of peace immersed within confusion that creates an unresolved creativity and atmosphere.

Photograph courtesy of reference[1].

As a reviewer I could only give a glimpse of the artists and their work as well as that of Jane's that this book contains. Needless to say, there are some books you must read and then again, there are some books you must read and own. Jane Dunnewold’s "Creative Strength Training" falls into the latter category. Jane is there to ensure that you will use your creative strength so that you won't lose it. After you have read and practiced her exercises, whenever you are in doubt in the future, you will dip back into this book for inspiration and motivation. Hence it is a book that you must read and moreover, own!

[1] J. Dunnewold, Creative Strength Training: Prompts, Exercises and Personal Stories for Encouraging Artistic Genius, North Light Books, Cincinnati (2016).

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Reality, Influence and Invention

Guest Artist: Shirley McKernan

This blogspot has a number of posts that highlight the artwork of invited artists. For you convenience I have listed them below:
Jennifer Libby Fay
Lesley Turner
Flora Fascinator

I first met Shirley in the early 2000’s at Fairfield City Museum & Gallery, NSW, where she worked as an Administrative Assistant. Her passion for the exhibition artworks which were displayed at the gallery was evident in those days and it came as no surprise that she discovered her own art and voice during that time.

Fairfield City Museum & Gallery (NSW, Australia).

Shirley McKernan knitting 4 cm wide torn strips of indigo dyed silk from her original attempts to perfect her artworks “Stairs to the Moon” and “Pumpkins”.

Since then I have been delighted to experience her distinctive artistic voice using stitch and dye techniques on cloth. I am a fan of her artwork and so I was pleased that she agreed to be a Guest Artist on this blog spot. For more information contact Shirley at the following email address: Shirley shirlmck at

Reality, Influence and Invention - The Artwork of Shirley McKernan
How Shirley Discovered Her Art
Sewing, knitting and embroidery, which over the years was done out of necessity, now have become one word for Shirley - textiles. She discovered textiles working as an Administration Assistant at Fairfield City Museum & Gallery (NSW) during the 80s, where internationally acclaimed artist, Helen Lancaster, curated many textile exhibitions. Helen’s husband, Eardley, was a photographer and so a catalogue of each exhibition was produced. These prestigious exhibitions showcased Australian and International textile artists. It was here that Shirley’s underlying creativeness exploded. She saw that the basic running stitch could be interpreted in a myriad of ways. Dye on cloth was even more fascinating especially using silk.

Many of the exhibiting artists were members of the Australian Textile Arts & Surface Design Association (ATASDA), which Shirley joined, and where she met more talented artists, and so she participated in workshops and exhibitions with the ATASDA group of artists.
“I was in awe of two ATASDA members, Kirry Toose and Carol Wilkes, who both used a sewing machine for drawing and manipulation on cloth. This was a revelation; my sewing machine was in for an almighty shock. I became obsessed with silk slivers. The silk slivers (or tops), were laid-out between water soluble medium, free machined to hold the fibres together, then soaked in water to remove the medium. The finished result was a lustrous sheen, soft and vibrant in colour”. Shirley made many scarves from purchased, commercial dyed silk slivers, which were sold at the Lindy-Rose and Leonard Smith's Rosedale Street Gallery, Dulwich Hill, NSW.

Then came shibori, pole wrapping, and stitch on silk.
“It was at this time I explored fine merino wool as a fabric for pole wrapping and dyeing. I loved the end result, texture, softness and playing with different dye colour combinations”.

Stairs To The Moon
The inspiration for “Stairs to the Moon” was a culmination of reality, influence and invention. Reality - Staircase to the moon is a natural phenomenon, which occurs when a full moon rises over the exposed tidal flats of Roebuck Bay (Broome, Western Australia). The staircase to the moon happens 2-3 days a month between March and October.

Influence: Glennis Dolce - Shibori Girl Studio (California, USA). Shirley has been an avid follower of the Shibori Girl blog and web sites, where Glennis Dolcie has a hands-on approach to all things silk and indigo moons.

Invention: The placement of the moon and stairs had to be a design process otherwise the viewer would be confused as to what they were seeing. She used Mokume stitch for the moon, drawing a circle on silk and stitching individual rows. Each row of stitching was gathered tightly and secured to form a resist to the indigo dye. The stairs were mokume stitched - each stitch exactly ¼ inch, each row exactly ¼ inch apart. This required drawing a precise grid on the silk for stitching to be precise. Each stitched row was pulled tightly and secured. Then, magic followed, into the Indigo bath. Then the stitches were pulled-out to reveal my own phenomenon.

