Saturday, October 14, 2017

Clothes of the Sami[1]
Art Essay

Marie-Therese Wisniowski

Sápmi is the name of the Sami's traditional lands, but it also denotes the Sami community and the people. The Sami live in what is commonly known as the Lapland region of Scandinavia. Note: Western historical records are poor and so whether the South of Sweden, Norway, Finland and Russia was previously occupied by Sami is still an open question.

The population of Sami is over 80,000 of whom 20,000 live in Sweden. There are nine different languages that span the North Sami, Lule Sami and South Sami in Sweden, with several of them so different that speakers cannot converse with one another. All are on the UN list of endangered languages.

Map of Samic language areas.

The Sami flag is common to all Sami. It was designed by Astrid Båhl from Skiboth in Troms, Norway and was adopted by the Sami in 1986.

The circle in the flag is a symbol of the sun (red) and the moon (blue). The colors come from tradition Sami dress (see below).

A Sami woman wearing a replica of traditional Kola Peninsula Sami dress.

The National anthem of the Sámi is - Sámi saga lávlla ("Song of the Sami People") with words penned by Isak Saba and music composed by Arne Sørlie, both are Norwegian.

The Sami's political status varies between the four countries over which their community spans (i.e. Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia). In Sweden the Sami are acknowledged as an indigenous people and a national minority.

Around the turn of the last century, many politicians, the Church of Sweden and scholars saw no future for the Sami as a people and decided that reindeer herding was a doomed livelihood and so wanted to wash away their culture into a European framework.

Per Henning Nutti packing a castrated male reindeer (Lapland, 1950).

At the same time, racial biology classified the Sami as an inferior race and this classification was used as justification for keeping Sami outside of the industrial society and so discarded them from preparatory work needed in order to enter a modern European state.

Professor Gustaf Retzius (a racial biologist) and the Sami Fjällstedt from Härjedalen (probably 1905).

In so many ways the Sami society was well advanced from the emerging European state.The print below taken from - Olaus Magnus: History de gentiles septentrionalibus in 1555 shows a Sami women - with flying hair - shooting arrows during a hunt with the same skill as the men. Obtaining food in Europe was divided into hunters (men) and gatherers (women),whereas among the Sami there were no such divisions.

Women and men were hunters in the Sami society.

While the Sami were slowly being extinguished by stealth, from the sixteen century onwards there was a growing interests in these people, who were then given the name Lapps. Grand ethnographical work such as Johannes Schefferus' book "Lapponia" was written in Latin in 1673. Not surprisingly it did not appear in Swedish until 1956.

Even today many Sami feel that they encounter discrimination and prejudice on a daily basis. In 1999 a man in Stockholm was reported to the police for incitement to murder or agitation against an ethnic group, since he had a car bumper sticker that declared: "Save a wolf - shoot a Sami". Needless to say no charges were laid against this act of folly.

This post hopes to showcase the clothing on the Sami - some traditional and others influenced by European life.

Jokkmokk Sami market in the first half of the twentieth century.

Clothes of the Sami[1]
Below are some traditional and non traditional clothes worn by the indigenous people of the Sápmi - the Sami. Unless otherwise specified, all photographs and information were obtained from reference [1].

The picture is of Lis-Mari Hjortfors' grandmother Inga, her grandmother's brothers and sisters and their mother. "Were they forced to pose for this photo," Lis-Mari ponders,'in order to document their racial features?"

Man from Kaalasvuoma, Kiruna, Lapland. His racial features are documented next to the photograph.

Inga Pirtsi using a sewing machine in her hut.
Jokkmokk, Lapland, first half of the twentieth century.

Man's cap from Karesuando, Lapland (1918).

Woman's cap from Karesuando, Lapland (1918).

Sami man - winter outfit.
Photograph Courtesy of Borg Mensch (1919).

Sami woman.
Photograph Courtesy of Borg Mensch (1919).

Children in school hut.
Jukkasjärvi, Lapland (1939).

A pewter embroidered belt (1872).

