Saturday, December 9, 2017

Nordiska Museet (The Nordic Museum)
Resource Review

Marie-Therese Wisniowski

The Nordic Museum is a cultural icon in Sweden. In 1891 the foundation stones were laid for the Nordic Museum main building. Seventeen years later in June of 1907, the building was opened to the public.

The entrance to the Nordic Museum.

However the beginning of the institution was older that the building itself. It was founded in 1873 by Artur Hazelius (1833-1901) in premises at Drottninggatan 71 in central Stockholm. As the collection rapidly expanded, Hazelius started planning and constructing a suitable space.

Artur Hazelius by Johan Axel Wetterlund (1858-1927) - Nordiska Museet (Stockholm, Sweden).

Society was rapidly changing during the embryonic period of development of the museum. Sweden had witnessed the French Revolution and had experienced the transition from an agrarian society via the industrial revolution into a mechanical society. This prompted Hazelius to collect and preserve objects that could tell the story of life and work in pre-industrial Sweden.

Simple home-woven dress with silk threads from the beginning of the 1820s - part of the Museum's collection.

Swedish and Danish medieval and renaissance castles served as an inspiration for architect Isak Gustaf Clason. This inspiration is more evident as the steeples and gables slowly emerge from the morning mist giving the building a fairy castle feel.

As the Museum emerges from morning mist you feel you are flung into a Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale of sorts.

Many skilled workers and craftsman were involved in the construction of the building. Here a number of carpenters are photographed with hand- and frame-saws. Folding yardsticks - a Swedish invention from the 1880s - peep out from the aprons.

Carpenters who worked on the building.
Photograph courtesy of J. Grape.

Mortar carriers who worked on the building. They were often women and children who carried the mortar in buckets on top of their heads.
Photograph courtesy of N. Arkiv.

The entrance of the Museum is composed of solid oak gates. They are framed by pillars decorated with carved flowers, mountain ash and hazel branches on the bottom section. The female figure sits above the gate. She is a symbol for the museum, but perhaps also represents "Mother Svea". The small squirrels symbolise the Museum's employees, who just like squirrels are avid collectors.

The entrance into the Museum.

A wide array of richly detailed stonework can be found in the structure.

Some of the detailed stonework on the outside of the building.

The Hall for festivities and exhibitions is 24 meters from floor to the ceiling and is 126.5 meters from one side to the other. The hall was originally intended for banquets and is one of the largest chambers in Sweden.

The entrance hall.

In the middle of the hall a statue of King Gustav sits on his throne. This majestic statue is nearly six meters tall and was sculptured from carved oak by sculptor Carl Milles.

Statue of King Gustave.

The Nordic Museum is home to over one and a half million exhibits, including exclusive items and everyday objects, all with their own unique history. The collections, which are managed by the Nordic Museum foundation, reflect life in Sweden from the 16th century to the present day. The Nordic Museum archives contain documents from societies, companies and private individuals, as well as letters, diaries, memoirs and other accounts and anecdotes – covering more than 4,500 meters of shelf space in all.

The museum’s image collections comprise approximately six million photographs, while the library holds more than 250,000 books and journals, as well as brochures, maps and product catalogues. Only a fraction of the collections is displayed in the exhibitions, but many items can be accessed by other means. New media and expert staff are helping to open up the museum for the visitors of today. Four key areas feature prominently: clothing and fashion, home and living, customs and practices and the cultivation of natural resources.


There are far too many exhibits to give you a feel for what the Museum has to offer. However, below is just a teaser of an up and coming exhibition.

Teaser: New Exhibition about the 1950s - Women and Fashion

The caption reads: "Nylon stockings, corsets, slim waists and flippable skirts, but also elegant gloves, hat, big pearl earrings, jeans and checkered shirt. Autumn's new fashion show is a fusion in the feminine fifties fashion and an imaginative insight into the current social ideals."

The fashion show displays both complete outfits and a range of time-consuming accessories.

The model wears a dress with a skirt with one or more petticoats underneath. The white long gloves were a common accessory during the 1950s and matched the elegant evening dress.
The picture was taken for NK in Stockholm. The entire NK image archive is in the Nordic Museum collection.

If you opened a Swedish female wardrobe or draws in the 1950s you might find any of these items below.

Full body corset. Underwear was a very important fashion accessory in the 1950s. Underwear could shape your body so that you appeared to have a narrow waist, wide hips and crowded bust - which was all the rage in the 1950s.

The green evening dress was made by Märthaskolan women's clothing and was styled after the original dress from the fashion house "Madelaine De Rauch" in Paris. It belonged to Eva Bonnier. The dress shows that exclusive French fashion (haute couture) was spread to the Nordic countries via large department stores such as NK in Stockholm and Stockmann in Helsinki.

