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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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Needle lace
Credit: Carolus

Needle lace (also known as needlelace or needle-made lace) is a type of lace created using a needle and thread to stitch up hundreds of small stitches to form the lace itself.

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William Morris
William Morris (24 March 1834 – 3 October 1896) was an English textile designer, artist, writer, and socialist associated with the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and the English Arts and Crafts Movement.

Born at Walthamstow near London, Morris was educated at Oxford University, where he met his life-long friend and collaborator, the artist Edward Burne-Jones. In 1856, Morris became an apprentice to Gothic revival architect G. E. Street. That same year he founded the "Oxford and Cambridge Magazine", an outlet for his poetry and a forum for development of his theories of hand-craftsmanship in the decorative arts. In 1861, Morris founded a design firm in partnership with Burne-Jones, the architect Philip Webb and the poet and artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti which had a profound impact on the decoration of churches and houses into the early 20th century. Morris's chief contribution was as a designer of repeating patterns for wallpapers and textiles, many based on a close observation of nature. Morris was also responsible for the resurgence of traditional textile arts and methods of production.

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The Miroir or Glasse of the Synneful Soul

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Detail of a Byzantine silk with a pattern of quadrigas (four-horse chariots) in roundels, from the tomb of Charlemagne, Aachen.  Musée National du Moyen Age, Cluny, Paris
Byzantine silk is silk woven in the Byzantine Empire (Byzantium) from about the 4th century until the Fall of Constantinople in 1453.

The Byzantine capital of Constantinople was the first significant silk-weaving center in Europe. Silk was one of the most important commodities in the Byzantine economy, used by the state both as a means of payment and of diplomacy.[1] Raw silk was bought from China and made up into fine fabrics that commanded high prices throughout the world. Later, silkworms were smuggled into the empire and the overland silk trade gradually became less important. After the reign of Justinian I, the manufacture and sale of silk became an imperial monopoly, only processed in imperial factories, and sold to authorized buyers.[1] Byzantine silks are significant for their brilliant colours, use of gold thread, and intricate designs that approach the pictorial complexity of embroidery in loom-woven fabric.[2] Byzantium dominated silk production in Europe throughout the Early Middle Ages, until the establishment of the Italian silk-weaving industry in the 12th century and the conquest and break-up of the Byzantine Empire in the Fourth Crusade (1204).

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Geoffrey Chaucer
An haberdasher, and a carpenter,
A webbe (weaver), a dyer, and a tapiser (tapestry maker),
Were with us eke, cloth'd in one livery,
Of a solemn and great fraternity.
Full fresh and new their gear y-picked was.
Their knives were y-chaped not with brass,
But all with silver wrought full clean and well,
Their girdles and their pouches every deal.
Well seemed each of them a fair burgess,
To sitten in a guild-hall, on the dais.
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  1. ^ a b Laiou, Angeliki. "Exchange and Trade". In Laiou (2002), p. 703
  2. ^ Schoeser (2007), p. 27
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