WHAT IS DAMASK?
Damask is a weaving technique which originated in China during the Han Dynasty (200 BC), where it was used for producing colourful, precious silk fabrics. The technique spread from the Orient via the Silk Road and Damascus in Syria became the centre of the damask weaving technique. In the Middle Ages, the technique appeared in Southern Europe and moved northwards, finding a new centre in Haarlem, Holland. This is where the Georg Jensen family encountered the weaving technique and brought it back to Denmark.
The damask weaving technique is characterised by dense, fine-threaded textiles. The relief pattern with matt and glossy surfaces is created by the alternating dominance of weft and warp.
Weaving involves intertwining two thread systems at right angles, where the longitudinal threads form the warp and the transverse threads the weft. Looms can be either foot-powered or jacquard. Foot-powered looms produce simple checked and striped patterns, while jacquard weaving allows the sophisticated patterns and designs familiar to damask tablecloths.
Bindings are the intersections created whenever warp and weft pass each other in a pattern. There are three basic bindings – linen binding, twill binding and satin binding. GEORG JENSEN DAMASK uses all three binding methods depending on the final product. The different bindings enhance the optimal look of the various designs in different ways.
Linen binding is the simplest of the three bindings and is used in GEORG JENSEN DAMASK sheets. The warp alternatively passes over and under the weft. The binding ensures a hardwearing product.
Twill binding produces a diagonal pattern in the fabric. In twill binding, the warp passes over two and under one weft thread. Because the binding has fewer intersections than linen binding, the result is the very soft fabric familiar from GEORG JENSEN DAMASK tea towels.
The warp passes over four and under one weft thread in a 5-bindig satin. Satin binding produces a very smooth product with a glossy surface. It is therefore the most common binding in GEORG JENSEN DAMASK tablecloths and bed linen. Products woven with satin bindings are also characterised by softness and density.
Cotton, flax and wool can be dyed in several ways: As fibres before spinning and twining, as fabric (piece dyeing) – and as yarn. GEORG JENSEN DAMASK mainly dyes the yarns, as this kind of dyeing provides furnishing fabrics with maximum colour fastness and washability. Yarn dyeing also allows us to work with different colours and thereby create greater contrasts in the design. In the dyeing process, the relationship of dye, temperature and time are carefully adjusted and controlled. To achieve a product which is easy to process, tolerates washing at 60 degrees and ironing or mangling at max. 200 degrees without loss of colour, our requirements in relation to colour and light fastness are high. However, even a light-fast colour will gradually fade – especially if exposed to sunlight, which is much stronger than indirect day light.
The following factors need to be taken into account:
• A glass pane does not protect the fabric from fading, even though it prevents penetration of ultraviolet rays.
• High air humidity speeds up fading.
• Drying washing in sunlight has a bleaching effect.
arious additional useful qualities can be added to cotton yarns and woven cotton fabrics through finishing. GEORG JENSEN DAMASK uses mercerising, which is a permanent finishing process for cotton products which cannot be washed away. The treatment results in a smooth, glossy look and makes the fibres stronger and more dirt-resistant.
Sheets are finished by sanforising. Sanforising is deliberate shrinking, which stabilises the fabric and thereby protect the product dimensions.