Title: Stairs to the Moon (Full view).
Medium: Silk habotai.
Technique: Hand stitched lines to create a resist for the Indigo dye.
Size: 108 cm high x 37 cm wide.

Stairs to the Moon (Detail view).

Pumpkins, because of their shape, were the chosen opportunity to explore “capping”, a form of resist, so that dye does not penetrate into the “capped” area. Shirley drew a pumpkin onto cardboard then cut out each segment. Each segment was individually placed onto silk cloth to form one pumpkin, and then each segment was drawn around, which enabled Shirley to stitch and gather without losing the shape of each pumpkin segment. Each segment was then gathered tightly forming a puff. Each puff was then covered in a small piece of plastic then bound tightly around the base of the puff with thread to form a resist. Then it was ready for the indigo bath. Finally the stitching could be pulled-out to reveal the pumpkins.

Title: Pumpkins (Full view).
Medium: Silk habotai.
Technique: Hand stitched segments to create a resist for the Indigo dye.
Size: 100 cm wide x 45 cm high.

Pumpkins (Detail view).

Palm House, Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney
Shirley's recent work was influenced by attending a two-day workshop at Hazlehurst Gallery, Gymea, NSW, showcasing “Kantha Stitch”, tutored by Carolyn Sullivan, a well-known Australian and International Quilter and Embroiderer.
“Participating in Carolyn’s workshop was the perfect topping for my love of silk, dye and stitch. By pulling slightly on the Kantha stitch it results in a tiny ripple effect”.

The piece, “Palm House, Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney”, was shown at an Australian Textile Arts & Surface Design Association (ATASDA) Exhibition, titled, “Façade” in May 2016. Shirley was able to mark out palm trees on silk cloth, using her stitching skills to reproduce the palm fronds and palm trunks. She chose to use palm trees as these represented the actual Palm House heritage listed building at the Botanic Garden, Sydney. The piece was indigo dyed, stitches pulled-out, dried, and ironed and a fine batting, backed with quilters cotton fabric was placed under the completed piece to give substance for the Kantha stitch, which then gave the illusion of moonlight on a building (façade).

Title: Palm House, Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney (Full view).
Medium: Silk habotai.
Technique: Hand stitched outline of Palm trees and moon to form a resist for the indigo dye.
Size: 53 cm (high) x 32 cm (wide).

Palm House, Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney (Detail view 1).

Palm House, Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney (Detail view 2).

Sunrise Over Bondi
“Sunrise Over Bondi” was a reality waiting for Shirley to capture. She dyed a piece of silk habotai in orange acid dye. The sun was drawn onto the orange silk and mokume stitched, the sunrise on the water was also mokume stitched. Each row of stitching for the sun, and sun on water, was tightly gathered to form a resist to the next dye bath. The stitched piece was then soaked in water for 24 hours, water squeezed-out, then into the blue acid dye bath. Acid dye was used to keep the dye type consistent to the piece. When dry the stitching was pulled-out, then ironed. A fine batting layer and cotton fabric was placed behind the piece before commencing the Kantha stitch. She chose a variegated thread to Kantha stitch rays of sunshine.

Title: Sunrise over Bondi (Full view).
Medium: Silk habotai.
Technique: Orange acid dye, hand stitched outline of the sun, and sun rays over the water to form a resist for the dyeing of blue acid dye.
Size: 60 cm (high) x 40 cm (wide).

Sunrise over Bondi (Detail view 1).

Sunrise over Bondi (Detail view 2).

Saturday, September 10, 2016

In Pursuit of: Low Relief Screen Printing (LRSP) Workshop 2016
Art Quill Studio Workshop Program

Tutor: Marie-Therese Wisniowski

This blogspot exhibits many of my students outputs from a variety of workshops. There are one, two and five day workshops as well as workshops that have a different focus. Nevertheless, it always surprises me how much I learn from my students and how enthusiastic they are to learn and so for your convenience, I have listed the workshop posts below.

The University of Newcastle Multi-Media Course
The University of Newcastle (Newcastle and Ourimbah Campuses, NSW, Australia) 2008 to 2010.

One and Two Day Disperse Dye Workshops
Various Textile Groups (Australia) 2008 - 2011.

Five Day Workshop - In Pursuit of Complex Cloth
“Wrapt in Rocky” Textile Fibre Forum Conference (Rockhampton, Queensland, Australia) 29th June to 5th July 2008.

Five Day Workshop – In Pursuit of Complex Cloth
Orange Textile Fiber Forum (Orange, NSW, Australia) 19th to 25th April 2009.