A man in a summer kolt.
Karesuando, Lapland (1918).

A Silver Collar.
Photograph courtesy of Mats Landin.

Confirmation celebration in Vilhelmina, Lapland (July, 2001).

[1] E. E. Silvén, M. Landin and C. Westergren, Nordiska Museet (2007). Catalogue for the exhibition "Sápmi".

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Chenille Yarn and Tufted Pile Fabrics[1]
Art Resource

Marie-Therese Wisniowski

This is the sixty-nineth 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

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 continues to explore pile fabrics namely chenille yarn pile fabric (woven) and tufted pile fabrics.

Chenille yarn scarf.

Chenille Yarn Pile Fabrics (Woven)
Chenille yarn is made by cutting a specially woven ladder-like fabric into warp-wise strips.

Fabric from which chenille yarn is made.

(1) Chenille yarns are made by cutting specially woven fabric. (2) Fabric made from chenille yarn.

The cut ends of a softly twisted yarns loosen and form a pile-like fringe. This fringed yarn may be woven to make a fabric with pile on one or both sides. If the pile is on one side only, the yarn must be folded before it is woven. The yarn is sometimes referred to as a “caterpillar” yarn.

Cotton chenille yarn.

Tufted Pile Fabrics
Tufting is a process of making pile fabrics by punching extra yarns into an already woven fabric. The ground fabric ranges from thin cotton sheeting to heavy burlap and the pile yarns can be of any fiber content.

Tufting is the process of creating textiles, especially carpet, on specialized multi-needle sewing machines.

Tufting is a less costly method of making pile fabrics, because it is an extremely fast process and involves less labor and time to create new designs. A tufted bed-size blanket can be made in two minutes. A tufting machine can produce approximately 645 square yards of carpeting per hour compared to an Axminster loom, which can weave about 14 squre yards per hour.

Tufted acrylic blanket with satin bound edge.

Tufting developed in the South Eastern of USA as a handicraft. It is said that the early settlers trimmed off wicks from their homemade candles and carefully worked them into bedspreads to create interesting textures and designs. Later, a needle was used to insert the thick yarn and the making of candlewick bedspreads grew into a cottage industry. Hooked rugs were also made by hand in the same way.

Hooked rug made in the 1930s. Predominately brown and green, it features flowers that look like poinsettias. The rug measures 35" x 58". It was hooked into burlap, tight hooks, no loose loops.

In the 1930s, machinery was developed to convert the hand technique to mass production. Cotton rugs, bedspreads and robes were produced in many patterns and colors at low cost. In 1950, the first room-width carpeting was made; by 1966, 85% of the broadloom carpeting was made by tufting.

Tufted broadloom carpet.

In 1960, Barwich Mills Inc. started pilot plant operations on tufted blankets. This end-use combines pile construction with napped finish. It has the advantage over traditional blanket fabric of maintaining a strong, firm ground fabric, since the fibers are teased from the pile yarns to create the nap. Also the thickness of the blanket is determined by the height of the pile rather than by the thickness of the yarn. Tufted blankets have not been successful in the USA but are being produced in Europe.

Tufting is done by a series of needles, each carrying yarn from a series of spools held in a creel.

Drawing illustrating the tufting process.

Tufted fabric. Notice machine like stitches on the wrong side.

The backing fabric is held in a horizontal position the needles all come down at once and go through the fabric at a predetermined distance, much as a sewing needle goes through a cloth. Under each needle is a hook that moves forward to hold the loop as the needle is retracted to cut the loop. The fabric moves forward at a predetermined rate, and the needles move down again to form another row of tufts.

The tufts are held in place by the blooming (untwisted) of the yarn and by shrinkage of the ground fabric in finishing. In carpeting, a latex coating is put on the back to help hold the tufts in place (see first figure in this section).

Variations in texture can be made by loops of different heights. Cut and uncut tufts can be combined. Tweedy textures are made by the use of different colored plys in the tufting yarns. New techniques of dying have been developed to produce colored patterns or figures in which the color penetrates the tufts completely.

