How to Join
the Fashion Spot / Visualizing Fashion / Art & Design
FAQ Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read Rules Links Mobile How to Join
Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
14-08-2007
  1
Press escape to continue.
 
SomethingElse's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Gender: femme
Posts: 5,517
Old World Craft & Techniques
To compliment the thread Gius created "from Thread to Fabric" about contemporary fabric design, I thought it would be interesting to talk about about traditional design methods from around the world for making thread, cloth, buttons and other materials from scratch. Here is a traditional fabric called Tava or Kava. You can read more about the process and see examples of the fabrics here.



Quote:
Kapa making is an art that once spanned the Pacific, but it reached perfection in Polynesia. The artistic beauty of the cloth made of pounded bark impressed Captain James Cook in 1778. "One would suppose," he wrote in his journal, "that they (Hawaiians) had borrowed their patterns from some mercer's shop in which the most elegant productions of China and Europe are collected, besides (having) some patterns of their own...The regularity of the figures and stripes is truly surprising."

In old Hawai'i, kapa was used in nearly every aspect of life. It swaddled newborns and was fashioned into malo for the men and pa'u skirts for women, as well as kihei (capes) worn by both. Several layers of kapa stitched together made kapa moe, sleeping blankets, while small plain strips might be wrapped around an individual's arms and legs for decoration, and orange strips of kapa were used to adorn the hair. Kapa played a part in religious practices, as well. Tall towers called 'anu'u, which stood atop heiau and were thought to house the gods when they communicated with the kahuna, were draped with sheets of white kapa. Idols were also decorated with kapa to show that the gods lived inside the wooden figures.

When Reverend William Ellis described women of Kailua-Kona making kapa, he wrote in his "Narrative of a Tour Through Hawai'i" published in 1826, "The fabrication of it shows both invention and industry; and whether we consider its different textures, its varied and regular patterns, its beautiful colours, so admirably preserved by means of the varnish, we are at once convinced that the people who manufacture it are neither deficient in taste, nor incapable of receiving the improvements of civilized society."

One of those "improvements of civilized society" was the introduction of woven cloth, which became so available that kapa-making disappeared within a century after Cook sailed through the islands. It wasn't until the 1970s, that a resurgence of interest and pride in the Hawaiian culture caused artisans like the Big Island's Kanae Keawe and Puanani Van Dorpe to research the old techniques and attempt to revive the art. Keawe says, "I was self-taught. There were no kupuna living who could tell us the correct way to make kapa, so I did a lot of research at Bishop Museum. I read Peter Buck's books and others on Hawaiian arts and crafts, studied Fijian kapa making at Polynesian Cultural Center. I'm a woodcarver originally, so I was able to recreate the tools."

It quickly became apparent to Keawe and Van Dorpe that the process of making kapa is long and arduous. In old Hawai'i, Reverend Ellis described the cultivation of wauti (mulberry) trees neatly planted two feet apart and allowed to grow perhaps two years before the sticks were harvested for their bark. Mamaki and other types of bark were used as well, but wauti was most popular.

Ellis wrote about the process, "...we perceived Keoua, the governor's wife, and her female attendants with about forty other women, under the pleasant shade of a beautiful clump of cordia or kou trees, employed in stripping the bark from bundles of wauti sticks, for the purpose of making cloth with it. The sticks were generally from six to ten feet long, and about an inch in diameter at the thickest end. They first cut the bark the whole length of the stick with a sharp serrated shell, and having carefully peeled it off, rolled it into small coils, the inner bark being outside. In this state it is left some time, to make it flat and smooth." After several days, the strips of bark were unrolled, laid flat, and the outer bark was scraped off with a large shell. The remaining inner bark was rolled up again and soaked in sea water for a week to soften it and remove any resin. In the first of two beating stages, the softened strips were laid across a stone anvil and beaten with a round beater (hohoa) turning them into long thin strips called mo'omo'o. Next came bleaching in the sun and another soaking to soften the mo'omo'o for the second stage of beating on a wooden anvil (kua kuku) with a square beater (ie kuku). The thin mo'omo'o were overlapped and beaten together to obtain the size desired without any visible seams.

