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Artisan: Tela Umbra
Italian table linen. Sabble cloth and 2 napkins in pure linen hand-made in Italy, fine drawings of exclusive fabrics. Tela Umbra collection is unique because entirely hand-made. Sabble cloth 110x40cm, n.2 napkins 45x45cm. Slip stitch finishing
THE TEXTILE TRADITION IN UMBRIA Textile production in Umbria, which is tied to the handcraft traditions of the Tela Umbra laboratory, is one of the region’s most prestigious artistic expressions. It derives from customs and an ancient order handed down through the ages according to a precise ritual the origins of which are lost in time. The oldest textiles go back to the 11th and 12th centuries characterised by the well-known “tovaglie perugine” (Perugian tablecloths) which were decorated in indigo blue with a scrupulous “bicromia” ( overlapping of two similar colours). These are not exclusive to the Perugian area since they have also been found in the Marches, Latium and partly in Tuscany with decorative motives inspired by the classical and medieval worlds which include deer, griffins, lions, birds, as well as castles, trees and geometric patterns. In the 14th and 15th centuries Umbrian textile production was well-known all over Europe as can be seen by the iconography in paintings of great Renaissance artists. After a period of decline there is a revival in the 19th century brought about by the initiatives of a few progressive women who revalue and promote this authentic expression of handcraft from the past. oday the Tela Umbra Laboratory is still found in the historical building Alberto Tomassini in the centre of town just a few steps away from the main piazza. Everything works as it did at the beginning of last century so that these precious handmade products can still be appreciated. One can still hear the screeching of wooden pulleys and the distinct sound of wood against wood in harmony with the comb; the rhythm of a laborious and difficult occupation carried out by diligent women who guarantee the creation of rare, valuable cloth. The procedure is still traditional but the cloth is now finer and more delicate than the first rather coarse fabrics because of the use of pure linen threads from Flanders and Ireland. Patterns and original designs are still taken from the Renaissance period but they are constantly being updated by the weavers themselves who manage all the operations in the creation of these valuable fabrics that are now appreciated by an ever-increasing public. The distinctive quality of Tela Umbra products can be seen in their rigorous formal beauty which is highlighted by the finest quality threads. These include tablecloths, towels, rugs, curtains and centrepieces created using the ancient techniques and patterns of brocade, quadruccio umbro (Umbrian small square) and bird’s eye; unique objects from the past woven with poetic nostalgia. These are really exclusive gifts for those who appreciate rare beauty. Such cloth of high quality cannot come from assembly line production. Each piece is the fruit of the personal knowledge and experience accumulated by the weavers who thus guarantee quality handicraft unique in its kind not only in Italy but all over the world.
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