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

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Make Lace Not War - Part III
ArtCloth Exhibition

Marie-Therese Wisniowski

The first part of this series was design as a taster of the exhibition. The second part concentrated on laced jewellery. The third part of the series concentrates on laced objects. For you convenience I have listed the other parts of the series below.

Make Lace Not War - Part I
Make Lace Not War - Part II

Make Lace Not War - Part III

Lizz Aston
Artist's Statement: I find a great sense of poeticism in knot-work, being one of our oldest, most basic, yet sophisticated technologies. There is an endless wealth of ideas, associations and symbolism to knots and knotting. I am interested in the knot as a universal language, one that carries residual histories and memory, connecting the past to the present as a living tradition.

Antiquated Notions is a series of burn studies exploring the relationships and residual connections we feel to domestic objects of the past. The patterns and forms take reference from the knotted and interlaced structure of lace doilies. The process of free-motion embroidery and burning are used to intricately render a fabric of negative spaces, as the images are laboriously burnt-out and excavated from within the fiber. Each piece examined themes of attachment, transience and mourning, while celebrating a reverence for the preciousness of materials and handmade objects.

Antiquated Notions.
Description [1]: Doilies (4): Free-motion embroidery and burning using paper fibers and polyester thread.
Size: 350 x 335 x 7 mm (largest).

Peter Battaglene and Fiona Tabart
Artists' Statement: An organic object belonging to a larger whole, the leaf is symbolic of the relationship we share as art of a larger society. We have therefore titled the work Arbor Vitae from Latin "Tree of Life".

Our interpretation of lace is a study of the fractal and lace-like pattern of the veins contained within a leaf's simple form. beautifully reflecting the myriad connections and pathways expressed in micro and macro views of the natural, urban and industrial environments around us.

The graphic expression of this pattern has been enlarged and projected on three glass panels to create a triptych screen. Precisely registered and finely etched onto both sides of the panel, the thread-like network of interconnected lines and voids, positive and negative spaces appear expressed in three dimensions to diffuse the screens transparency.

Amor Vitae.
Description[1]: Screen: Sandblasted toughened glass.
Size: 2000 x 2140 mm.

Sandra Black
Artist's Statement: As child I grew up with lace tablecloths and doilies on the surfaces of fine polished wooden furniture. Each week my dressing table was dusted and doilies replaced with freshly and starched ones. They were kept in a finely carved camphor wood chest to protect them from silverfish. My parental grandmother and aunts were great embroiderers and crotchet makers, so these objects were highly valued for their craftsmanship and beauty. I have been a ceramic artists for over 35 years. One of my most consistent areas of exploration has been in the carving or piercing of vessel forms to enable the passage of light and the making of patterns, shapes and shadows are an inherent part of both lace fabric and pierced vessels I make.

Etched Leaf Vessel (2010).
Description[1]: Hand polished repeatedly. Bowls (3): Ice porcelain that has been thrown, pierced, etched and polished repeatedly.
Size: 80 x 220 mm (diameter of the largest piece).

Adam Cornish
Artist's Statement: Just as lace creates beautiful and intricate patterns from simple cotton thread, Trinity was designed to create an intricate spiralled pattern from simple construction techniques that utilize negative space.

Trinity was designed as a series of fruit bowls, each self-standing and beautiful enough to be a sculpture. The pattern is cut from five mm stainless steel plates. The twisting geometric pattern creates the woven structure. The bowl was also designed to achieve maximal volume and size from minimal use of material, similar to traditional lace techniques that utilize negative and positive space.

Description[1]: Vessel: CNC-laser cut 5mm mirror polished stainless steel, hand-woven self-tensioning structure with spot-welded joins.
Size: 140 x 400 x 450 mm.

Linda Galbraith
Artist's Statement: I want to encourage the view of this piece to delve into their own memories, perhaps to create a nostalgic vision of an afternoon tea filled with reminiscences. I love the way old handmade doilies that I used for this piece felt like they were drenched in memories - the tea stains somehow represent discussions and arguments, the laughter and secrets shared over a cup of tea.