5 Day Workshop – In Pursuit of Complex Cloth
Geelong Fiber Forum (Geelong, Victoria, Australia) 27th September to 3rd October 2009.

Two Day Workshop - Deconstructed and Polychromatic Screen Printing
Beautiful Silks (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia) 20th to 21st March 2010.

Five Day Workshop – Disperse Dye and Transfer Printing
“Wrapt in Rocky” Biennial Textile Forum/Conference Program (Rockhampton, Queensland, Australia) 25th June to 1st July 2010.

Two Day Workshop – Improvisational Screen Printing
ATASDA (Sydney, NSW, Australia) 28th to 29th August 2010.

Two Day Workshop – In Pursuit of Complex Cloth (Day One)
”Stitching and Beyond” Textile Group (Woodbridge, Tasmania, Australia) 2nd to 3rd October 2010.

Two Day Workshop – In Pursuit of Complex Cloth (Day Two)
”Stitching and Beyond” Textile Group (Woodbridge, Tasmania, Australia) 2nd to 3rd October 2010.

Advance Silk Screen Printing
Redcliffe City Art Gallery Redcliffe, Queensland, Australia) 10th April 2011.

One Day Workshop - In Pursuit of Complex Cloth
The Victorian Feltmakers Inc. (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia) 14th May 2011.

One Day Workshop - In Pursuit of Complex Cloth (Felted and Silk Fibers)
Victorian Feltmakers Inc (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia) 15th May 2011.

Five Day Workshop – Disperse Dye and Transfer Printing
SDA (Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA) 13th to 17th June 2011.

Five Day Disperse Dye Master Class – Barbara Scott
Art Quill Studio (Arcadia Vale, NSW, Australia) 15th to 19th August 2011.

Five Day Workshop – Disperse Dye and Transfer Printing
Fiber Arts Australia (Sydney, NSW, Australia) 26th September to 1st October 2011.

One Day Workshop – Improvisational Screen Printing
Newcastle Printmakers Workshop Inc. (Newcastle, NSW, Australia) 5th November 2011.

One Day Workshops – Low Relief Screen Printing
Various classes within Australia.

Two Day Workshop – Disperse Dye and Transfer Printing
ATASDA (Sydney, NSW, Australia) 23rd to 24th June 2012.

MSDS Demonstration at Zijdelings
(Tilburg, The Netherlands) October, 2012.

Five Day Workshop - Disperse Dye and Transfer Printing
Fibre Arts@Ballarat (Ballarat, Victoria, Australia) 6th to 12th April 2013.

Two Day Workshop - Disperse Dye and Transfer Printing
EFTAG (Tuross Head, NSW, Australia) 13th to 14th April 2013.

Two Day Workshop - Disperse Dye and Transfer Printing
Zijdelings Studio (Tilburg, The Netherlands) 9th to 10th October 2014.

PCA - Celebrating 50 Years in 2016
Art Quill Studio 2016 Workshop Program (Newcastle, Australia).

Image Dreamings: Basic Silk Screen Printing Workshop - Part I
2016 Art Quill Studio Workshop Program (Newcastle, Australia).

Image Dreamings: Basic Silk Screen Printing Workshop - Part II
2016 Art Quill Studio Workshop Program (Newcastle, Australia).

In Pursuit of: Improvisational Screen Printing Workshop
2016 Art Quill Studio Workshop Program (Newcastle, Australia).

Art Quill Studio 2017 Workshop Program
2017 Art Quill Studio Workshop Program (Newcastle, Australia).

To celebrate the Print Council of Australia’s 50 Years in 2016, Art Quill Studio in Arcadia Vale, NSW, Australia will be holding a series of workshops during 2016 tutored by Marie-Therese Wisniowski. The workshops have been structured so that they can be attended as individual workshops or as an on-going series. The workshop program will start with basic printmaking techniques and advance to mastering complex multiple imaging/overprinting relationships and techniques. The techniques are suitable for printing on fabric and paper substrates.

Today's post highlights participants outcomes from Workshop No. 5 in the 2016 Art Quill Studio Workshop Program - In Pursuit of: Low Relief Screen Printing (LRSP) - and gives links to workshops so that you can view past students outcomes. For Australian enquiries please email me at Marie-Therese. For overseas enquiries these workshops may be held in overseas venues provided that there are enough participants per workshop (10-15 participants) and that within each country a sufficient number of workshops can be organized in order to make the journey cost-effective (5-10 workshops). Please email me at Marie-Therese to initiate a discussion on the feasibility of such an overseas venture.

