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Burn Test: How to Identify Natural Fibers

Tamara Lipscomb

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My first journal entry!!! Finally a little downtime in between shows, designing and creating!

Cartameb II is my voice merging my career in Fashion and studies in Landscape Architecture through design and fluid form.  I'm all about texture and softscape, while being kind to our environment.

 Why Fiber Jewelry?

I am fascinated with flexibility of fibers and the impact it has on our environment. Natural fibers allow me to make my own changes that tailor to Cartameb II’s style. Natural fibers are defined as substances produced by plants and animals that can be spun into filament, thread or rope and further be woven, knitted, matted or bound. See all that versatility!

In a nutshell,  Natural Fibers are produced by plants and animals opposed to Synthetic Fibers which are basically man made.  Although I use natural fibers for various sustainable reasons, synthetic fibers still have important functions in our daily lives such as  stretching, waterproofing and stain resistance:

  I mean, you need that umbrella to stay dry! Don’t you?! And Thank goodness your work-out clothes stretch, mold to your body while keeping you cool! No matter how hard you sweat it out! Synthetic fibers have their benefits.

But the benefits for using Natural Fibers out way the uses of Synthetic, especially in their disposal stage.  They can break down like compost and improve soil structure by decaying through the action of fungi and bacteria..  High five to NO Toxic Pollutants!

How to know you’re using natural fibers.

So the simple trick we would use in the Fashion Industry when some random fabric would show up at the studio with no clear details is: THE BURN TEST

So YES FRIENDS  the test does include FIRE.  By burning a small portion of the fabric (trim, cord etc), you can see if the fabric is 100% natural or include synthetic fibers based on their reaction to the fire.


Natural Fibers burn crispy and crumble to  ashes.


Synthetic Fibers melt with no ashes.

But as you can see the synthetic fibers melt like hot plastic! Which is also useless for my natural dyes!  Super safe for you use the Burn Test at home to prepare for your DIY projects. Do not allow the flame to last longer than a few seconds.  Especially with natural fibers.  They tend to blaze rather quickly!

Thanks so much for reading my first journal post.  Till the next time!