Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Tyvek

In response to Mrs Locket's question "What's Tyvek?????" I thought I would explain to those of you unfamiliar. Tyvek is a man made material made from polyethelene. It comes in different weights, the heaviest of which is a paper like film, often used for envelopes. Because it is water resistant and virtually impossible to tear it is often used for mailing important documents.

The lighter weight tyvek is a lot more like fabric with a soft handle.

This weight is used for scene of crime officers suits because as well as being protective it also doesn't shed fibres so will not contaminate crime scenes.

This unlikely looking material can be painted with water based paints - I usually use watered down acrylics or silk paints. It can then be stitched, layered, cut etc in all sorts of ways... and then comes the interesting part. It can be heated using an iron (over baking parchment) or a heat gun which causes the tyvek to melt, bubble and distort creating heavily textured effects.


Both weights can be used in the same way, the fabric producing slightly more subtle effects and the result can be as wild and wacky as you like. It makes great "exotic" flowers.

And fabulous sculptural beads.

And if you want to have a whole day investigating and playing with this material, I'm teaching a tyvek class at Art and Stitch in Peterborough on Saturday 12th September... would love to see you!

24 comments:

  1. Thank you Gina - that's really interesting. I get one of those envelopes every month - it will now join the 'useful materials' pile!

    Celia

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  2. Thank you for that. very interesting. Where do you buy it??

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  3. Gosh! That's interesting. I shall never get annoyed with that type of envelope again. x

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  4. Really interesting, I've often wondered what those envelopes are made of! Very tempted by the day course. Peterborough isn't far...

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  5. Who can I write to who will reply in a Tyvek envelope? I love the stuff and your flowers and beads. Would you consider moving to the Bristol area please as Peterborough is a bit of a trek for me!!

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  6. How interesting! The beads look amazing.

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  7. Wow Gina! I'm so amazed that you would even think to do something fun with tyvek. You're so talented! It just goes to show that we should look at our surroundings with open minds!

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  8. Wow! I love those flowers and something I've never heard of before.
    Thanks for that!

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  9. Great tyvek post, I particularly love your beads. I love how everyone's beads turn out differently!! Oh and thanks for visiting me recently Gina, I am just now catching up with everyone! Have a great week! Carolyn xx

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  10. Thank you very much for the explanation Gina! Are you sure you don't want ot move your classes further north????

    Lucy x

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  11. thanks for the explanation!!! wish i lived nearer and i would come to your class!

    xxx

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  12. What a fascinating post! Beautiful flowers.

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  13. Now that you've explained it, it's even more interesting!!

    Thanks for that Gina :-)

    xxx

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  14. Material Concepts is a Tyvek master distributor. We have a lot of information about the various styles and uses for Tyvek on our website - see: http://www.materialconcepts.com/products/tyvek/. We also have a blog on innovative uses of Tyvek - check out http://www.materialconcepts.com/tyvek-blog/. We see many ways Tyvek is used in creating art work, fashion and archiving art and post about them on this blog.

    And if you would like to purchase Tyvek for use in your art projects, please check out the Tyvek section of our website http://www.materialconcepts.com/products/tyvek/ where you get more info on Tyvek or purchase Tyvek online.

    Thank you very much for your post about how you are using Tyvek in your work.

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  15. Perhaps you could mention to those SOCOs that white tyvek is so last year and you happen to have some brusho, markal paintsticks and a heatgun about your person.

    Let the transformation begin...

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  16. I have never used this material before.
    How I wished I lived a bit nearer so I could go on your course.x

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  17. oh wow - that stuff you made looks amazing - am sure we have loads of that stuff in the stationary cupboard at work...thanks!

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  18. Your flowers and beads look fabulous, it's amazing how we can create such wonderful things from materials that were developed for something else.

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  19. You managed to make tyvek look gorgeous. I had a brief fling in the name of research for a class I was teaching. I'll refer them to you next time!

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  20. wow thats really intresting.. and fab too!

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  21. I am a real wuss when it comes to experimenting with new materials, but those beads might just tempt me! I received my parcel today Gina and have done lots of gasping. The chocolates are exquisite. I feel so honoured to have them, Thank you. xx

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  22. What amazing pieces of work, they are all beautiful.

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  23. Well, what an interesting read about Tyvek - love what you made, Gina.

    Lesley

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  24. Gina,
    I'm so glad I found your blog! These are the best pictures of Tyvek on the web, and the first I've learned that it comes in such different weights. I've been trying to find the name of the material that many sewn-in labels and tags are made of...it's super lightweight; more than I thought Tyvek was. From this post, it seems it may, in fact, be Tyvek after all.

    Is there anything else like it?

    -Jennie

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