canvas, strong, coarse cloth of cotton, flax, hemp, or other fibers, early used as sailcloth. Left in its natural color, bleached, or dyed, it has a wide variety of uses, as for game, duffel, sport, mail, and nose bags, tennis shoes, covers, tents, and awnings. Waterproofed with tar, paint, or the like, it is called tarpaulin and used to protect boats, hatches, and machinery. Duck is a fine light quality used for summer clothing, awnings, and sails. Artists' canvas is a light, smooth, single-warp texture, specially treated to receive paint. Art or embroidery canvas is an open-mesh type, usually linen, for working in crewels and for needlepoint.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.