Waseda University

11.08.2014 § Leave a comment

My first week at Waseda University for a short-term, intensive summer Japanese class started with a bit of heat shock. The classroom is different every day, and the teacher is different for almost every class even when the subject is the same. Despite the heat, students are encouraged to climb the stairs to any classroom below the fifth floor. The professors are not very happy if you are late for class, so I have been running to look for classes every day in this blazing hot sun.

Still, I have had time to explore and found some great Japanese textiles, museum collections and books from their library. I’ve always found the manhole covers in Japan fascinating too, so I couldn’t help but take pictures of the ones I’ve found so far on the university campus.

Kimono Collection, Tokyo National Museum

Kimono Collection, Tokyo National Museum

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Discovery Collection Inspiration

30.01.2014 § Leave a comment

Hill and Dale pillows

I keep a loose diary on where I go and what I see, but the things that impress me the most usually become burned in my mind. Those are the ones that spark design ideas and eventually become patterns for Brentano products. « Read the rest of this entry »

Sustainability Consciousness

18.10.2013 § Leave a comment

Sustainability awareness has prevailed for the last decade. Although actual results are hard to see and many people are still indifferent to the movement, people in general are behaving more carefully and improvements are being made. Agriculture’s IPM systems are one example of the shift.

In our textile industry’s new eco standard, the Sustainability Assessment for Commercial Furnishings Fabric (NSF/ANSI 336), natural fibers grown using Integrated Pest Management (IPM) systems can earn extra points. « Read the rest of this entry »

Maple Key Design

19.10.2012 § Leave a comment

I designed a maple key pattern about ten years ago, but it was not successful as a fabric and I never introduced it. I am making the attempt again and making some studies. Maybe it will become a Brentano fabric design one day.

Maple Keys on Tree Stumps « Read the rest of this entry »

Bathtubs and Robes

12.07.2012 § Leave a comment

A Cultural Difference

I got into the habit of taking hot baths after experiencing the hot spring bath culture in Japan, and I started to notice the difference between the hotels in Japan and the US. First, the bathtubs in Japan are shorter but deeper so the water covers a person up to her neck. By contrast, the hotel tubs in the US are longer but shallower. If a person wants to warm up her knees and shoulders at the same time it is a bit hard. One has to sit up straight to soak her knees or lie down completely and bend her knees to soak her shoulders in hot water. Atami Hot Springs

Atami Hot Springs

Atami Hot Springs

I also noticed that the hotels in Japan always prepare you with a toothbrush and toothpaste and a pair of disposable slippers.  None of these could be found at the Minneapolis Hilton I checked into when I visited our representative in Minnesota.  « Read the rest of this entry »

All-Purpose Cleaners for Our PU

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 »

NFPA 701: How to Read the Test Results

26.03.2012 § Leave a comment

(No. 3 of 3) It is very common for people to request copies of our test results, especially fire test results, for their records. I imagine they are usually just looking for the note at the bottom that says that the fabric “complies” or “meets the requirements.” When a fabric doesn’t pass the test, that’s when we start looking at the other numbers. So what do all of those numbers mean, anyway? « Read the rest of this entry »

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