Kapa beaters were four-sided affairs, with the coarsest grooves on one side used first in breaking down the bast, or wet bark. The beating continued using two sides with finer grooves, until finally, finishing touches were accomplished with the remaining smooth side of the beater. Before the kapa was laid out to dry in the sun, a kapa maker might emboss her bark cloth with her own special design which would show through on the finished product much like a watermark on fine paper.

Nineteenth-century historian Samuel Kamakau estimated a woman could make one or two lengths of kapa a day, which was bleached in the sun, then exposed to the night dew and bleached repeatedly to give the cloth a sheen that was reasonably moisture resistant.

Fine kapa was dyed with a variety of patterns according to the maker's whim and creative talent. Ellis described a pa'u cloth as: "generally four yards long and about a yard wide, very thick, beautifully painted with brilliant red, yellow, black colours, and covered over with a fine gum and resinous varnish, which not only preserves the colours, but renders the cloth impervious and durable."

Red dyes were made from the bark of the noni and kolea trees and the leaves of kou and amaumau. Yellow came from the roots of the olena and noni and the bark and roots of holei. Berries-akala (a variety of raspberry) and ukiuki-yielded pink and pale blue. Lavender and purple were obtained from sea urchin ink, while green came from the leaves of mao. Red and yellow ochers from minerals pulverized with a mortar and pestle were mixed with kukui oil for another lasting dye.

Sometimes kapa was scented with coconut oil cooked with stems and leaves of fragrant laua'e fern, or simply transferred to the cloth by placing aromatic maile vine or sandalwood bark between the sheets.

In addition to painting kapa freehand with a hala brush dipped in dye, the artisans, reported Ellis, "cut the pattern they intend to stamp on their cloth on the inner side of a narrow piece of bamboo, spread their cloth before them on a board, and having their colours properly mixed in a calabash by their side, dip the point of the bamboo, which they hold in their right hand, into the paint and strike it against the edge of the calabash, place it on the right or left side of the cloth, and press it down with the fingers of the left hand. The pattern is continued until the cloth is marked quite across, when it is moved on the board, and the same repeated till it is finished." The finished product was so treasured it might be given as a gift to an ali'i or saved for a bride's dowry.

By the mid 1970s, Kanae Keawe had learned enough to pass the techniques of kapa making on through demonstrations and workshops sponsored by the Honolulu Academy of Arts, Temari Center for Asian and Pacific Arts, and various Hawaiian civic clubs. Students of his, like Happy Tamanaha, a Honolulu art teacher, have passed the knowledge to others. However, Keawe estimates it might take 500 hours to produce a piece of kapa large enough to cover a bed; the cost of such a piece would be prohibitive.

Another skilled kapa artisan now living on the Big Island, Puanani Van Dorpe has made wall hangings for the Sheraton Maui Hotel (which was remodeled last year), as well as a 16-foot pa'u that is displayed at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Tapa Tower on O'ahu. More than 20 years ago, Van Dorpe grew familiar with Fijian kapa when she lived in Fiji for a time. Back in Hawai'i, while volunteering at the Bishop Museum, she was astounded to see how much finer the tissue-thin Hawaiian kapa was. "The Fijians just beat their bark for two days and they have a sheet of kapa; there's no fermentation period," she explains. She acquired a collection of 18th and 19th-Century museum-quality kapa which she inspected through a microscope, then worked to duplicate the exact fiber patterns in her 20th-Century recreations. "I realized I had to have help," says Van Dorpe, "so I began to rely on my 'aumakuas. Two sisters are the goddesses of kapa-Lauhuki and La'ahana. One is for beating, the other for the decorating process." Van Dorpe has also passed on her knowledge on to her daughter, as well as through workshops with Keawe at Temari Center.

