ponder craft & design

Mixed Materials

Materials of the Trade

What are you using this crafted piece for? Is it appropriate and safe in the space?

How to properly care for this particular piece. 

Is the design appropriate to the piece’s function?

Consider...

Have the fibre materials been lightfasted/ colour-fasted before use?

Does the labeling identify any washing or care instructions?

 

Know what Health Standards should apply by becoming familiar with the Hazardous Products Act.


 

...Ask the Artsit About

This section includes information about materials or techniques that do not comfortably fit into other sections listed. 

 
 
SWEETS

Leather

 Identifying Features:

Leather is a flexible material made of natural fibres. It comes in a variety of different natural shades (light to dark) depending on what tanning techniques and exposure the animal rawhide endures. Today, leather can be virtually any colour of the rainbow, died through artificial means for various fashion and commercial products.

 

Properties:

Leather is favoured for its marriage between flexibility and extreme durability, subject to proper care. Leather is commonly made from cattle hide. However, some other natural sources include deer, ostrich and alligator, much more prevalent in the fashion industry where they are celebrated for their unique patterns. While leather has an excellent resistant to abrasion, it still requires its own protective precautions. High temperatures, humidity fluctuations, dust, pollution and insects can all degrade leather, shortening its lifespan. You can buy leather-friendly shampoos, oils and polishes at most grocery and leather stores to help prevent cracking, drying, etc.

As vegetarianism and veganism become increasingly popular, artificial leathers (Faux or Vegan Leather) are becoming more prevalent in the textile trade. While composed of artificial fibres, they can often pose quite similar to real leather goods. Thus, it is always important to check labels to ensure you know what you are buying, and how to care for your particular product.

 

Common Uses:
Leather is great for accessories such as shoes, belts, watchstraps, wallets, but also protective apparel for motorcyclists, or athletic footwear such as soccer cleats. It is often used in stationary, including bookbinding, moleskins and outer cases for your electronics. Leather continues to be a popular material in the home, among furniture, namely couches, and even wallpaper.

 

Techniques:

Pyrography: The ornamentation of wood or leather by burning the design into the surface of the leather using a controlled, heated tool – typically a metal point known as a poker.

 

 

Tanning: The process of treating raw animal hides to produce leather, then made into various leather goods. Tanning makes the hide more durable, less resistant to decomposition and sometimes works to colour the hide.

 

Glossary: 

Saddle Soap: Used for cleaning, conditioning and protecting leather. Typically composed of mild soap, softening ingredients (wool wax) and preservatives (beeswax). Its name comes from its common use on leathers found on the horse track.

 

 

Although leather is not a fibre it is considered to be a fabric, for more information on techniques and terms relating to fabrics please see the         page 

 

  

SWEETS

Basketry

Identifying Features:

Baskets are typically hand-woven out of a pliable material and can come in a range of sizes, shapes and colours.   

 

Properties:

There are a variety of materials that can be used to make a basket, these include natural materials such as bark, willow, cedar, grasses, rushes, plant leaves, and reed from the rattan vine. However, non-conforming materials can also be used, such as plastic webbing, paper, and cardboard, wire and wool, clothes pegs, zippers, cable ties, anything you can form.

 

Common Uses:

Aside from the more obvious, basketry being used to make baskets and other similar types of holdings, the technique can be used to make lampshades, wall decorations, mats, bassinettes, sculptural works, landart, and habitable structures such as the Nest in Beijing.

 

Techniques:
Basketry techniques are referred to as weaving and there are many different types of weaves, each technique has a variety of weaves: 

 

Coiling: Coiling begins at the centre of a basket and continues to build in spiral rounds, each new round is attached to the round before.

 

Plain Weave: Also known as (plaiting, or checkerwork) two elements are woven over and under each other at right angles. 

 

Randing: In randing, the artist weaves a single rod around the stakes of a basket, in-front then behind, and so on. 

 

Twill: Twilled weave is similar to a plain weave except that the weft (horizontal) materials are woven over two or more warps (verticals).

 

Twining: Twined work begins with a foundation of stiff warps (vertical) e.g whole plant shoots, around which two, and sometimes three or four, weft (horizontal) elements are woven. The wefts are separated, brought around a stationary warp rod and twisted together. The action is repeated again and again, building the basket.

 

Glossary: 

Warp: The material that is positioned vertically in relation to the base of the basket. 

 

Weft: The material that is positioned horizontally in relation to the base of the basket. How the weft is controlled usually determines the type of weave being used (an exception being coiling).   

 

 

Basketry can use a variety of materials, however many of the materials that can be used are fibres. For more information on processes relating to these materials please see the         page

 

 

Liquid Polymer

Annet Holierhoek
SWEETS

 

Identifying Features:

Liquid polymer can be found at most craft stores, and it is essentially liquid polymer clay. However, it behaves much differently from polymer clay. The most common brands are TLS (Translucent Liquid Sculpey), Kato Clear Polyclay Medium, and Liquid Fimo.

 

Properties:

Liquid polymer clay bakes the same way as regular polymer clay and once the liquid polymer is hardened it is rock hard and suitable to be placed outside year round. When the clay is in liquid form it has a honey-like consistency and has many possible uses.  

 

Common Uses:

Liquid polymer can be used to harden natural fibres like fabric and harden shaped from fabric, foil or foam. It can also be used to seal beads, make patterns and layers and made into a grout.

 

 

Polymer Clay

SWEETS

 

Identifying Features:

Polymer clay can be purchased from your local craft store – FIMO Effect is a popular brand. This material comes in an array of colours and moulds, and it handles and sculpts with great ease.

 

Properties:

Polymer is technically not an “earth” clay like the other clay materials, as it does not contain any clay minerals. Instead of being water-based, it is made from oil-based solid and liquid polymer. Polymer also differs from the other clays in that it does not require high firing temperatures. However, because it utilizes similar forming techniques, and undergoes the same chemical process of curing as other earth clays, it is often regarded in the same family when it comes to craft. Polymer can be fired in a conventional oven, as it only needs to be heated between 129-134°C or 265-275°F to cure. It is important to note that even though polymer uses a kitchen oven, it is not food safe.

 

Common Uses:

Polymer can also act as decorative, patterned coverings for items such as candleholders and light-switch plates. Additionally, bowls, jars and other vessels of various shapes and sizes can be moulded.  Polymer clay is often used for sculpting figurines, everything from faces to clothing to props, in a range of sizes. Sheets of polymer can also act as decorative, patterned coverings for items such as candleholders and light-switch plates. Additionally, bowls, jars and other vessels of various shapes and sizes can be moulded.

 

 

Even though polymer clay is not a true clay, many of the techniques used with polymer clay are the same, for more information see the         page

 

Clay