Portal:Textile arts

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The Textile arts Portal

Portrait illustrates the practical, decorative, and social aspects of the textile arts
The textile arts are those arts and crafts that use plant, animal, or synthetic fibers to construct practical or decorative objects. Textiles cover the human body to protect it from the elements and to send social cues to other people. Textiles are used to store, secure, and protect possessions, and to soften, insulate, and decorate living spaces and surfaces.

The word textile is from Latin texere which means "to weave", "to braid" or "to construct". The simplest textile art is felting, in which animal fibers are matted together using heat and moisture. Most textile arts begin with twisting or spinning and plying fibers to make yarn (called thread when it is very fine and rope when it is very heavy). Yarn can then be knotted, looped, braided, knitted or woven to make flexible fabric or cloth, and cloth can be used to make clothing and soft furnishings. All of these items – felt, yarn, fabric, and finished objects – are referred to as textiles.

Textiles have been a fundamental part of human life since the beginning of civilization. The history of textile arts is also the history of international trade. Tyrian purple dye was an important trade good in the ancient Mediterranean. The Silk Road brought Chinese silk to India, Africa, and Europe. Tastes for imported luxury fabrics led to sumptuary laws during the Middle Ages and Renaissance. The industrial revolution was a revolution of textiles technology: cotton gin, the spinning jenny, and the power loom mechanized production and led to the Luddite rebellion.

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Yarn drying after being dyed in early American tradition
Credit: Derek Jensen

Yarn is a long continuous length of interlocked fibers, suitable for use in the production of textiles, sewing, crocheting, knitting, weaving, embroidery and ropemaking. Thread is a type of yarn intended for sewing by hand or machine.

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Screen with embroidered panels, designed by John Henry Dearle
John Henry Dearle or J. H. Dearle (18601932) was a British textile and stained glass designer trained by Pre-Raphaelite artist and craftsman William Morris. Dearle designed many of the later wallpapers and textiles released by Morris & Co., and contributed background and foliage patterns to tapestry designs featuring figures by Edward Burne-Jones and others. Beginning in his teens as a shop assistant and then design apprentice, Dearle rose to become Morris & Co.'s chief designer by 1890, creating designs for tapestries, embroidery, wallpapers, woven and printed textiles, stained glass, and carpets. Following Morris's death in 1896, Dearle was appointed Art Director of the firm, and became its principal stained glass designer on the death of Burne-Jones in 1898.

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Madonna and child in Oriental carpet.

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Valois Tapestries
The Valois Tapestries are a series of eight tapestries depicting festivities or "magnificences" at the Court of France in the second half of the 16th century. The tapestries were worked in the Spanish Netherlands, probably in Brussels or Antwerp, shortly after 1580. Scholars have not firmly established who commissioned the tapestries or for whom they were intended. It is likely that they were once owned by Catherine de' Medici, but they are not included in the inventory of possessions drawn up after her death. She had probably presented them to her granddaughter Christina of Lorraine, for her marriage to Ferdinando I de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, in 1589. The tapestries are now stored at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Tuscany, but are not on public display.

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Joan of Arc
Asked if in her youth she had learned any craft, she said yes, to sew and spin: and in sewing and spinning, she feared no woman in Rouen.
Joan of Arc, Court record, 1429

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