In person Master Classes are also available. For more details of these Master Classes email me at Marie-Therese. For Master Class outcomes see - Barbara Scott. On-line classes will be available in 2017.

One Day Workshop Synopsis
In Pursuit of: Low Relief Screen Printing (LRSP) Workshop

The one day "In Pursuit of: Low Relief Screen Printing (LRSP) Workshop" was held at Art Quill Studio in Arcadia Vale, NSW, Australia on the 8th August 2016.

In this one day workshop participants learnt the tutor’s signature LRSP technique using low relief textured items in tandem with a silkscreen. The technique produces one print with each pass that results in a mono print series of prints. The images have a lovely organic, textural quality and lend themselves to interesting color combinations.

Some prior experience using a silkscreen was recommended for this class. Below are outputs created during the workshop by participant/quilt artist Judi Nikoleski.

Judi Nikoleski preparing to screen print some low relief texture images.

Adding a bead of fabric paint in the well of her silk screen.

Three color low relief screen print employing flora.

Various color blends create this low relief screen print employing flora.

Low relief ghost screen print employing flora.

Judi cutting shapes from various media for lrsp screen printing.

Three color low relief screen print employing textured media.

Multi color low relief screen print employing textured media.

Low relief ghost print employing textured media.

Multi color low relief textured screen print employing various fiber media.

2nd. multi color low relief textured screen print employing various fiber media.

3rd. multi color low relief textured screen print employing various fiber media.

Low relief multi textured/layered color print employing various fiber media.

Multi color low relief textured screen print employing various media.

Another multi color low relief textured screen print employing various media.

Low relief multi textured/layered color print employing various media.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Similarities and Differences in Woven Fabrics
Art Resource

Marie-Therese Wisniowski

This is the fifty-sixth 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 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

The Glossary of Terms, Timelines of Fabrics, Dyes and Other Stuff, A Fashion Data Base, Glossary of Colors, Dyes, Inks, Pigments and Resins, Glossary of Fabrics, Fibers, Finishes, Garments and Yarns and Glossary of Art, Artists, Art Motifs and Art Movements have been updated in order to better inform your art practice.

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!

Woven fabrics are similar in structure but differ in handle, drape and appearance depending of a number of factors. Today post focuses of similarities and differences of woven fabrics.

Tropical floral (Hawaiian) woven dress.

Similarities of Woven Fabrics
The width of the loom determines the width of the fabric. Hand-woven fabrics are usually 27 to 36 inches wide. Before the 1950s machine woven cottons were traditionally 36 inches wide. However, wider fabrics are more economical to weave and the garment cutter can lay out patterns to better advantage. New looms weave cotton 45 inches wide. Wool fabrics are 54 to 60 inches wide and silk type fabrics are 40 to 45 inches wide.

A modern Rapier loom.

The arrangement of warp and filling (weft) yarns is always at right angles to one another, a yarn position that gives the cloth more firmness and rigidity than the yarn arrangement in knits, braids and laces. Yarns can be raveled from adjacent sides of the fabrics. Yarn position also indicates the grain of the fabric.

Fishtail braid.

The warp and filling yarns differ because of the performance requirements of the loom and because they serve different functions in the fabric. The warp yarns (ends) usually have more twist and are made of better quality fibers because they must resist the high tensions put on them by the loom and because of the abrasion of the shuttle as it flies back and forth.

Two neighboring ends will resist the tearing force together resulting in higher tearing strength in warp direction.

It is very important to recognize the warp and filling directions of a fabric because:
(i) The fabric is stronger in the warp direction and it usually stretches least in this direction.
(ii) Fabrics are often stiffer in the warp direction because warp yarns have more twist. Therefore, the warp and filling drape differently.
(iii) The fabric will shrink more in the warp direction. The picture of the bias slip (see below) shows the differences between warp and filling shrinkage.

Shrinkage in crêpe slips. The warp shrunk more than the filling.

It is difficult to recognize a difference in the warp and filling directions of plain woven fabrics, but a trained eye can see the difference. Except for the first method given here, no one method fits all fabrics. Some of the methods given will be easier to understand as fabrics are studied, so reference should be made to the list given below.
(i) The selvage always runs in the warp direction (lengthwise) of the fabric.
(ii) Most fabrics stretch less in the warp direction.
(iii) Warp yarns usually appear straighter in the fabric. This is the result of tension on the yarns during weaving.
(iv) Warp yarns are usually regular yarns, while filling yarns may be decorative or functional yarns. (Regular yarns are the ordinary weaving yarns of medium size and medium twist and of uniform construction. Example: the yarns in percale fabric).
(v) Many fabrics have certain characteristics that indicate the warp and filling direction. For example, poplin always has a filling rib, satin always has warp floats and flat crêpe yarns in the filling and low-twist yarns in the warp.