Besides Van Dorpe's modern pieces at the Sheraton Maui, which symbolically represent events in Maui history on 3-foot by 7-foot panels, beautiful kapa pieces can be viewed at Four Seasons Resort Hawai'i at Hualalai on the Big Island. Displayed near the ballroom are two kapa moe that measure 6 1/2 by 7 1/2 feet, originally used as bedding about 1850, while a very rare kapa robe was worn by an early missionary in 1823. The tools-seashells for scraping bark, an anvil, kapa beaters, bamboo dyeing sticks, and 'alaea (red earth for dyeing) to create kapa can be viewed in the resort's Cultural Learning Center. Other items are on display in the Lyman Mission House and Museum in Hilo. Bishop Museum and a few British museums have the finest samples. Today, kapa, which was used to swaddle the ali'i of old at birth, as well as to wrap them for their journey after death, is a rare and treasured artifact, but it is no longer a lost art.
ladybugadventures.com . coffeetimes.com

__________________
“Above all, remember that the most important thing you can take anywhere is not a Gucci bag or French-cut jeans; it's an open mind” Gail Rubin Bereny

Last edited by SomethingElse; 14-08-2007 at 06:04 PM.
  Reply With Quote
 
14-08-2007
  2
Press escape to continue.
 
SomethingElse's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Gender: femme
Posts: 5,517


Quote:
Prestige and sacred protection, From Hawaii, Polynesia - Possibly 18th century AD

The most common colour scheme for Hawaiian ceremonial feather cloaks uses a red background with yellow geometrical motifs and lower border, as shown here. The red feathers are of the 'i'iwi bird (Vestiaria coccinea) and the yellow ones of the 'o'o (Moho nobilis). Such a large cloak would have belonged to a man of high rank. Yellow feathers were scarcer than red ones, so the most valuable garments were predominantly yellow. It has been estimated that the largest cloaks would be covered with nearly half a million small feathers. Cloaks were valued items, passed down the generations as heirlooms.

The Hawaiian specialist Adrienne Kaeppler has identified this cloak as one collected on Captain Cook's third voyage (1776-80), based on its style and on circumstantial evidence. It has the characteristic straight neckline and shaped lower edge, common to those associated with the period before European contact. Kaeppler believes that this cloak, and another in The British Museum's collection (HAW 134) were gifts from Hawaiian chiefs to Captain Charles Clerke, Cook's second-in-command. Kahekili, chief of Maui, presented this cloak to Clerke in 1778.

The cloak is typically composed of pieces of olona (Touchardia latifolia) fibre netting sewn together to form the desired shape. The manufacture of these prestigious feathered items was a highly skilled and time-consuming craft, restricted to men of high status, who observed religious practices as they worked. Each piece of netting was made separately, accompanied by the recitation of protective prayers. Such a cloak provided its important wearer with sacred protection when worn in dangerous situations.
thebritishmuseum.ac.uk

__________________
“Above all, remember that the most important thing you can take anywhere is not a Gucci bag or French-cut jeans; it's an open mind” Gail Rubin Bereny
  Reply With Quote
14-08-2007
  3
Press escape to continue.
 
SomethingElse's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Gender: femme
Posts: 5,517


Quote:
Feather cape from South Africa? North America? Europe?, probably 19th century AD

This feather cape illustrates the difficulties in accurate identification of objects in museums. In the early twentieth century, museum curators possessed varying degrees of knowledge, expertise and professional experience which sometimes led to guesswork when cataloguing unfamiliar objects. Records from this period are sometimes limited, incomplete or inaccurate. This feather cape has taxed the minds of anthropologists and curators and still remains a mystery.

There are a number of different opinions. One view is that the cape is from the Great Lakes region of Canada and made by North American Indians based on detailed information attributing it to the daughter of a Mesquakie chief in 1839. However, no other cape has been found in collections of Mesquakie material. Small turkey feather capes and feather yokes were worn by Indians on the eastern coast but were not like this example.

Research has uncovered about twelve similar capes in various collections and analyses have been made on the materials, construction, design motifs and types of feathers. The various museum records give them various provenances, including: the Chinese in South Africa, Hawaii, India, English and American Indian.

The reference to the Chinese in South Africa came from H.A Joyce, a British Museum curator, who made this suggestion without any supporting evidence. Further research confirms that a few Chinese labourers arrived in South Africa in 1815 and other came after 1890, making their dates too early or too late to have made feather capes.

