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Textile Travels in Italy: Weaving Connections Along a Fiber Trail
Presenter: Gretchen Wheelock
Facilitator: Nancy Smothergill
After a recent textile tour in Tuscany and Umbria, Gretchen renewed her appreciation of Italy’s long and rich history of hand-woven textiles, especially the pre-eminence of Florence in the production of fine silks. Among various hands-on experiences while there, Gretchen and three other members from the Weavers’ Guild of Rochester had the privilege of participating in a five day workshop at the Lisio Foundation, where traditional methods of hand-weaving and design are preserved and taught using 19th century Jacquard looms. Apart from an immersion in the true meaning of “slow cloth,” this experience helped her to see connections among various historical traditions as well as current day efforts to preserve them. As armchair tourists, we will travel along a fiber trail from Milan to Perugia, tracing connections between past and present tradition and fashion in the history of fine textiles.