Tuesday, September 30, 2014

WEIGHT and TRANSLUCENCY of fabrics for curtains

Post 104   by Gautam Shah ➔

WEIGHT and TRANSLUCENCY of fabrics for curtains .

Weight and Translucency of a fabric are two key factors for its suitability as an opening’s treatment material. Though both are co-related in that a heavy fabric is more opaque, and a translucent fabric is likely to be lighter, yet many contradictions exist. For the favour of one aspect the other can be manipulated. The final determinants for suitability of a fabric material for covering an opening depend on Treatments over a fabric, mode of hanging and pleating, presence or absence of a liner layer and the secondary treatments over the opening itself.


Fabrics are light because the fibres are thin or can be spun very finely, are filaments or long staple in nature and woven with a single weave or similar techniques. Fabrics or fibres dyed to lighter shades seem less heavy. The illumination conditions of the interior space, and the viewing position in the interior or exterior location, substantially affect the perception of transparency. A bright exterior or one that allows greater proportion of ‘sky component reflection’ (the reflected light from the sky) such as on sea coast, very vast open grounds, on upper section of windows tall buildings, and very bright or highly a reflective frontage of urban streets, all contribute to the brightness of window-backside (an exterior side). A bright exterior side and a glare-less interior, both add to the translucency. A glare is less dominant, when areas besides the curtain are reasonably illuminated or furnished in lighter shades. A direct sun-light exposure of the window makes the curtain seem opaque (at least from outside).

The perception of transparency is governed by the construction of the curtain, such as pleats, fall, back-layering, and the direction of the weave. The natural form of the fabric for curtain forming is the warp forming the vertical orientation (and the weft the horizontal position). A curtaining system, called Rail-roading, places the fabric, with weft forming the vertical orientation (and warp the horizontal position), makes the fabric seem more opaque. Curtains are also formed with fabrics of two colours or textures. The central or edge sections are formed with lighter (or white) fabric, allowing more light, feeling of lightness and view-through facility. 

SHEERS: A sheer fabric is very thin material which make it very translucent. Sheer curtains are known as privacy curtains. Some of the best sheer fabrics are of pure silk, but most of the commercial materials are made of synthetic filament yarn (long length fibres). Lattices like airy or nett woven fabrics are so pliable, flimsy and semi-transparent that they behave like a sheer fabric curtain. A sheer fabric has a natural graceful fall and allows light to filter through. Sheer fabric curtains nominally form the first layer in multiple curtains system. Such curtains allow a fuzzy view during day time, but at night may require an opaque topping of a curtain. Sheer fabric must not be used with a lining fabric to maintain its translucency. Sheer fabrics come in a wide variety of colours, but white and natural shades of whites, such as off-whites, cream, and ivory are popular. Sheer fabrics are also embellished and embroidered for patterns. Such extra work, however, increases the weight of the fabric at the cost of graceful fall. Sheer fabrics are commonly heavily pleated and so the total quantity of cloth required for a sheer curtain is little more then a curtain of regular fabric. Sheer fabrics, due to their thin body and the lattice like weaves, offer very little insulation.

Historically translucent fabrics used for lighter curtains include Chintz, Cretonne, Gauze, Muslin, Nets or Netting.


Sunday, September 21, 2014


Post 103 -by Gautam Shah

 One needs to find a place in a space. The place is not a pre-existing entity, but one that evolves with the relationships one establishes with the elements of the environment. The relationships are very often fleeting, and so the place in the space is evanescent. Finding a place in space for in-habitation is a far more complex process than this temporary positioning.
The process of finding a place in space occurs for known spaces as well as alien environments. In a familiar space and occupied by known persons, it is the purpose of being in the place that will regulate where and with whom one wants to be, or even not to be. For strange places, the intent to visit the place may pre-exist, or gets arranged as the space begins to actualize. The place in space develops as the space evolves.

The place in space is mainly for absorbing and exploiting the features of the space, and secondarily for recognizing and connecting with other occupants of the space. At another level the place is used for transiting to an appropriate orientation and body posture, and for deciding on the next place for occupation.

The encounter with the space is one continuum, which develops with improvisations. The approach to a reasonable place initiates the next process that of orienting own self. Orienting own self to elements and people in the space potentiates new relationships. Some levels of judgements regarding the orientation though may have already been pre-formed.

The advance to a place and forming an orientation is for finding a place of securing or stabilizing. One may occupy such place or simply orient to it by maintaining a ‘non-committal’ distance. A non-committal distance is observed for both, people and objects. It depends on the perceptive faculties, degree of intra-personal relationships desired, the nature of solace and support required from the spatial elements, and how much one wants to be exposed.

During the approach to place, while being in the place, and through resolving the orientation, one begins to posturise the body. Some form of a stable version of the posture occurs at the place in space. The body orientation and posture, both represent a moment of conclusion. One has found an anchorage, a place in space worthy to be.

One shifts from place to place, takes on varied postures, to not only express own self but be perceptive. Through it one exploits spatial features such as elements (facilities, amenities, gadgets, tools, natural and architectural entities) and environmental causation for next set of action (change), expression, communication and perception.


Friday, September 12, 2014


 Post 102 -  by Gautam Shah 

Entrance to cave no. 19 in Ajanta Caves complex, India Wikipedia Image by Marcin BiaƂek

An Entrance is associated with the presence of a door or gate, and it is a point of arrival or departure. The entrance, however as a place has much wider significance, of the associated intermediate entities, like the verandah, porch, courtyard, vestibule, lobby, hall, foyer, archway, arch, porte-cochere (a carriage entrance passing through a building to an enclosed courtyard), vomitory (an entrance to an amphitheater or stadium), etc. 