The most positive identification has come from a curator of costume who noted the cape as a 'pelerine', a feather cape stitched to a canvas base worn by women. It is suggested that the American Indians made these capes in the Northeast states, possibly by the Iroquois who were making tourist items between 1830 to 1860. The techniques of manufacture diffused via the Great Lakes as far west as Iowa. However, even today it still remains a mystery. It may not be ethnographic at all, but simply a European fashion item.
thebritishmuseum.ac.uk

__________________
“Above all, remember that the most important thing you can take anywhere is not a Gucci bag or French-cut jeans; it's an open mind” Gail Rubin Bereny
  Reply With Quote
19-08-2007
  4
V.I.P.
 
gius's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Gender: homme
Posts: 10,162
Thanks so much for sharing this info, SomethingElse
Finally took some time to read...
Hmm it seems it is not making thread after all
It's about cutting bark into strips but further breaking them down till the fibers can blend together and can form a whole fabric... that's so interesting; and it's so much like paper-making (even more, felt making I think)

I wonder if it is even as soft as fabric, like it seems in the photos.
I should have expected the work would be as hard as this I'm starting to remember now, seeing a senior colleague last year working with kozo (mulberry tree). She sped up the 'break down' process by cooking the bark in some kind of corrosive chemical like caustic soda... It's also a Japanese technique I guess; and it produces a very strong paper but can be thin, light and translucent
Her piece looked quite like raw silk

Anyway I loved the parts about bleaching in the sun :p
I have been looking for a way to make fabric shiny. I should try this! I was even considering applying polyurethane (varnish?) or any other synthetic varnish I can buy to the surface but I read on wikipedia it can be carcinogenic and who knows if it's breathable enough to wear...

And also this part:
a fine gum and resinous varnish, which not only preserves the colours, but renders the cloth impervious and durable.
I have to find out what this is...

__________________

  Reply With Quote
19-08-2007
  5
V.I.P.
 
gius's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Gender: homme
Posts: 10,162
Making of Kumejima Pongee (Japan)

This website has Quicktime videos featuring the process in making this fabric
http://www.kougei.or.jp/english/craf...3/d0123-4.html

Some of the processes used:
  • spinning silk from cocoons
  • ikat (resist-dyeing of warp threads for weaving.. creates surface decor)
  • mud-dyeing
  • beating (to bring out lustre of finished fabric)
Quote:
Background
Originating in India, this method of weaving was introduced into Japan around the 14th century along eastern trade routes. It is also said that Kumejima pongee started when someone taught the islanders how to weave after studying sericulture techniques in China. Kumejima is therefore considered to be the birthplace of Japanese pongee. From the beginning of the Edo period (1600-1868) until the second half of the Meiji era (1868-1912), pongee was collected in lieu of taxes.

kougei.or.jp

__________________

  Reply With Quote
19-08-2007
  6
V.I.P.
 
gius's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Gender: homme
Posts: 10,162
Another page on mud dyeing...

The Process of Amami-Ohshima Tsumugi

http://www.csuchico.edu/~mtoku/vc/Exhibitions/ohshima/process.html



Some samples of fabrics


Kusaki-dorozome Ohshima: developed from traditional natural dyes of plants other than Teichigi (a kind of cherry blossom tree) and Ai (Japanese indigo) and redyed by Teichigi and Doro (mud).


Doro-ohshima: the traditional process of dyeing by Teichigi (Sharinbai) and doro (mud). The characteristics of this dorozome are a shiny texture with a deep black and brown color.

csuchico.edu

__________________


Last edited by gius; 19-08-2007 at 01:04 AM.
  Reply With Quote
19-08-2007
  7
V.I.P.
 
gius's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Gender: homme
Posts: 10,162
Found some info on thread making :p

Paper Yarnfrom Japan

Quote:
Shifu (Clothing Woven With Washi yarns)

Washi paper is cut into long, narrow ribbon-like strips which are twisted on a spinning wheel, then woven like silk or cotton, traditionally on a handloom. For the warp and the weft of this paper fabric, there are cases in which silk or cotton is used for the warp but when woven there is little difference from ordinary cloth.

Properties
Paper fabric has the drawback of tearing when it becomes wet in the rain but paper fabric can be laundered. Its tradition still remains, although on a limited scale now, as high-class clothing.

Paper yarns give a fabric a very nice dry and crispy hand
swicofil

Some fabric samples...



