“Antica Filandina” esposta al Museo Didattico della Seta di Como. “Antica Filandina” on display at Museo Didattico della Seta, Como.
the art of textile manufacturing in lombardy Silk manufacturing in the Como area, Cantù’s lace and pezzotto (rustic rugs) from Valtellina: history and tradition are closely connected together in three areas that have been able to enhance the artistic side of this ancient craft. Como’s silk Silk production in the Como area started in the 15th century and achieved its climax at the beginning of the 20th century. At the time, workshops had acquired the same features and sizes of small and medium sized factories. Today, the Como area is still a textile manufacturing district. It also retains the artistic flair of an artisanal tradition thanks to a number of people who practise the art of weaving, where the quality of handmade products is the epitome of excellence. In actual fact, the international exhibitions called “Miniartextil” that were founded in Como are a benchmark for the artists working in the textile sector.
The production carried out by the “Gegia Bronzini” workshop is of great artistic relevance. The workshop was established in the Thirties. Its activity is based on simple technologies (hand weaving on a two-heddle loom), which becomes a means to emphasize artistic creation. The exploration of new areas is also crucial: in fact, next to rich natural yarns, special yarns like copper thread and leather ribbon are often used. They embellish the fabrics with utterly unusual chromatic and tactile qualities. Gegia’s daughter Marisa Bronzini has followed in her mother’s footsteps. Nature is a veritable source of inspiration for her work, “…identifying the essence and the purity of the elements”. Unfortunately, these admirable artists that laid the foundations for great artistic handicrafts, often find it difficult to find someone they can pass their achievements and skills on, in an attempt to guarantee continuity in the future. Cantù’s lace The art of lace making in Lombardy started during the Renaissance period. Indeed, from that time onward “Milan’s special lace” became famous both in Italy and Europe. It was characterized by traditional floral and stem patterns. From Milan, the
art of lace making spread to other small town centres in Lombardy, particularly in Cantù, where the “School of Applied Arts to Industry” (now the Art College) was founded in 1883. There, the art of lace making was one of the subjects taught. Cantù’s lace won several awards at the Turin exhibition in 1898, at the Paris exhibition in 1900 and at the Chicago exhibition in 1905. In the early 30s Fausto Melotti was called to teach at the Art College, where he promoted the art of lace making in Cantù. The tradition connected with Cantù’s lace is still very much alive thanks to several state schools that were founded with the aim of keeping alive an old and glorious art from Lombardy and also thanks to the International Biennial Exhibition of Lace. Pezzotto from Valtellina Pezzotto made using discarded or recycled fabrics has become artistic products over the years thanks to the manual and creative skills of Valtellina’s craftsmen. The rugs are loom woven. The most popular ones are called “rigatino”, were the weave follows the actual colour combinations. “Triangular flames” are among some of the most popular patterns. It comes in different colour schemes against a neutral background. Recent patterns include “pyramid shaped” and “fishtail” patterns, including some geometric variants such as squares and triangles woven together. The rugs produced in Valtellina differ from those roduced in southern Italy, as they use softer colours. They also privilege the use of wool and velvet, which are warm winter fabrics. Rug weaving is still alive today, although it is difficult to establish just how many women make rugs using this technique. Veritable artisanal businesses that from the beginning of the century had to compete against the foreign market can be found in the Morbegno area. In some instances, designers and architects have successfully contributed towards transforming this humble art into a veritable art form.
Italian Magazine About crafts and Arts