The skirt was bought at NK store and cost 100 Swedish Kroner. It is designed by Ebba von Eckermann.

The fabric - Pensé - was designed by Viola Gråsten at NK's textile chamber in the 1950s and fashioned into a blouse.

The apron above was an important home accessory. This apron was manufactured in Denmark in the 1950s.

These gold leather scandals were worn by Karin Fagergren to Stockholm Enskilda Bank's 100th anniversary in 1956.

Don Gout handbag in dark red plastic, imitation leather.

Accessories featured strongly in the 1950s and so it was common for items such as shoes and a handbag to be made to match each other.

These gloves in oak yellow and light green pale leather are made in France.

Hat in white stiff nylon tulle, with low hill and downward curve.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Flocked Pile Fabrics and Other Pile Construction Processes[1]
Art Resource

Marie-Therese Wisniowski

The Glossary of Fabrics, Fibers, Finishes, Garments and Yarns has been uploaded to Edition 4.5. There are significantly more definitions that it now contains - revisit it!

This is the seventy-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 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

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!

Today’s post concludes the series on pile fabrics - namely flocked pile fabrics and other pile construction processes.

Base fabric: Tetoron cotton fabric.
Flocking piles: 100% nylon 66.

Flocked Pile Fabrics: A Finish
Flock are very short fibers attached to the surface of the fabric by an adhesive to make a pile-like design or fabric.

In the 1920s white cotton and colored rayon flock dots were used on dress and curtain fabrics and some overall flocking was done on industrial fabrics.

Vintage bubble balloon dress in frothy tulle flocked with velvet polka dots. The sweetheart bodice is ruched and draped, and the skirt has a small crinoline.

A renewed interest in flocking began in the 1960s with the development of new adhesives, new improved substrates and the availability of new precision-cut fibers.

1960s shift dress or house dress. Chocolate brown with white-flocked polka dots.

In apparel, flock is used for velvet or suede-like fabrics as well as for pile designs on fabrics. In the automotive industry, there has been interest in flocked fabrics for floor coverings, head liners, trunk liners and weather stripping.

River Island black flock print velvet backless dress.

Flock may be made from any fiber. Rayon is the most widely used because it is cheap and easy to cut. Nylon, which has excellent abrasion resistance and durability, is tough and requires special cutting knives. Polyester, acrylic and olefin fibers are also used.

Polka dot fabric polyester flocking tulle for lady's shirt/dress fabric.

Fibers for flocking must be straight and therefore the length and denier are important. As the fiber length is increased, the denier also must be increased so that the fiber will stand up straight in the fabric. Fibers which are cut square at the ends will anchor more firmly in the adhesive.

Flock with square-cut ends is anchored on the wrong side.

The adhesive is a latex dissolved in a solvent that evaporates. The base fabric can be of any type. For overall flocking, woven fabrics present some problems because of surface irregularities and a heavy filler coating must be used. Some of the newer and cheaper base materials are nonwovens of various types – urethane and vinyl foams. Flock can also be applied to an adhesive film, which can be peeled off and laminated to a base fabric.

Peacock flocked adhesive film.

The two basic methods of applying flocking are mechanical and electrostatic.

Diagrams showing flocking process. Left: Mechanical flocking. Right: Electrostatic flocking.

Chart and comparison of the two flocking processes. Left Column: Mechanical flocking. Right Column: Electrostatic flocking.

In both processes, the flock is placed in an erect position and after flocking the fabric is sent to an oven for drying the adhesive. In the above chart a comparison of the two methods are given. Overall flocking or space flocking can be done by either method.

The potential for flocked fabrics is great. For example, it can be applied to a cloth to effectively clean greasy or oily surfaces. It can impart a pleasing flannel surface to a rubber bed sheet, make burlap with a hand like the most luxurious suede or transform a whole boat desk into one continuous, soft, cool, sure-footed carpet. Beauty and style can be imparted to foundation garments and at the same time engineer the adhesive and design areas to add control where desired etc.

Chenille-type yarns have been made by flocking. Fleece-type fabrics utilizing two pile heights for outer wear are possibilities.

Polyester faux flocking linen yarn/Chenille fabric.

Other Pile Construction Processes
Techniques involving new machines are being investigated in the USA as possibilities for making pile fabrics more economically than by traditional methods.

In England a Kraftamatic machine was invented some years ago which combines tufting and knitting. It is a sewing machine above the backing fabric and a knitting machine below it. The difference between this technique and tufting is that the loops are locked firmly in the backing. Loops can be produced on both sides of the fabric.

Kraftamatic machine makes loops on both sides.