Japanese robe made from paper yarn



Shiroishi Shifu
  • 1. Produced in Shiroishi City, Miyagi Prefecture.
  • 2.Characteristics: Woven on a loom with silk warp and weft of paper threads produced by twisting cut up handmade paper. Well ventilated, light and soft, and durable.
  • 3. Uses: Once widely used for summer cloth. Today, for pouches and small items.
  • 4. History: Good quality paper was produced in this district in the Edo Period. The cloths were first made as a side business by the warrior class. The quality was improved and demand increased since the fabric became one of the items used as gifts to the Shogun. With the end of the feudal system at the Meiji Restoration (1868) the production came to an end. A Chutaro Sato revived the production and the fabric became a useful substitute to meet the lack of textile in the years of WWII.

kimono.or.jp

__________________

  Reply With Quote
19-08-2007
  8
V.I.P.
 
gius's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Gender: homme
Posts: 10,162
Paper thread continued...
Some more info on the paper yarn/thread
Click links under articles for more info

Quote:
Background information

paper yarn fibers

Washi is the Japanese word for the traditional papers made from the long inner fibres of three plants, wa meaning Japanese and shi meaning paper. As Japan rushes with the rest of the world into the 21st Century, and more modern technologies take over, machines produce similar-looking papers which have qualities very different from authentic washi. As of the fall of 1994, there still remain roughly 350 families still engaged in the production of paper by hand.

History
Though paper was originally made in China in the first century, the art was brought to Japan in 610 AD by Buddhist monks who produced it for writing sutras. By the year 800, Japan's skill in papermaking was unrivalled, and from these ancient beginnings have come papers unbelievable in their range of colour, texture and design. It was not until the 13th century that knowledge of papermaking reached Europe -- 600 years after the Japanese had begun to produce it. By the late 1800's, there were in Japan more than 100,000 families making paper by hand. Then with the introduction from Europe of mechanized papermaking technology and as things "Western" became sought after including curtains and French printmaking papers, production declined.

RAW MATERIALS
The inner barks of three plants, all native to Japan, are used primarily in the making of washi:

* Kozo (paper mulberry) is said to be the masculine element, the protector, thick and strong. It is the most widely used fibre, and it is the strongest. It is grown as a farm crop, and regenerates annually, so no forests are depleted in the process.
* Mitsumata is the "feminine element": graceful, delicate, soft and modest. Mitsumata takes longer to grow and is thus a more expensive paper. It is indigenous to Japan and is also grown as a crop.
* Gampi was the earliest and is considered to be the most noble fiber, noted for its richness, dignity and longevity. It has an exquisite natural sheen, and is often made into very thin tissues used in book conservation and chine colle printmaking. Gampi has a natural 'sized' finish which does not bleed when written or painted on.


METHODS OF PRODUCTION
Branches of the (kozo, gampi or mitsumata) bush are trimmed, soaked, the bark removed, and the tough pliant inner bark laboriously separated, cleaned, then pounded and stretched. The addition of the pounded fibre to a liquid solution, combined with tororo-aoi (fermented hibiscus root) as a mucilage, produces a paste-like substance when it is mixed.

It is this "paste" which is tossed until evenly spread on a bamboo mesh screen to form each sheet of paper. The sheets are piled up wet, and later laid out to dry on wood in the sun or indoors on a heated dryer.



Winter Activity
Papermaking in Japan was a winter activity. It was slack-season work for farmers, and this allowed it to be made wherever there was a good and abundant supply of soft, running water and where the bast fiber plants could grow--a perfect industry for a mountainous country with heavy rainfall and short, swift rivers.
swicofil

__________________

  Reply With Quote
19-08-2007
  9
V.I.P.
 
gius's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Gender: homme
Posts: 10,162
About the development and revival of use of paper in textiles...

paper fabrics produced by Nuno Corporation

left: Combed Paper (sukigami)
right: Patched Paper (yaburegami)
Quote:
Traditional Materials Find New Application in Clothing
The fashion world is constantly seeking and latching onto new materials. The folk fashion craze spurred demand for natural, handmade-looking textiles that exude warmth, while synthetic fabrics with a sleek look have also recently been popular. One of the hot items is fabrics made from traditional Japanese materials, such as bamboo and washi (handmade Japanese paper).

A spotlight grabber in Tokyo presented a series of coats and pants made of fabric containing bamboo fibers. Paper clothing is also coming out. Apparel makers began offering summer sweaters knitted from fibers made of washi, and they plan to expand their lineups of washi clothing for heavier fall fashions too. Jackets, sweaters, and pants for men are also available. The 100% washi fabric is light and breathable and feels a lot like linen. This fabric also absorbs dust and odors, as evidenced by the fact that it is used as filters in air-purifying devices.

