Textile Museum of Canada - Digital Threads

Nature, the Environment and Weird Materials

Textiles are made out of an enormous array of materials: iridescent beetle wings are treated as ‘jewels’ and stitched onto the surface of textiles in Thailand; wispy grasses are woven into sturdy baskets all over the world; and metal scraps from the Japanese automobile industry are recycled and woven into high-end fabrics. Banana leaves, paper, stainless steel, tree bark, fur and feathers are ingeniously transformed into culturally meaningful and socially beneficial art and artifacts. The natural environment is also a catalyst for effective clothing design and manufacture: we invent protective gear that will shield us from the elements; rain, snow, cold, heat and wind – and we turn to the protective properties of polyesters and nylons to help us cope with climactic conditions.

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Canadian Hertiage