Cloth, Wood and Paper

Cotton-Chris Vona

White Oak


Cloth is a finished piece of fabric that can be used for purposes such as clothing, bed and bath linens, hygenic accessories, etc. Cloth is a textile that comes from the inter-weaving of fiber. A textile, such as cloth or linen, can be produced by running cotton through a cotton gin or other fibers through similar machines. These fibers are then woven together to form a textile. The production of textiles dates back to prehistoric times. Textiles and fibers can be woven into many things
Type of Cloth Artwork
Type of Cloth Artwork
. (Santhanam).
Types of Cloth
Types of Cloth

There are many types of textiles. Most are made from natural fibers. Fibers that come from animals are materials such as wool and silk. Fibers that come from plants are materials such as cotton, flax, bamboo, and hemp. Fibers that come from minerals are materials such as asbestos or basalt fibers. There are also synthetic fibers: Spandex and nylon are both types of synthetic textiles. They are synthetic because they are engineered instead of being made from naturally occurring substances. (Santhanam). Whether natural or synthetic, the textile industry has taken fibers and created many fabrics that we use and thrive on today.

The discovery of the Mulberry tree, Broussonetia papyrifera, over 2,000 years ago introduced our world to paper. Currently used as our major form of communication, paper quickly became recognized as the most useful and innovative forms of communication. Paper soon overshadowed previous forms, such as clay tablets, papyrus scrolls and sheep-skin parchments. The discovery that allowed for the advancement was made by Ts'ai Lun, a Chinese government offiexternal image Paper04.gifcial and scholar. He found out that plant fibers separated and suspended in water could form their own matted material- paper. This "pulp" he created was made into a mold through the use of bamboo strips and cloth mesh. Later, materials often used in the paper-making process were cotton, hemp, linen, wood, and bamboo.
The industrialization of the paper-making process has had many detrimental effects on the environment from the sole use of wood. These mills released many toxic chemicals into the air by using the bleaching process bringing about air pollution and solid wastes. Paper making is also extremely resource intensive. Vast areas of land are deforested in order to harvest wood for paper pulp; mills consume large amounts of water and energy resources as well (CWAC n.d.). Due to these negative consequences, many people have looked for new ways to improve paper production by recycling and by introducing raw materials, such as kenaf and hemp.

Hard/Soft Wood

Wood and wood products probably fall right behind food in importance considering plants that society depends on. Wood has been in our history since the first lever was matched with the first wedge, or since the first tamed flames of fire warmed cavemen millennia ago. Since then, we have found a plethora of other uses including fuel, paper, building materials, musical instruments, and various aesthetic purposes, among other things. Wood use has increased 40% since 1960 and is expected to increase by another 50% by 2050. Wood is a cheap, reliable source of building materials and is often taken for granted because it is “renewable.” A study conducted by the Consortium for Research on Renewable Industrial Materials (CORRIM) used life cycle assessment to examine wood, concrete and steel for their environmental impact in residential applications. This information may seem promising at first, being that there is a rise in the consumption of the least environmentally harmful of the three, but with less than one tree being planted for every ten cut down in South America, this resource will become less renewable with every tree cut down. Wood consis
An oak tree, made of the most economically important hardwood in the U.S.
An oak tree, made of the most economically important hardwood in the U.S.
ts of secondary xylem, mainly dead cells involved in the transport of water and sap (nutrients) and that provide support for the plant. Hardwood refers to angiosperm trees; softwood refers to gymnosperm trees, also known as conifers, though not all hardwoods are harder than all softwoods and vice versa. The centermost region of secondary xylem in a tree is known as heartwood; it is relatively dry and the cells often contain tannins, gums, and resins, which accumulate in this area and help to prevent decay. The region outside the heartwood is sapwood, which functions in both support and conduction which keeps the sapwood cells moist under normal conditions. For lumber use, heartwood is preferred because it is resistant to decay and less likely to warp because of its drier characteristics. Many of a wood’s characteristics are determined by the thickness of the cell walls and the proportion of vessels, thracheids, and fibers that make it up. In softwoods, tracheids and parenchyma are the only cell types present, forcing them to provide for conduction and support of the plant. In hardwoods, fibers are the support elements, allowing the plant to concentrate its cellular efforts more efficiently. The frequency and distribution of these components are distinctive for various species and contribute to the characteristic grain of each. The prominence of annual rings and the direction of cutting also contribute to grain, along with the presence of knots (old branch bases grown over by the trunk).The greatest use of softwood lumber is for home construction; pine is valued because it is light but strong. Douglas fir is desired for plywood and large beams. Other important softwoods include spruce, hemlock, bald cypress, and red cedar. The oaks are the most economically important hardwoods in the U.S. White oak has very heavy, durable, attractive wood and is widely used in furniture, cabinets, flooring, trim, and whisky barrels.Black oak is not as strong as white oak and is used for general construction, flooring,furniture, posts, and railroad ties. Other important hardwood trees are black walnuts, hickories, maples, sweetgums, tulip trees, and birches.


Clean Water Action Council of N.E. Wisconsin. (n.d.). Environmental Impacts of the Paper Industry. Retrieved on 8 December 2009 from

Oregon Forests Research Institute, comp. "Sustainability." Forest Facts. Oregon Forests Research Institute, 15 Nov. 2009. Web. 23 Nov. 2009. <>.