Washi and bamboo are not the only traditional materials being used in clothing. Jackets and pants made of a new materials like polyester charcoal have also come up. The charcoal is pulverized, then mixed into a polyester solution to produce an exceptionally resilient, lustrous fabric that also reportedly has deodorizing properties.

The Road to Paper Clothes
Research toward creating paper clothing has been under way in Japan for a long time now, though it has never before reached the practical application stage. In February 2000, 10 artisans and designers who belong to a washi research group held an exhibition exploring the possibilities of washi at a gallery in Kagoshima Prefecture. The articles on display included clothing, such as jackets colored with dyes made from paper mulberry (one of the raw materials commonly used to make washi). The clothing, which appears stiff but feels soft and warm, got high marks. In March 1999 a fashion show featuring clothing made of washi was held in Kochi Prefecture. Washi jeans were among the articles that appeared in the show, which was titled "The Body of Washi." One would never know, just by looking at these clothes, that they are made of paper.

The merits of paper for use in textile fibers are their breatheability (ideal for humid summers), the ease of processing them into fabric, their high functionality, and their beauty. The fashion world's fascination with all things Oriental and Japanese continues unabated, and washi product are attracting the interest of a growing number of designers. More and more of this material is expected to find its way onto store shelves as time goes by.
swicofil

__________________

  Reply With Quote
19-08-2007
  10
V.I.P.
 
gius's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Gender: homme
Posts: 10,162
So... my comment for these articles is, with them being used as fabric for clothing, I wonder if they are using some way of making it impervious to water? Such as that 'fine gum and resinous varnish' written about in the article for kapa
I think they have to consider this, since it would be too easy to stain your paper clothing with tea or coffee or anything else and not be able to wash it out

I think the fact that the paper's made into yarn contributes to how strong it is as a fabric (as opposed to the paper dresses made in the 1960's which is just a sheet of paper). I've had the chance to use very thick paper yarn at school, and only recently I realised it was paper... it was so hard and strong that I wasn't even able to rip it with my hands. I had to use scissors to cut it

__________________

  Reply With Quote
19-08-2007
  11
Press escape to continue.
 
SomethingElse's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Gender: femme
Posts: 5,517
Felt making in Mongolia
Wonderful additions, Gius! This is a video on making felt in Mongolia. The second video is about a Mongolian yurt, which are mostly made of felt!

[youtube]gJ0uojUHYdA[/youtube]

[youtube]FnBb9pUf37k[/youtube]

__________________
“Above all, remember that the most important thing you can take anywhere is not a Gucci bag or French-cut jeans; it's an open mind” Gail Rubin Bereny

Last edited by gius; 21-08-2007 at 04:36 PM.
  Reply With Quote
19-08-2007
  12
Press escape to continue.
 
SomethingElse's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Gender: femme
Posts: 5,517
Quote:
In the High Andean weavers Village of Quenqo, located 45 km outside of Cusco Peru at 4000m ASL. The spinning of threads, is incorporated into all daily activities of the Andean women. The traditional Andean spinning top hand spindle called a Puscha is used to make threads from the raw wool. The threads are dyed and get a second spinning using two threads intertwined to complete the final working thread. Music: Pueblo Andino, singing Mujer Hielandera (thread maker women).
[YOUTUBE]Mp78jcvJizA[/YOUTUBE]

__________________
“Above all, remember that the most important thing you can take anywhere is not a Gucci bag or French-cut jeans; it's an open mind” Gail Rubin Bereny
  Reply With Quote
19-08-2007
  13
Press escape to continue.
 
SomethingElse's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Gender: femme
Posts: 5,517
Flax processing for linen and linseed oil.

Quote:
Each farmer dedicated approximately two acres of land to the cultivation of flax, a slender, grass-like, annual plant with narrow leaves that blooms with small light blue flowers in early summer. Flax was planted in the early spring, and ranges in height between eighteen to thirty inches. When the seed pods replaced the flowers the flax was ready to be harvested.

