1950s inspired print Jodie Hilton

Material Theory and Art Movements

Editorial layout and Material Theory of Art Movements.

Art Movement Material Theory Jodie Hilton

Art Movement Material Theory Jodie Hilton

Art Movement Material Theory Jodie HiltonThe industrial era bred a lifestyle seen as a mechanized society. Where unskilled workers labored in factories and operated machinery to produce products for the masses. (1.1) In reflection the era’s most pressing social, political and artistic concerns, gothic revivalist and architect John Ruskin examined the relationship between art, society
and labor.

Activist William Morris (then poet) put those theories into practice by joining leading architects, artists and craft–designers, including William Morris, Frank Lloyd Wright, Josef Hoffman and Eliel Saarinenin the reform of art at every level and across a broad social spectrum. (1.2) This influence had a wide scope across all trades across the world who all were united in promoting the moral superiority of “honest” design and natural materials in an industrial age.

In 1887, (According to cumming and Kaplan (1991,p 46) The Movement was officially founded and took its name from the Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society. Styles adopted by the movement were diverse, which embraced architecture, furniture, glass, ceramics, metalwork, textiles wallpaper, books, carvings and stonework.

Wool is the fleece of a sheep, which is used in a variety of textiles and can be found woven or knitted. Wool is favored for textile production because it is easy to work with and takes dye very well. This material is highly flame resistant, and frequently used for mattresses and rugs for that reason. In addition, wool has excellent moisture wicking properties, pulling moisture into the core of the fiber so that it doesn’t feel wet or soggy to the wearer. It pulls moisture away from the skin, Furthermore, it takes to felting, a process in which fibers interlock into a tight mat, very well.

Art Movement Material Theory Jodie Hilton

Industrial production was widespread, and yet the plight of the decorative arts movement fostered poorly made objects imitating earlier periods. Art nouveau initially started as a revolt against traditional art with many designers believing that 19th Century design had become frivolously over decorated (2.2).  Artists such as Alphonse Mucha and Gustav Klimt sought to uphold workmanship and move toward modernity.

Inspired by organic and geometric forms with more angular contours that focused on classic art periods including Greek, Roman, and Renaissance themes and transitioned art toward the modernist movements. The art nouveau era came to an abrupt end with the First World War. Production costs for works of art could not compete with those of mass-produced industrial goods. However the 40 year long movement gave way to later movements such as surrealism, modernism and the Bauhaus.

Despite the short time line Art Nouveau has had a lasting impact on the world that can be seen in jewelry, prints, advertising, wallpaper, glass and furniture. (1) New themes in interior and architecture adapted curvy lines, asymmetrical shapes and forms, surfaces with leaf and vine decorations that have been preserved in many European cities.

Art Movement Material Theory Jodie Hilton

Silk is a filament fiber formed from proteins secreted by silkworms. Highly prized for its softness, insulating properties, and strength, the fiber is a natural animal product. 

The tedious manufacturing process begins when female silk moths lay their eggs, which are incubated until they hatch into larva. The larva must be kept warm and fed on mulberry leaves frequently over four to six weeks. Once the larva has reached their maximum size it begins to secrete a protein via two spinnerets and forms a continuous silk thread as it spins a shell around itself. This is repeatedly wound to form a pod to mature in.

Before the silkworm pupa fully matures, the pods are dipped into hot water to loosen the thread, which is then wound onto wheels.  The heat kills the larva before they can begin to eat through the thread. The dead larva are discarded.

Once raw silk has been wound onto wheels, it can be spun into a variety of different types of thread, depending upon the intended use. 

single threads being used for fine and sheer garments and crepe being used to create textured and wrinkly fabric. Organza is used for warp threads in weaving, The threads can also be used in knit fabrics.

Silk can be treated to remove roughness or left raw, depending on the demand. It takes dye well and is available in an array of colors, from subtle to bright. The textile appears in scarves, sweaters, underwear, shirts, and everything in between. 

Art Movement Material Theory Jodie Hilton

Following Art nouveau; Orphism was artistic trend within the long standing modernist movement.(3.1) In reference to Greek mythology; Orpheus exhibited a beautiful harmony between spoken word and music within his environment. In 1912 Guillaume Apollinaire identified the same principals to Robert Delaunay’s use of balance and harmony of through contrast of colour.

His wife, Sonia Delaunay, also experimented with an Orphic painting style. According to Seider (1982, article 60) Sonia combined color and shape in every way possible. As a description of the sensation of movement produced by juxtaposing starkly contrasting coloured patterns of zig-zags, stripes and diamonds encapsulated the verve and daring of the new modern woman,

Sonia labored simultaneously on textiles, costume and accessory design was trademarked as the Atelier Simultané. She emerged as a leading figure in that world, liberating color, movement and form from two dimensions and uniting them off the canvas into fashion and soft home furnishing.

Man-made fibres fall into 2 broad groups, depending on the origin of the fibre forming materials. Natural polymer fibres and Synthetic fibres which are by classified by their chemical structure.