It is being used to make terry cloth for towels. Other end uses are diapers, blankets and carpets. The Kraftamatic can produce fabrics ten times faster than a loom.

The Mali and Arachne machines (see future post) can produce pile fabrics through a nonwoven fiber web.

Loop pile produced on an Arachne machine.

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

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Dadaism of Hannah Höch - Part I
Works on Paper

Marie-Therese Wisniowski

Dadaism (Dada) is a post World War I style, stressing accidental images and events, the logic of the absurdity, irrationality in art, literature and morality - it is related to Surrealism (see Glossary of Art, Artists, Art Motifs and Art Movements).

Hannah Höch was a German Dada artist. She is best known for her work of the Weimar period, when she was one of the originators of photomontage and collage. The only woman amongst the Berlin Dadaists, her collages and photomontages at a very early stage established a large variety of works on paper that were consistent in style and concept. What is not appreciated is how these media informed and inspired her paintings.

Her father, Johanne Höch, was born on 1st November 1889, the eldest of five brothers and sisters in Gotha, Germany. He was a senior employee in an insurance company.

Hannah Höch (ca. 1905)[1].

She began her art's training in 1912 at the School of Applied Arts in Berlin Charlottenburg under Harold Bengen, who took the class on glass design.

Hannah Höch (on the left, number 15) with Bengen's class at Art School (1912)[1].

The outbreak of World War I collapsed Hannah's previously well-tempered image of the world and made her acutely aware of political events and trends. In Gotha she served for a short time with the Red Cross and other charitable organizations. After the war she returned to Berlin and continued studying at the State Museum of Applied Arts in Emil Orlik's drawing class. The Director of the School was the architect Bruno Paul, who also used to draw for the satirical periodical - Simplicissimus.

It was in 1915 when her friendship with Raoul Hausmann (1886 - 1971) began. He was a Viennese artist, who had been living in Berlin since 1901. They were both enthralled with almost everything that Herwarth Walden showed in his gallery - 'Der Sturm' (The Storm). Up to 1916 Hausmann was a figurative Expressionist. However, since 1915 both Hausmann and Höch had been creating abstract watercolours and drawings.

Raoul Hausmann (1915)[1].

In 1916 Hannah was learning woodcut at the Museum of Applied Arts under Oskar Bangemann and in this year she made her first abstract collage ('White Cloud') from the stencils that are used in woodcut. In 1917 the writer and psycho-analyst Richard Huelsenbeck (1892-1974) who had studied medicine in Paris and Berlin, arrived in Berlin January 1917 from Zurich. Huelsenbeck observed that Expressionism was beginning to be fashionable, since all its energies were directed to furthering the retreat and exhaustion of the German spirit.

On 23rd of February 1918 Huelsenbeck gave the first Dada speech in Germany in the New Secession Room, which art dealer J.B. Neumann (1187-1961) made available. Although Hannah Höch did not participate directly in many Dada activities since her personal relation to the Berlin Dadaist was limited by her interaction with Hausmann, nevertheless she was one of the main protagonists of Dada in Berlin; it was Hausmann and her who invented photomontage. She herself viewed it as the most original and important contributions of the Berlin Dadaists. She recalled, 'I knew the technique as a child. There were, for instance, joke postcards with funny situations created by sticking different bits of photographs together. Some showed a bride and bridegroom confronted with problems and joys of their future married life and so on...We regarded ourselves as engineers, we maintained that we were building things, we said we put the work together like fitters'.

In 1919 the first Berlin Dada exhibition was held in J.B. Neumann's "Graphisches Kabinett" (Graphical Cabinet). The group who exhibited were: Hausmann, Höch, Grosz, Baader, Walter Mehring, Golychev, Stuckenberg and Deetjen. In June of that year the first issue of the periodical 'Der Dada' edited by Hausmann and Baader appeared. The Dada movement was well underway.

Dadaism of Hannah Höch

Heads of State (1918-20)[1].
Size: 16.2 x 23.3 cm.

Money (ca. 1922)[1].
Size: 10 x 17.5 cm.

The Coquette 1 (1923-25)[1].
Size: 18.5 x 20.5 cm.

Half-Caste (1924)[1].
Size: 11 x 8.2 cm.

Balance (1925)[1].
Size: 30.5 x 20.3 cm.

Children (1925)[1].
Size: 19.5 x 13.3 cm.

Children (1925)[1].
Size: 19.5 x 13.3 cm.

Love (ca. 1926)[1].
Size: 13 x 27 cm.

English Dancer (1928)[1].
Size: 23.7 x 18 cm.

The Works (ca. 1930)[1].
Size: 25.2 x 35.5 cm.

[1] Götz Adriani, Hannah Höch, Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations, autors and VG Bild-Kunst (1985).