Flax is harvested by pulling the plant from the ground rather then cutting. One of the advantages of linen is its durability and this durability is derived from the length of the flax fibers. Therefore, you pull rather than cut the plant. (Note: Today’s linen is not as strong because the fibers must be cut so that our modern machinery can process linen.}

After harvesting, the seed pods are removed using a flax flail. A flail was a heavy wooden beam, about four inches square and two feet long, with a crooked handle along one side. Flax was spread on the barn floor and the farmer would pound on the flax, separating the seeds from the stalk.

A portion of the collected seed was saved for next year’s crop with the remainder taken to the oil mill to make linseed oil. (Linseed oil was a component of the ink made for printing presses, lamp fuel, and in cattle feed.)

The fibers that are used to produce linen are found on the inside of the flax stalk. To separate the fibers from the stalk the flax must be retted, a process where the flax is wet, thus dissolving the natural glue which binds the flax fibers to the stalk. This could be done by laying the flax on the grass to absorb the dew, or by placing it in a stream or pond. The flax was then gathered and placed in the barn until further processing could be completed.

The next step was to rid oneself of the outer stalk entirely and separate the fibers for spinning. First the stalks were placed, one handful at a time, into a flax break, a wooden device for crushing the outside stalk.

Second, the flax was held against a vertical board and beaten with a wooden scutching knife to further reduce the outer stalk. Lastly, the flax was thrown, again, one handful at a time, through a series of smaller heckles (hackle). A heckle is a wooden board with a series of iron spikes which act as a comb to smooth the fibers. The coarser fibers which remain in the heckle were called tow. This tow was spun to produce course cloth for feed bags, and other coarsely made items. Prior to spinning, the flax was twisted into bundles called a strick.

Spinning was normally a winter chore performed by the women and girls of the household. When the spinning was completed the thread was then sent to the weaver to produce the linen cloth. The weaver, most often a man, would quite likely keep a portion of the cloth as payment for his services. Very few 18th century households had their own full-sized loom. These were very large and expensive pieces of equipment for the most part owned and operated by those who were weavers by trade. It should be noted that some households had small looms on which a small quantity of narrow cloth could be produced.

Total production time, from seed to clothes, could take a year to a year and a half. Thus, linen clothing was patched and reused by younger members of the family until it was no longer of any use. Even then, the life of the linen was not yet over; linen rags were collected by paper mills and converted to paper. Perhaps the ending lines of a 1696 poem by Judge Holmes published in 1847 by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania say it best, "Kind friend, when thy old shift is rent/Let it to th’ paper mill be sent."
Quote:
An Interpreter at the 1710's German Palatinate Farm at the Frontier Culture Museum demonstrates how to obtain flax fibers from the flax plant.
[YOUTUBE]FzTMH5NdwWY[/YOUTUBE]

__________________
“Above all, remember that the most important thing you can take anywhere is not a Gucci bag or French-cut jeans; it's an open mind” Gail Rubin Bereny

Last edited by SomethingElse; 19-08-2007 at 03:18 PM.
  Reply With Quote
19-08-2007
  14
Press escape to continue.
 
SomethingElse's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Gender: femme
Posts: 5,517
^"kasuri designs" made me curious. It is a technique used on banana fiber cloth.

Quote:
It seems that banana fiber cloth was already being made around the 13th century but it was much later that it became popular. In the old days banana trees were planted in gardens and fields, and the womenfolk of a family wove it into fabric for home use. Silk and cotton became much more readily available during the 19th century but people still enjoyed wearing banana fiber cloth. Kijoka Banana Fiber Cloth, which carries on these traditions, was designated as a cultural property by the Prefecture in 1972 and two years later in 1974 it was made an important intangible cultural property by the nation.

Woven from fibers taken from the banana tree, banana fiber cloth is highly representative of the weaving of Okinawa. It was very popular for making a piece of summer-weight formal dress called kamishimo in the Edo period (1600-1868) and being light and comfortable to wear, it is still a great favorite with many people today for kimono in the height of summer. But kimono are not its only use. Some is made into obi, while other pieces make fine cushion covers. Ties, bags and table centers are also made of this engaging cloth, which also makes fine split curtains or noren. There are 52 people employed by the 27 firms producing one of Okinawa's finest cloths.

