Monday, July 19, 2010

The Textile Blog

No pictures today but wanted to share a blog:

I've been following The Textile Blog for several months now. Almost daily I get a little snippet of textile history, sometimes about weaving, sometimes about basketry or lace or surface design, but always enlightening.

Today's blog post was about the textiles of Islamic Sicily. The photos in the post were generally from around the 12th century and they are pretty amazing.

A few years ago I had the priviledge of visiting Gawthorpe Manor, a house in the National Trust in Great Britain. The last owner of the house had been a single woman of wealth who travelled extensively and collected things. Things like textiles. There was a room fitted out with archive type shelves and you asked the docent for examples of what you would like to examine. In my case it was weaving. The two friends with me asked for lace and knitting as well as some rare examples of sprang.

In the woven collection were swatches that were collected mainly from Italy. While documentation was scarce an attempt had been made to identify when the fabric had been woven. The earliest example was from the 1400's up through the 1700's.

The close examination of these textiles was a pretty amazing experience. I wish I'd had a camera with me, but I didn't, so all I have are my memories.

What do I remember? I remember being in awe because of the fineness of the threads and the complexity of the weave structure. I don't know the precise weave structure as there wasn't time to do a fabric analysis, but lampas was probably one of them, and most definitely a drawloom or a very skilled pickup or inlay method was used. All of the textiles I examined in that all too brief visit were pre-industrial revolution so they had all been hand spun and hand woven.

And they were exquisite.

I don't know if Gawthorpe Manor still allows people to visit their textile collection but if you are ever in the Lake Country of England, check it out.

Currently reading The Devil Among the Lawyers by Sharyn McCrumb


Maggie said...

Laura, I don't know if anyone has told you yet, but the link doesn't take the reader to the textile blog! I found the blog, though, and wow! It's amazing! Thanks!

Sharon Schulze said...

What is lampas?

(I had the same problem with the link but also found the blog.)

Laura said...

Oh dear - sorry about that. Should have tested the link before posting. Glad you found it though. :(


Laura said...

My bad! Had a typo in the link!!! Should be good now.


Sharon Schulze said...

It works great now! :-)

Dorothy said...

Thanks for recommending Gawthorpe Manor, I shall have to arrange to go there, I love the idea of being able to examine the old textiles.