the online gallery to buy art, sell art, buy craft, sell craft
> reference library
art forum   join   login  
search artwork
min price
max price:
artwork keywords:
Bigartspace is secured using 128 bit encryption from GeoTrust
A 'textile' is any type of material made from fibers or other extended linear materials such as thread or yarn (1). Classes of textiles include woven, crocheted, knitted, knotted (as in macrame) or tufted cloth, and non-woven fabrics such as felt. Materials made from fibers such as fiberglass, carbon fiber, and ceramic fiber which are infiltrated by a matrix of another material are considered fiber-reinforced composite materials.
The production of textiles is an ancient craft, whose speed and scale of production has been altered almost beyond recognition by mass-production and the introduction of modern manufacturing techniques. However, a Roman weaver would have no problem recognizing modern plain weave, twill or satin.
Many textiles have been in use for millennia, while others use artificial fibers and are recent inventions. The range of fibers has increased in the last 100 years. The first synthetics were made in the 1920s and 1930s.
An alternative meaning for the word 'textile' comes from a nudist perspective. A nudist may call any person wearing any clothing a 'textile', as a form of innoffensive colloquial slang.

Sources and types

Textiles can be made from a variety of materials. The following is a partial list of the materials that can be used to make textiles.

Animal origin

*Angora rabbit hair
*Camel hair
*Vicuña hair
*Wool: divided into woollen and worsted


*Bark cloth has various uses, and is used in sheets.
*Bamboo fiber from bamboo.
*Coir: the fiber from coconuts.
*Grass, rush and straw
*Hemp (mostly used in rope making)
*Linen, made from flax
*Nettle: processed in a similar manner to flax.
*Seaweed: a water soluble fiber (alginate) is produced. This is used as a holding fiber in the production of certain textiles: when the cloth is finished the alginate is dissolved, leaving an open area.

Derived from plant products

*Piña (Pineapple fiber)


*Glass fibers can be used in the manufacture of textiles for insulation and other purposes.
*Glass Fiber
*Metal fiber, metal wire and metal foil have some uses in textiles, either on their own or with other materials (see, for example, goldwork embroidery).


*Acrylic fiber
*Spandex, tactel, lycra and other 'stretch' fabrics
*Nylon fiber
*Polyester fiber
*Polypropylene (comes under various common trade names such as Olefin or Herculon)
*Olefin fiber

Production methods

*Crochet – usually by hand.
*Felt – fibers are matted together to produce a cloth.
*Knitting – by hand or on knitting machines (see stocking frame).
*Knotting, including macrame: used in making nets.
*Lace – again both hand made and machine made.
*Pile fabrics – carpets and some rugs
*Velvet, velveteen, plush fabrics and similar have a secondary set of yarns which provide a pile.
*Weaving – the cloth is prepared on a loom, of which there are a number of types. Some weaving is still done by hand, but the vast majority is mechanised.


*Bleaching – where the natural or original colour of the textile is removed by chemicals or exposure to sunlight.
*Dyeing – adding colour to textiles: there is a vast range of dyes, natural and synthetic, some of which require mordants.
*Textile printing
*Embroidery – threads which are added to the surface of a finished textile for ornamentation.
*Waterproofing and other finishings.


Textiles have been used in almost every possible context where their properties are useful.
In cleaning
*Bags and other means of carrying objects
*Balloons, kites, sails, parachutes and other transport use. Early airplanes used cloth as part of the construction.
*Furnishings, including towels and table cloths
*Industrial and scientific uses, including filtering
*Rugs and carpets
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Textile".