Steeped Memory.
Description[1]: Lace tea cotton lace doilies, moulded with glue, digitally printed rice paper and string.
Size: 430 x 510 x 320 mm overall.

Mavis Ganambarr & Koskela
Artists' Statement: Koskela came to us with the idea of doing our weaving on lampshades. I thought it would be interesting to take our traditional Yolngu materials (handmade fiber derived from the Kurrajong tree) and used them on bland (non-indigeneous) objects. The lampshade project was an opportunity to try something new and show our artwork in a new light. I used things I can find at in the beach or in the bush around me - like seeds and shells and shark bone and feathers - because they are beautiful and I could do many different things with them. I also like to show other people how they can use things from nature. This is part of keeping my knowledge and culture strong.

Yuta Badayala (In New Light).
Description[1]: Light shade: Hand-woven from pandanus and bush string made with fiber derived from the Kurrajong tree, dyed using local plants.
Size: 700 x 1500 (diameter) mm.

Griselda Gonzales
Artist's Statement: I joined Tekojoja Kuna Rembiapope (a women's co-operative) after my husband lost his job. get a fair payment for my work and am now able to pay for food, electricity and water for my family. I learnt to make nanduti (traditional Paraguayan lace) from my mother. The story of nanduti (spider's web) is special. According to legend, two young Guarani indigenous boys competed for the heart of a beautiful girl. The poor boy wandered through the woods looking for a gift for her. He raised his head to the heavens ti implore the help of Tupac, the Guarani God, and saw a beautiful lace in the branches of a tree. When he touched the lace he found nothing but a torn spider's web. His mother dedicated herself to making the identical web lace. She studied the spider's movements and began to copy it using her needle and strains of her white hair.

Nanudti Lace.
Description[1]: Circular mat: Linen needle lace.
Size: 870 mm (diameter).

Alvena Hall
Artist's Statement: The Ediacaran fossils are the remains of delicate and very beautiful soft-bodied creatures, the first known multicellular animals on this planet. The were discovered on the underside of wave-rippled rocks high in the Flinders Ranges (South Australia) and are about 540 million years old. Researching them I arrived art the notion of "time" as a filter that only selects certain things (under very special circumstances) to become fossils. It is extraordinary rare for anything as soft and squishy as 540 million-year-old jellyfish to have its impression preserved. And it is just as astonishing that such imprints are ever discovered. I fell upon the notion of apparently fragile, transparent lace-like objects to express my wonder at these natural phenomenon. Vessels with a sieve-like character, rounded like domestic colanders, cast elusive shadows about their bases. Time determines what now exists, and hence what is knowable and what yet might be found.

Ediacara Laces.
Description[1]: Five vessels: cotton gauze bandaging, rice paper, cotton thread, whipper-snipper cord, bone. rust-stained textile from Ediacaran Hills site, coated wire and computer-designed gulper lace motifs.
Size: 220 x 220 x 130 mm (largest); 75 x 135 x 110 mm (smallest).

Waltruad Janzen
Artist's Statement: I am fascinated by the long history of shoes all over the world; their political and social meaning.

I decided to create shoes in handmade lace. For this pair of boots I used a thin brass wire in free crochet work. Unwearable as these lace shoes are, they are meant to be a homage to the history of shoes.

Description[1]: Pair of boots: Crochet using brass wire.
Size: 240 x 110 x 270 mm.

Browyn Kelly
Artist's Statement: The pandanus bags I have created vary greatly from the shape of coil baskets and dilly bags traditionally created by Maningride artists. I use the traditional pandanus spirals dyed with natural pigment in a new shape and with a new technique.

Pandanus Coil Bag.
Description[1]: Dyed pandanus, coiled and twined.
Size: 945 x 290 mm.

[1] Make Lace Not War, Powerhouse Publishing, Sydney (2011).

