Raw materials and art – 37. Straw and Van Gogh

2023-08-07 06:20:22

Switzerland is a hub for commodity trading. Did you know that this activity represents 4% of Swiss GDP, and even 22% of tax revenue for the canton of Geneva. This week, we are talking about straw. We will see what straw is. Then, we will examine its use.

This gives us the opportunity to admire above a painting by Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890): Self-portrait with a straw hat, exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

What is straw?

The straw, from Latin palea, is an agricultural waste consisting of culms (stalks of cereals) at the end of the maturation of the plant. Straw is essentially composed of cellulose, lignin, waxes, minerals and silicates, very similar to tall plants.

How is straw used?

The use of straw dates back to antiquity. This was used as an alternative to wool and served from the construction of ropes to the stuffing of mattresses (straw or mattresses). In livestock farming, it is used as a fodder supplement for ruminants and goats and especially as bedding on the floor of stables. Mixed with manure, it forms slurry.

Straw is therefore exploited for its insulating power. It is also used as a ground cover material in vegetable patches and gardens – known as mulching. It can be part of the compost heap for organic waste. Some industries also use it to make cellulosic paper.

After sulfur treatment, the lightweight straw is woven and used to make hats and bags. In furniture, it is mainly used for upholstering chairs. In saddlery, it constitutes the padding of saddles and horse collars.

Straw as a building material

Covering the roofs with straw is a very old custom.

Its entry into the world of the house dates back more than 10,000 years, it is only in recent years that straw has started to be talked about. as a substitute for modern materials.

Straw has returned to center stage as a building material. There are several reasons for this: The economic crisis, concern for the environment, people’s health and their wallets, the search for less energy-intensive materials.

It offers both excellent thermal insulation and good weather resistance. Moreover, today, when eco-sustainability has become an imperative, straw, with its low environmental impact, is widely used for the construction of entire buildings and not just roofs.

In the same series, “Raw materials and art”:

  1. Cereals and Van Gogh
  2. Coffee and culture
  3. Cotton and Edgar Degas
  4. Cocoa and Luis Meléndez
  5. Sugar and Sartre
  6. Copper and Chardin
  7. Steel and Gayle Hermick
  8. Corn and Jean Mortel
  9. Biogas and Victor Hugo
  10. Hydrogen and the aerostatic globe
  11. The wind, Da Vinci and Monnet
  12. The Sun and Firedrich
  13. L’or et Klimt
  14. Barley and antiquity
  15. Le soja et Seikei Zusetsu
  16. L’aluminium et Jule Verne
  17. Le riz and Morimura Gitō
  18. Money and the Elblag Museum
  19. Tin and Jean Trek
  20. Oats and Géricault
  21. Milk and Vermeer
  22. Water and Renoir
  23. Potato and Millet
  24. Lapis lazuli and the Scrovegni Chapel in Padua
  25. Honey and Cosimo’s Stone
  26. The Sorbet and the Ottoman Sorbet Vendor
  27. Spices and the Moluccas
  28. Marble and the Venus de Milo
  29. The Olive Tree and the Painter of Antimenes
  30. The paper and a woodblock print of the Tiangong Kaiwu
  31. La laine et Jakob Jordaens
  32. Vanilla and the Florentine Codex
  33. Tea and its legends
  34. Salt and Saline de Bex
  35. The slate and the Duvivier medallion
  36. Iron and warrior figure with spear and shield

Sources :

Straw as a building material | Archipaglia

Straw – Fodder (pellegriniforaggi.com)

Straw or hay? What differences SLM Italy

Credit photo : commons.m.wikimedia.org

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#Raw #materials #art #Straw #Van #Gogh

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