Kijoka Banana Fiber Cloth

The making of one of these banana fiber cloths is long and involved, and much needs to be done before weaving can actually take place. The whole process begins with the cultivation of the banana plant from which the fiber is obtained by cutting stems and processing them. The fiber is then dyed and is finally ready for weaving.


Stage One

Cultivation: Leafs are cut and shoots taken out of the banana plant two or three times a year to make sure the fiber is soft. Mature stems are cut and the skin is peeled off. The outer fiber is coarse and is used for tablecloths. The next layer of fiber is used for obi and ties. The next layer of fiber is called the nahaguu and is used for kimono.

Stage Two

Cooking the Fiber: A rope is laid in the bottom of a big pot of boiling lye--an alkali solution. The separated fiber is bundled and put in the solution and cooked for several hours with the lid on. The alkalinity of the lye is critical. After boiling, the fiber is washed to remove the alkali.

Stage Three

Rolling up: Next the fiber must be paired from the skin. First the skin is separated lengthwise into two or three flat strips and separated with a bamboo tool. The soft fiber is used for the weft and the hard or colored fiber is used for the warp. Having dried the fiber in the shade it is rolled up.

Stage Four

Yarn: A thread is now 'spun' from the fiber. First, the fiber is put in water and lightly squeezed. Next, it is separated by running the nails or tips of the fingers along between the fibers from the root upwards. The thickness of the thread depends on what is going to be woven. If it is for a kimono cloth then it is made very fine. The individual fibers are joined together to make a continuous thread, which is drawn to stop it separating. The ends of the thread where joined are cut short. This work is very time consuming and requires much patience.

Stage Five

Twisting: In order to make the warp and weft ikat or kasuri threads more robust and to prevent napping, they are twisted up on a spinning wheel, while being moistened with a spray. If the twist is too loose the thread will nap and make weaving difficult. If, on the other hand, the thread is twisted too tightly it becomes difficult to beat and much more difficult to match up the kasuri pattern. The required length of thread for the warp is also measured.

Stage Six

Binding: Thread is stretched out and using a template those parts of the thread that do not need to be dyed are bound with the skin of the banana plant, and once again bound tightly with a cord. It is a job requiring a great deal of experience because if the binding is too tight the thread will break and if it is too loose the dye will seep under the binding.

Stage Seven

Dyeing: The two main dyes used are sharinbai( Rhaphiolepis umbellata) and Ryukyu indigo. To extract a dye from sharinbai thick branches and twigs are cut up small and put into a large pot of water and boiled. The kasuri threads are immersed in this dye and then partially dried. The thread is sometimes steamed and the dyeing process is repeated until achieving the required color. The thread is usually dipped a minimum of 30 times.

Stage Eight

Setting Up: After removing the binding, the thread is laid out following the design and passed through a temporary reed. The warp is then carefully wound onto the beam and passed through the reed and heddle.

Stage Nine

Weaving: Water is sprayed on the thread as it is being woven because if it becomes dry the thread will break. It is best, therefore, to weave this cloth during the rainy season in May and June.

Stage Ten

Washing: When a bolt of cloth has been woven it is washed. Then it is put in an alkali solution and boiled. Afterward it is washed and dried. It is then neutralized by immersing it in a rice vinegar made from fermenting a rice gruel and rice flour. After two hours the cloth is removed, washed and partially dried. The cloth is then stretched and straightened by hand and finally ironed.
Click source kougei.or.jp to see picture.

__________________
“Above all, remember that the most important thing you can take anywhere is not a Gucci bag or French-cut jeans; it's an open mind” Gail Rubin Bereny

Last edited by SomethingElse; 19-08-2007 at 06:49 PM.
  Reply With Quote
19-08-2007
  15
V.I.P.
 
kissmesweet's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Hong Kong/UK
Gender: femme
Posts: 18,938
I love Aboriginal textile designs, like these! :





[patches.au]

__________________
don't you forget about me.
  Reply With Quote
Reply
Previous Thread | Next Thread »

Tags
craft, techniques, world
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

monitoring_string = "058526dd2635cb6818386bfd373b82a4"


 
All times are GMT -5. The time now is 02:57 AM.
Powered by vBulletin®
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
TheFashionSpot.com is a property of TotallyHer Media, LLC, an Evolve Media LLC company. ©2014 All rights reserved.