Poplin - a fabric made using a rib variation of the plain weave. The construction is characterized by having a slight ridge effect in one direction, usually the filling. Poplin used to be associated with casual clothing, but as the "world of work" has become more relaxed, this fabric has developed into a staple of men's wardrobes, being used frequently in casual trousers.

All woven fabrics have grain and selvages. Grain is the term used in sewing to indicate the warp and filling yarns of the fabric. Lengthwise grain is any position along a warp yarn and crosswise grain is any position along a filling yarn. True bias is the diagonal of a square and garment bias is any position on the cloth between true bias and either lengthwise or crosswise grain. The diagram below shows why a garment bias edge will ravel more than any of the others.

Grain position of cut edges: (i) garment bias; (ii) true bias.

A selvage (selvedge) is the self-edge of a fabric formed by the filling yarn when it turns to go back across the fabric. The conventional loom makes the same kind of selvage on both sides of the fabric but the new shuttleless looms have different selvages because the filling yarn is cut and the cut ends are tucked back in by a special leno shedding mechanism. In some fabrics stronger yarns or a basket weave arrangement are used.

Definition of selvage.

Definition of fabric selvage or selvedges. In yard goods, the outer edges are constructed so they will not ravel. These finished edges are called the selvages (self-edges) and are often made with heavier and more closely spaced warp yarns than are used in the rest of the fabric by using more or stronger warp yarns or by using a stronger weave.

Plain selvages are similar to the rest of the fabric. They do not shrink and can be used for seam edges in garment construction. Tape selvages are made of larger and/or ply yarns to give strength. They are wider than the plain selvage and may be of basket weave for flatness. An example is the selvage on sheets. Split selvages are used when narrow items such as towels are made by weaving two or more side by side and cutting them apart after weaving. The cut edges are finished by a machine chain stitch or a hem. Fused selvages are the heat-sealed edges of ribbon or tricot yard goods made from wide fabric and cut into narrower widths.

Different types of selvages.

Differences in Woven Fabrics
Woven fabrics differ from one another in the pattern of interlacing – identified by weave names, such as plain, twill, satin – the thread count and balance. Specific woven fabrics within one weave group differ because of fiber content, yarn structure and fabric finish.

The basic twill pattern.

Thread or cloth count is the number of warp and filling per square inch of grey goods (fabric as it comes from the loom). This may be changed by shrinkage during dyeing and finishing. Thread count is written with the warp number first, for example, 80 x 76; or it may be written as the total of the two, as 156. (Thread count should not be confused with yarn count or number, which is a measure of yarn size).

Thread count.

Thread count is an indication of the quality of fabric – the higher the count, the better the quality for any one fabric – and can be used in judging ravelling, shrinkage and durability. The higher count also means less potential shrinkage and less ravelling of "seam" edges.

Quality is always reflected in price.

Thread count is sometimes printed on the selvage of percale and on labels of bed sheets. Mail order houses frequently give thread count since customers must judge the quality from printed information rather than from the fabric itself.

Advertising thread count.

A standard method of making a thread count may be found in the American Standards for Testing Materials (ASTM). The count is made with a thread counting instrument.

Thread count test machine.

It is possible to use a “hand” method by which the area is measured by a ruler and count by sight or yarns ravelled off and counted.

Percale fabrics have, in the past, had a standard thread count of 80 x 80 and were called 80-square fabrics. In general, a bed sheet with a higher thread count will be more durable and feel softer. A thread count of 200 is a good standard; a count of 300 will be noticeably softer.

A solid blush 300 thread count full (double bed) size sheet set - 100% Egyptian.

Balance is the ratio of warp yarns to filling yarns in a fabric. A well-balanced fabric has approximately one warp yarn to every filling yarn or a ratio of 1:1. Examples of typical unbalanced fabrics are cotton broadcloth with a thread count of 144 x 76 and a ratio of about 2:1 and nylon satin with a thread count of 210 x 80 and a ratio of about 3:1.

Cotton broadcloth (natural).

Balance is helpful in recognizing and naming fabrics and in distinguishing the warp direction of a fabric. Balance is not always related to quality. Balance plus thread count is helpful in predicting slippage. If the count is low, there seems to be more slippage in unbalanced fabrics than there is in balanced fabrics.

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