Acrylic glass is a transparent thermoplastic often used in sheet form as a lightweight or shatter-resistant alternative to glass. It was developed in the 1930 by a number of chemists and brought to the market under the trademark Plexiglas.
Aomori Prefecture is a prefecture in the north of Japan. It is a remote region with a harsh climate and heavy snowfall during the winter. It is known for its volcanoes and mountainous terrain, lakes and hot springs.
Caoutchouc, also called India rubber, is a natural rubber that consists of polymers, organic compounds and water. It is harvested mainly in the form of latex from the rubber tree.
Truman Garcia Capote, 1924-84, was an American novelist, screenwriter and playwright. He began to write short stories from the age of eleven. Many of his writings have become literary classics, famously the novella Breakfast at Tiffany's (1958).
Anton Pavlovich Chekhov, 1860-1904, was a Russian playwright and short story writer. He is considered to be among the greatest writers of short fiction in history. Chekhov practised as a medical doctor throughout most of his literary career and treated the poor free of charge.
Citrine is a quartz gemstone found in shades of lemon, yellow, orange and sherry colours, sometimes referred to as lemon quartz.
In Greek mythology, Demeter is the goddess of the harvest and agriculture. She rules over grains and the fertility of the earth. Her emblem is the poppy.
Felt is a textile that is produced by matting, condensing and pressing fibres together. Felt can be made of natural fibres such as wool and has traditionally been used for padding, insulation and protection.
Furoshiki (風呂敷) are Japanese wrapping cloths traditionally used to transport clothes, gifts or other goods.
The name, meaning bath spread, derives from the Edo period (1603-1868) practice of using them to bundle clothing while at the public baths in order to prevent a mix up of clothes.
Modern furoshiki can be made of cloths such as silk, cotton or rayon. Even though there is no one set size for furoshiki, the most common dimensions are 45cm x 45cm and 68cm-72cm squared.
Gingham is a medium-weight, plain-woven fabric made from dyed cotton or cotton-blend yarn. It is made of carded medium or fine yarns, where the colouring is on the warp yarns and always along the grain (weft).
The name may originate from Malay genggang, meaning 'separate'. Still, there is also speculation that the fabric known as gingham today might have been named after Guingamp, a town in Brittany, France, where it may have been produced.
The technology for glass beadmaking is among the oldest human arts, dating back 3,000 years. Perhaps the earliest glass-like beads were Egyptian faience beads, a form of clay bead with a vitreous coating.
Gold is a chemical element with the symbol Au, from the Latin aurum. In its purest form, it is a bright, slightly reddish-yellow, dense, soft, malleable and ductile metal.
Ca. 155,000 tons of gold have been mined to date.
2,600 tons of gold are produced annually, 950 tons through recycling.
Onyx is a gemstone found in various regions of the world including Uruguay, Argentina, the USA, Canada, Crete and Yemen.
Onyx is a variety of chalcedony and has long been used for jewellery. It is usually cut into beads or cabochons or used for cameo engraving and intaglio.
Onyx was known to the Ancient Greeks and Romans. Pliny the Elder described onyx in his Naturalis Historia.
A pearl is a hard object produced within the soft tissue of a living shelled mollusc.
Pearls are composed of calcium carbonate in minute crystalline form, deposited in concentric layers.
The finest quality natural pearls have been highly valued as gemstones and objects of beauty for many centuries. Because of this, pearls have become a metaphor for something rare, fine, admirable and valuable.
Persephone is the daughter of Demeter and Zeus. She was abducted to the underworld by Hades. As a result, the seasons halted; living things ceased their growth and began to wither. Persephone's time in the underworld corresponds with the unfruitful seasons, her return to the upper world with springtime.
The Rhineland is a region in Germany along the river Rhine. Forty hill castles and fortresses were built between Bingen am Rhein and Koblenz, but apart from one all were destroyed over time.
Sashiko (刺し子), meaning 'little stabs' in Japanese, is a form of decorative reinforcement stitching or functional embroidery that started during the Edo era (1603-1868) out of practical need.
Sashiko uses mostly geometric patterns. Its two main styles either make use of patterns created with long lines of running stitches or patterns emerging from the alignment of single stitches made on grids.
Silver, the chemical element Ag, from the Latin argentum, is a soft, white and lustrous metal. It exhibits the highest reflectivity of any metal.
Pure silver (999 parts of 1000) is too soft for jewellery. For jewellery, sterling silver is used. It consists of 925 parts silver, 75 parts other metals, usually copper. It is therefore referred to as 925 sterling silver.
Silver has anti-bacterial properties.
Steel is an alloy of iron and other elements, primarily carbon. Its base metal is iron. It is widely used in construction because of its high tensile strength.
Steel is one of the most common materials in the world, with more than 1.3 billion tons produced annually.
A steppe is an ecological region, characterised by grassland plains. Trees only grow near rivers and lakes. The world's largest steppe region is found in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
Taormina is a town on the east coast of the island of Sicily. Its ancient theatre might date from Roman times but is most likely built on an earlier Greek structure dating from the middle of the third century B.C.
A tenugui (手拭い) is a Japanese hand towel made from thin plain-woven cotton. Tenugui typically measure about 35cm x 90cm and are dyed with a pattern. Their long sides are usually finished with a selvage, while their short sides are just cut and may show some fraying.
Tenugui were traditionally used as washcloths or dishcloths. Even though towels made from terry cloth have largely replaced them in household use, tenugui are still used to wrap bottles or similar items, as a head covering in kendo and as souvenirs.
Tweed is a woollen fabric, usually woven with a plain weave, twill or herringbone structure. Colour effects in the yarn are obtained by mixing dyed wool before it is spun. It is moisture-resistant and durable and is commonly worn for outdoor activities.
Tweed has its origins on the isles of the Scottish Outer Hebrides. It was hand-woven by the islanders using their own wool and helped them to battle the harsh climate.