Art Movement Material Theory Jodie Hilton

In 1905 Artificial silk went into mass production becoming better known in 1924 under the trade name “rayon.” The manufacturing process remains largely as originally developed by the Viscose Spinning Syndicate, with the addition of more zinc to the cellulose solution and more hot-stretching in the 1930s. This paved the way for rayon to be used in every branch of the textile industry: clothing, furnishing and carpets, household textiles and medical fabrics.

In contrast to cotton the use of a cellulose pulp made from wood to produce textiles needs a forming procedure based on breaking the form down to a dope and then a regeneration process. Viscose, Cuprommium and acetate make up the bulk of the natural polymer fibres produced today. Manufacturing processes have been developed and improved until the production of natural polymer fibres is now part of the most used textiles in the fashion and upholstery industry’s.

Art Movement Material Theory Jodie Hilton

The 1950’s was a complex era where society and politics had a huge influence on the subject matter used in fabric design. According to Thuimim., (2002 P35) During World War II, textile production was limited yet women and children often wore patriotic prints as it was a popular theme amongst the home and clothing markets. Even today in fashion, designers like Ralph Lauren love to use patriotic images to create the look of American style.

In 1959 Hawaii became the 50th State in the United States of America where the trend of Hawaiian shirts really took off. (4.2) Futuristic and iconography prints emerged after space travel had started.  One of President John Kennedy’s goals was to send a man to the moon.   There was Sputnik in 1957, John Glenn, Alan Sheppard and Neil Armstrong’s famous walk on the moon. It was designers like Lucienne Day and Richard Koppe along with Charles and Ray Eames that echoed these events in textile design.

That trend faded for a while and then the American West motifs and exotic foreign destinations came back into fashion with the help of president Ronald Reagan, uniting Hollywood and politics, once again.  Hollywood certainly did its part in branding famous singers, dancers and actors.  Singers like Elvis Presley even joined in becoming a design phenomenon. (Shih, J. 1997 p109)

Art Movement Material Theory Jodie Hilton

Cotton is one of the most used natural fibres in existence today, with consumers from all classes and nations wearing and using it in a variety of applications. And plays and important role in the world economy During WWII much of the cotton resources were allocated to manufacturing of textiles for military use. After the war ended there was an excess of cotton and a greater need for mechanical harvesting.

Between 1948 and the late 1960s, mechanical harvesting of the cotton crop went from essentially near zero to 96 percent of the crop. The machines reduced the man-hours required to produce a cotton crop from 125 hours per acre to 25. It’s estimated that each cotton harvester replaced about 80 farm workers. 

Cotton is a natural fiber harvested from the cotton plant. Cotton plants produce delicate, cotton fibre that forms around the seed. Once harvested, cotton must be processed in a cotton gin where it is combed and spun and baled.  Further process leads to grading, further dusting combing, drawing and finally spinning into yarn according to which production type it is allocated to.

Art Movement Material Theory Jodie Hilton

Op Art relates to geometric designs that create feelings of movement or vibration. Kinetic Artist Victor Vasarely pioneered the movement with his black and white 1938 painting Zebra. But it wasn’t until the The Responsive Eye exhibition, at the Museum of Modern Art in New York 1965, when it caught the publics imagination and started to show up everywhere and translated into posters, t-shirts and book illustrations, television advertising, as LP album art and as a fashion motif in clothing and interior decoration.. The Original, hand-created optical art displays a great deal of mathematic composition, planning and technical skill to create a visual tension that gives the work the illusion of movement. The elements employed (color, line and shape) are carefully chosen to achieve maximum effect.

M. C. Escher – whose style has sometimes caused him to be listed as an Op artist – created works that featured metamorphic perspectives in architecture and animal life as well as eye tricking tessellations. According to Forty,S. 2003 (p11)His works in particular inspired artists who
were interested in investigating various perceptual effects.

Typically, Op artists used only black and white in order to produce the greatest contrast in their design but Bridget Riley Moved from achromatic to chromatic pieces and employed a careful selection of colour line and shape to achieve maximum effect.

Art Movement Material Theory Jodie Hilton

Synthetic fibres are man-made fibres that come from chemicals. They are generally based on polymers and are stronger than natural and regenerated fibres: : viscose comes from pine trees or petrochemicals, while acrylic, nylon and polyester come from oil and coal.

 A chemical process, usually polymerization, prepares and combines the components for the fibre. Initially, the various components are solids and first must be converted to a liquid state to be extruded into fibers. The materials are chemically converted, dissolved, or melted, turning into a thick liquid.

A spinning process produces the fibre by passing the thick liquid through a spinneret and comes out a string liquid filament. The holes in the spinneret determines the diameter of the filament, which is set by the application. The extrusion is dried to a continuous
filament fibre. A twisting process twists the filament fibre into a yarn. The filament falls vertically from the spinneret and is caught in a large vacuum nozzle. The vacuum force keeps tension on the line as it is wound around a bobbin.

1950s inspired print Jodie Hilton


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1.8 Profile of William Morris

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2.7 Gustav Klimt’s painting “Der Kuss” (The Kiss), 2009.. 2015: http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-f9L5YhuPsMo/UAG3KqaUeSI/AAAAAAAABT8/bIx8CCqmILI/s1600/klimt.jpg. [Accessed 8 March 2015].

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