Non-woven materials

Non-woven materials

Attush is a form of bark cloth made from the inner fibre of the elm tree bark (Ulmus genus). Attush was traditionally made by the indigenous Ainu people of northern Japan. Young trees were cut down and stripped of their inner bark. The bark was soaked in water, then bleached and dried in the sun.

Buckskin is the soft preserved hide of an animal, such as a cow, deer, elk, moose or sheep. The English term ‘buck-skin’ derives from the word ‘buck’, meaning a male deer. The first recorded English use of the term dates back to AD 1433. Since 1804 the term has also specifically referred to a sheepskin that is processed in order to look like buckskin.

Cuvette is a general term for a particular type of round sequin that has raised, faceted sides. The word comes from the French diminutive for cuve, meaning an ornamental, shallow dish for holding water. Cuvettes used for decorative needlework may be made of glass, metal, plastic, etc.

Cyclope neritea is a marine gastropod mollusc, and more specifically a species of sea snail that belongs to the Nassariidae family. The shell is similar in appearance to the whelk. C. Neritea lives in the Atlantic off Europe, in the Mediterranean Sea and the Black Sea. A Mesolithic example of the use of C. neritea shells being used for decorating garments comes from the site of Vlasac (Serbia) and dates to about 6500 BC.

Feathers are skin growths (similar in idea to human skin hair) that form the outer covering (plumage) on birds. Feathers are made from a protein called keratin. There are normally two layers of feathers, namely the upper layer that is for protection and an under layer used to keep the bird warm.

Felt is a fabric formed by the matting together of fibres, generally sheep’s wool or wool and hair, under heat and pressure. This form of cloth is used for non-woven fabrics. A fabric with a woven structure under a felt-like surface is described as fulled.

The pharyngeal teeth of various types of fish have been used by many communities for decorating clothing. These teeth are located at the back of the fish’s mouth. Often the teeth were removed from the jaw during the process of cleaning and cooking of the fish. The teeth were then perforated, so they could be used as jewellery or as decoration on garments.

A porcupine is a rodent with a coat of sharp spines or quills, which are used to protect the animal against predators. Porcupines belong to the family of the Erethizontidae (genera: Chaetomys, Coendou, Echinoprocta, Erethizon and Sphiggurus) or of the Hystricidae (genera: Atherurus, Hystrix and Trichys). Porcupines are indigenous to Africa, the Americas, Europe and Southern Asia.

Punchinella is a strip of plastic, often coloured, which is left over after small discs or shapes for cuvettespaillettes or sequins have been punched out of a larger sheet of material. Punchinella is also called ‘sequin waste', ‘sequin scrim’ and very occasionally, 'stampotique'.

A quill is the main shaft in a bird’s feather and it is also the name for the hollow spine of a porcupine. They are composed of keratin. Porcupine quills and to a lesser extent, bird quills, have been used for centuries by indigenous communities in Africa and North America to decorate garments and other objects.