29.06.2012 § Leave a Comment
One of the subconscious reasons I started to study Japanese was to be able to read Japanese textile-related articles. The Japanese people’s ability to maintain a catalogue of their traditional color names throughout history with actual colors samples is most amazing to me. I brought back five of these kinds of books with me from Japan. My fever of studying color names was reignited when I purchased a Japanese-English dictionary last year at the Mizuwa Marketplace bookstore in Arlington Heights. At the front, there are about five pages of color blocks with name identifications. I was in awe to see that a common little dictionary would have such a professional level of color work. « Read the rest of this entry »
21.06.2012 § Leave a Comment
About 25 years ago, before I started Brentano, I was studying the vegetable dye color names of ancient China. This interest was first initiated by the incredible color descriptions in a classical Chinese novel depicting the lives of the aristocracy. I wrote a lyrical prose piece about “color names in literature” that was published in a Chinese publication and have been hooked on the subject ever since.
I wrote to a textile historian once who was a professor at the then Hwa Tung Textile Academy in Shanghai. To my surprise, he wrote me back and awarded me with many texts with old Chinese weaving references and some of their vegetable-dyed scarf samples to identify the names of the dyes that I had questioned him about in my letter—such as Su Fong, Madder and Gardenia, etc. Some of those color names were among the early product color names I used when the color inspiration derived from this lineage.
These two scarves are dyed with Shiso Leaf (lavender), Gardenia (yellow), and Su Fang Wood (red). My notes about the dyes are in pencil.
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14.06.2012 § 1 Comment
Would you dry clean your sofa?
For our polyurethane product, we typically recommend that clients clean it with soap and water. In a tough stain situation, the “solvent resistant finish” on our polyurethane means that rubbing alcohol or a solution of 1:5 diluted household bleach to water is also safe to use. All of these cleaning agents have been tested at Brentano and in our mill’s lab along with Windex, Murphy’s oil soap, and Formula 409.
That’s not an exhaustive list because clients often have specific cleaners they want to use. Recently I was asked about using dry cleaning chemicals, namely Perc and hydrocarbon solvents. According to our mill, there are many kinds of hydrocarbon solvent products. The exact chemical formulas are usually trade secrets, so it is difficult to find out exactly what is in a particular solvent, and the only way to find out what kind of effect it will have is to test it. « Read the rest of this entry »