Tuesday, April 2, 2013

5 Ws of... Damask

 What: Damask is a firm, lustrous fabric of linen, cotton, silk or rayon, made with flat patterns in a satin weave on a plain-woven ground by jacquard looms.

Who:  Joseph Marie Jacquard invented the Jacquard Loom in 1801 – an invention widely credited with simplifying the weaving process and popularizing weaves including damask, brocade and matelasse. 

Where: Damasks derive their name from the city of Damascus, a center of production and trading during the Middle Ages.

When: During the early Middle Ages, damask was one of the five basic weaving techniques of Byzantine and Islamic weaving centers.  The word “damask” first appeared in records in a Western European language – French – in the mid-Fourteenth Century, about the same time they were being woven on draw looms in Italy. 

Why: “The light in the drawing room gave the illusion of a spring day.  It bounced off the green damask curtains, the Louis XVI chairs covered with flowering tapestries, the malachite tables, and was reflected in the crystal objects scattered around the room…” – Patrick O’Higgins describing Helena Rubinstein’s Paris Apartment
Info via Wikipedia and mw.com.  Images via House & Home and Philips.