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Costume Designs by Léon Bakst
Wearable Art

Marie-Therese Wisniowski

Léon Bakst was born in Grodno on the Russia and Lithuania border (now Belarus) on the 10th May 1866. He died on the 27th December 1924 in Rueil-Malmaison. He attended the Academy of Fine Arts in St Petersburg from 1883 until he was expelled in 1887. Art school exposed him to the influence of the Russian Realist group - the Wanderers.

Léon Bakst.
Photography Courtesy of E.O. Hoppé.

Bakst started his career as a book illustrator and painter, achieving only moderate success as a portrait artists. In 1890 he met Alexandre Benois and joined the Nevsky Pickwickians, through whom he also met Diaghilev, founder of the Ballet Ruses.

Sergei Diaghilev at the London premier of the Saisons Russes (translated "Season Russia") 1911.
Photography Courtesy of J. de Strzelecki.

From 1893-97 he lived in Paris on and off, studying at the Académie Julian under Academist painter, Jean-Léon Gérome, whose interest in Orientalism and Greek mythology were related to Bakst. He visited Spain, Germany, Tunisia, Algeria and Greece, settling permanently in Paris in 1912 after being exiled from Russia.

From 1898-1904, Bakst was Diaghilev's art assistant for Mir Iskusstva. In 1901 he designed his first theatre work for Diaghilev - Léo Delibes' ballet, Sylvia. Although this production was never realized , from the time Bakst concentrated on designing both sets and costumes for various theatres in St. Petersburg.

In 1909, Bakst was invited to design productions for the first Saison Russe in Paris. He continued working with the Ballets Russes, becoming artistic director in 1911 until 1919. Bakst designed more of Diaghilev's Ballets Russes production that any other artist associated with the company, while also working as a freelance dress and costume designer for elect clients. Bakst designed for several productions in London and Paris and returned to the Ballets Russes to design The Sleeping Princess in 1921.

Costume Designs by Léon Bakst[2]

Comments[2]: Costume design for Ida Rubinstein in the "Dance of the Seven Veils (Salomé, 1908).
Technique and Material: Watercolor, gouache, bronze and silver paint and graphite on paper.
Size: 47 x 302 cm.

Comments[2]: Costume design for Ida Rubinstein as Cleopatra (1909).
Technique and Material: Watercolor and pencil on paper.
Size: 28 x 21 cm.

Comments[2]: Costume designed for an Odalique based on the ballet Schéhérazade (1911).
Technique and Material: Opaque watercolour, pencil, ink and metallic paint on paper mounted on board.
Size: 44.9 x 30 cm.

Comments[2]: Costume design for Shahriar (Aleksei Bulgakov) (1910).
Technique and Material: Watercolor, gouche and pencil on paper.
Size: 35.5 x 22 cm.

Comments[2]: Costume designed for a Béotien (1911).
Technique and Material: Watercolor, pencil and whitening on paper.
Size: 40 x 27.5 cm.

Comments[2]: Costume designed for a Béotien (ca. 1911).
Technique and Material: Canvas and painted cotton.

Comments[2]: Costume for Amoun (1909).
Technique and Material: Silk, brocade, metal and artificial pearls.

Comments[2]: Costume designed for a male servant (1910).
Technique and Material: Silk and satin.

Comments[2]: Costume for a Brigand: tunic and belt (1912).
Technique and Material: Examine of painted wool and cotton fabric.

Comments[2]: For a Brigand: tunic, culottes and belt (1912).
Technique and Material: Etamine of painted wool and cotton fabric.

Comments[2]: Costume for a Brigand: toga, trousers and belt (1912).
Technique and Material: Painted wool.

[1] Ballets Russes – Art Of Costume, R. Bell (with essays by C. Dixon, H. Hammond, M. Potter and D. Ward), National Gallery Of Australia, Canberra (2010).

[2] Edited by J.E. Bowlt, Z. Tregulova and N.R. Giordano, A Feast of Wonders: Sergei Diaghilev and the Ballets Russes, The Cultural Foundation, Skira Editore, Milano (2009).