An entrance is a recognition that there is an enclosure (place), and one needs the privilege (of entering), and the opportunity (structured facility) to do so. The enclosure is a finite spatial entity, the privilege derives from the purpose and familiarity, whereas the opportunities facilitate the process of transition. With entrance one begins to socialize with the residents of the abode.
The entrance to Dartmoor Prison wikipedia image by Brian Henley

The entrance is a point of connection, introduction, incursion, intrusion, penetration or admission, but always overflowing with possibilities. It is a point of coming of the good or evil, friend or enemy, known or unknown, invited and uninvited. It is a place of fears, doubts and dangers as well as hope, fulfillment and safety.  Entrance is also an exit, as often both co-exist in space as same or parallel entities. Entrance is associated with excitement, expectations and surprise, whereas an exit is an escape to freedom, disappointment, a desired or enforced change. Entrances are made bold, exciting and impressive to denote the change but exits are dull, unmarked and passive. 

An entrance is a transitory facility, where one is expected to leave out the physical baggage, carriers, bearers, vehicles and also drop-out the personal beliefs and prejudices. It is only at the entrance one realizes what one can do without. Even if one gains an entry somewhere, the past catches up, similarly there is no escape on the exit, as seamlessly one enters a new domain.
A visitor, and everything else, is expected to arrive at the main door, in spite of many other convenient points. Means of physical and spiritual defense or totems are placed here even though there may be more vulnerable locations in a building. The exit, however, occurs through less known or least expected points, such as ‘windowing’ (a practice of throwing unwanted person or object out of a window rather then a door -so that there is no chance of return).
If the en-trance is an entrance that beguiles the visitor and captivates the attention. The en-trance is the first impression that makes a lasting effect, due to the novelty of experience and the environmental and architectural facilitation. If (Entr)-ance is the action or process of doing something, then an entrance offers that amply. The first entry of an actor into a scene is called entrance. The place, time and purpose of entrance, are always fascinating as something new dawns. The entrance is a point in a musical score, at which a performer begins, as it is the only point where one can be relevant.


Monday, September 1, 2014


Post 101   by Gautam Shah ➔
GLASS ENGRAVING on Windows of St Nicholas Church, Moreton, Dorset.


Engraving is the practice of incising a design or pattern onto a hard, usually flat surface, traditionally of copper, by cutting grooves into it. Other materials for engraving include Gold, Silver, Ceramics, Nickel, Steel, Brass, Titanium, Wood Gems, Precious stones, Glass and Acrylics. Traditional engraving, by burin, graver (sharp pointed hardened steel hand tools) or with the use of mechanical or pneumatic and laser machines by goldsmiths, glass engravers, gunsmiths, and others. It is used for producing images on paper, in artistic printmaking, in map-making, and utensils texturing. Modern professional engravers can engrave up to 40 lines per mm.

Engravers tools -Burins

Engravers tools

While engraving when pressure is applied with a hammer, the process is called carving. The tools have not only use hardened carbide tips but also diamond bits. The feed (the depth the tool is allowed to incise), the speed (slow, fast) the movement (vibratory, non-circular etc.), are all often predefined and controlled. Identical patterns are incised by using masters or by controlling the feed through a pantograph. Pantographs are also used to enlarge, reduce the scale, directionally stretch or even reverse orientation of the pattern. Automatic mechanical engraving tools can do as fine a work like a gramophone record or lasers can engrave a CD.

Engraving work piece Holder

Pantograph used for enlarging and reducing details

 Computer controlled engraving

Laser Engraving

Linocut engraving


Engraving is done by removing a narrow fillet of metal with a cutting or graving tool, whereas Chasing is made by depressing the surface with a blunt point and hammering along the line to be delineated, but without removing any material.

Both of these techniques are widely used for precious metals. Chasing is accomplished with a hammer and punches on the face of the metal. These punches are so shaped that they are capable of producing any effect, either in intaglio, incising beneath the surface of the metal, or in relief. The design is traced on the surface, and the relief may be obtained by beating down the adjacent areas to form the background.

Such chased relief work sometimes simulates embossed work, but in the latter process the design is bossed up from the back. The detailed finish of embossed work is accomplished by chasing.

The term chasing is also used to describe the touching up and finishing of cast work with hand-held punches. Engraving involves cutting or incise a line, broken line, dot or point on a surface of metal. Engraving is always done with a cutting tool, generally by pressure from the hand. It detaches material in cutting.


Engraving and Etchings are processes that offer closer results. Etching is done by removing a material by acid or mordant the unprotected parts of a metal surface to create a design in intaglio. Etching is used to create patterns and designs over glass, plastics, metals, stones and marine products like conch, sea and egg shells.

Sea shell etched

Egg Shell etched



Repousse or Repoussage is a process to form patterns or images in low relief, on a malleable sheet metal surface by hammering from the back side. Chasing is the opposite technique to Repousse. Repousse is used from the other face of the metal to form a raised design on the front, whereas chasing is used to refine the design on the front of the work by sinking the metal. Both the processes are used, to a form a design. It is also known as embossing. There is no loss of metal in the process, as it is stretched locally and the surface remains continuous.

Etruscan Mirror



  Post 171 -by Gautam Shah .  SUNDAY Feature on ART of Architecture John Terrick Williams (1860-1936) was a British painter, who was a me...