The Duomo in Florence, Italy
This past June I had the privilege of travelling to Florence to take a one week workshop at the Fondazione Arte della Seta Lisio. There were only three students - myself and...shown below on the right...Abbas Kahn from India and Georgia Hughes from England.....
and two very knowledge, flexible and accommodating teachers - left to right - Julie Holyoke and Eva Basile. Julie has recently authored a book, Digital Jacquard Design to be released in the UK in October 2013, and in North America in December 2013. My main goal was to become familiar with the whole process as I am an experiential learnerFrom the moment I walked into the Fondazione Arte della Seta Lisio, I felt it was a great honour to be there and to see these remarkable jacquard looms in operation, along with being surrounded by all its history, tradition and its heritage. I was even more astounded that I had a chance to weave on them. Lisio has created fabrics for many powerful and wealthy individuals and for theatre and movie sets.
Lisio created the fabric for Elizabeth Taylor's dress for the movie the Taming of the Shrew.
Gian Paoulo Cerchiarini weaving a voided velvet.It required a certain amount of physical effort to weave with the ‘manual’ jacquard loom. This gave me greater appreciation for the work it took to weave velvet, both in preparing the cards and the weaving of it.
We selected an image from my files and we again went through the process of preparing the point sheet on the computer, but this time, no cards were required. The software would allow us to weave the design directly. I worked with a flying shuttle for the first time and I loved it. Each weft was programmed and pressing on the powered pedal raised the correct threads in the warp to create the image.
After my course I went to the Uffize gallery, the Pitti Palace, the Costume gallery....where I saw many paintings that painstakingly rendered the rich and sumptuous textiles (velvets, damasks, gros de tour etc) of the period and from which Lisio took his inspiration. In this portrait of Eleonore of Toledo with son Giovanni by Bronzino, one feels you can almost touch the actual velvet. Every loop, every pile and the glistening of the silk seems so real. Many other painters such as Gusto Sustermans, Van Dyck, Titian, Rubens, Rafael, Signorelli, abd Botticelli to name a few, also rendered textiles superbly and convincingly.
In closing I am hoping to return and bring with me other students who want to share this unique and inspiring experience. A maximum of 5 to 6 students at a time and the workshops will be offered in the summer. If you think you are interested contact me (Line Dufour) at firstname.lastname@example.org.