Weaving Terms

This is one of the educational posters from Sardinian Textiles: An Exhibit of Handwoven Art, held at the Italian Cultural Center – San Francisco in 2017. The text is first, followed by the poster.

There’s certainly much more to discuss about this topic — and I expand greatly on this during my live presentations and in articles you’ll find on this site and elsewhere. Sign up for the newsletter to stay connected!

The loom is the framework on which weavings are made. The basic fibers of a weaving are known as the warp, or foundational threads, and the weft, or the fibers that are drawn between the warp threads.

Textile patterns and designs are created by the interactions of the warp and weft threads. The weft threads can be passed under and over the warp threads in different sequences, wound to create pibiones, or knotted, twisted, or otherwise worked into, over, or under the warp.

Weavings that use raised techniques such as pibiones display several patterns: the raised design and a subtle background pattern created by the sequencing of warp and weft threads.

Textiles created using use flat techniques generally have vibrant designs created by the color of the weft threads.

© 2013 – 2021 Kelly Manjula Koza | All Rights Reserved

Loom Types

This is one of the educational posters from Sardinian Textiles: An Exhibit of Handwoven Art, held at the Italian Cultural Center – San Francisco in 2017. The text is first, followed by the poster.

There’s certainly much more to discuss about this topic — and I expand greatly on this during my live presentations and in articles you’ll find on this site and elsewhere. Sign up for the newsletter to stay connected!

There are many different classifications and types of looms, generally referring to how the movements of the loom are made and the structure of the loom.

Traditional hand looms are powered entirely by hand and foot. Power looms are those in which movements are powered by hydraulic or electric means. Weavers can stop the motion of a powerloom to add hand decoration to a weaving, and then engage the loom’s automated power function to continue. Mills use large computerized electric or hydraulic looms that require little to no human interaction to create many identical items within a short time.

There are two primary configurations of looms: horizontal and vertical. Weavers using vertical looms start from the bottom of the loom and build the textile upwards, using their fingers to pass weft threads through the warp threads one at a time. The threads are tightened, or beaten, using a small hand beater distinct from the loom.

Horizontal looms are generally more complex than vertical looms, facilitating the construction of pibiones as well as complex repeating warp/weft patterns.

Heddles, or frames that contain needles through which warp fibers are threaded, are controlled by foot pedals, and raise or lower many warp threads at one time. This enables the weaver to pass a wooden shuttle carrying weft thread through the warp, or place a needle around which pibiones are wound on top of the warp threads. The threads are tightened using a beater bar that’s attached to the loom and runs the entire width of the warp. The beater bar is moved by hand or electric/hydraulic power.

© 2013 – 2021 Kelly Manjula Koza | All Rights Reserved

History

This is one of the educational posters from Sardinian Textiles: An Exhibit of Handwoven Art, held at the Italian Cultural Center – San Francisco in 2017. The text is first, followed by the poster.

There’s certainly much more to discuss about this topic — and I expand greatly on this during my live presentations and in articles you’ll find on this site and elsewhere. Sign up for the newsletter to stay connected!

Looms were prized and essential items in Sardinian households for centuries. Weaving was every woman’s work, and girls learned to weave at a young age. The women wove their corredo, or hope chest textiles, as well as items for daily use and various ceremonial items that were gifted, often prized and used for a lifetime.

After the second world war, power looms and commercial mills began to appear on the island, and production of everyday items started to shift away from the household.

By the late 70’s, almost all of the studios and small shops had switched to using power looms, and items for daily user were made in mills. Today, very few professional handweavers remain.

Similarly, the process of collecting and preparing fibers by hand has virtually disappeared. The preparation of wool, linen, silk, and cotton fibers for weaving was often a communal event.

Today, almost all Sardinian handweavers use fibers that are processed at Sardinia’s one remaining wool processing house, and/or high-quality linen and Egyptian cotton.

© 2013 – 2021 Kelly Manjula Koza | All Rights Reserved

Designs

This is one of the educational posters from Sardinian Textiles: An Exhibit of Handwoven Art, held at the Italian Cultural Center – San Francisco in 2017. The text is first, followed by the poster.

There’s certainly much more to discuss about this topic — and I expand greatly on this during my live presentations and in articles you’ll find on this site and elsewhere. Sign up for the newsletter to stay connected!

Designs and motifs used in the weavings vary according to the region, type of loom used, and the items woven.

Birds — doves, peacocks, and domestic hens and cocks — are common, as are deer, baskets of eggs, bunches of grain, grapes, grape leaves, flowers, and other agricultural symbols. Dragons, gryphons, and mythological figures are also found, especially on older textiles.

Many textiles have geometric designs, ranging from stylized flowers to diamonds, triangles, and stepped shapes representing the cycle of birth, growth, harvest, and death/decay.

The zig zags typical of funerary cloths represent water and the ebb and flow of life. The stars and seven colors traditionally used in Nule’s carpets are ancient symbols of power.

Weavers familiar with their own traditions may create textiles that are highly traditional, or they may experiment and mix modern designs with ancient patterns.

© 2013 – 2021 Kelly Manjula Koza | All Rights Reserved

Pibiones

This is one of the educational posters from Sardinian Textiles: An Exhibit of Handwoven Art, held at the Italian Cultural Center – San Francisco in 2017. The text is first, followed by the poster.

There’s certainly much more to discuss about this topic — and I expand greatly on this during my live presentations and in articles you’ll find on this site and elsewhere. Sign up for the newsletter to stay connected!

Pibiones are small raised bumps of thread found on the most distinctive of Sardinian textiles. The name comes from an ancient word for grapes, as pibiones feel like grapes, and grapes and the harvest play a significant part in Sardinian history.

Creating pibiones requires skill, dexterity, and patience. The pibiones are created by winding fibers around a long needle that sits on top of the weft. Each pibione is counted and wound by hand, one pibione at a time, one row at a time, matched against a pattern drawn on graph paper.

Pibiones add strength as well as design to a weaving. The best pibiones are firm to the touch and remain durable and distinct when the textile is used. To achieve the desired firmness, threads used in the pibiones are often spun a second time before being woven.

© 2013 – 2021 Kelly Manjula Koza | All Rights Reserved

The Future

This is one of the educational posters from Sardinian Textiles: An Exhibit of Handwoven Art, held at the Italian Cultural Center – San Francisco in 2017. The text is first, followed by the poster.

There’s certainly much more to discuss about this topic — and I expand greatly on this during my live presentations and in articles you’ll find on this site and elsewhere. Sign up for the newsletter to stay connected!

In a global economy where textiles have been commoditized, the importance of maintaining traditional handweaving and recognizing it as an art cannot be overestimated. Valuing the handweavers and the art and designs of Sardinia is key to ensuring all aspects of the textile tradition — handweavers, the studios using powerlooms, the mills, and the traditional Sardinian designs — remain rooted in and produced in Sardinia, in a sustainable and fairly-traded manner.

Traditional arts are on the verge of being lost, yet the arts and artists offer what many in the modern world seek. The manner in which Sardinian weavers work and live, their principles, and their awareness represent a heritage that can only have a great appeal for a population that lives in a high-tech world of automation and suffers incredibly high levels of stress. For those living in such conditions, the hand weavers become role models for more authentic way of life.

The preservation and elevation of the Sardinian arts, and, in particular, the art of the hand weavers is of fundamental importance: the respect for the handweavers will serve to open doorways of awareness and respect for all weavers, all Sardinian arts, and the heritage and culture of Sardinia. This, over time, will bring positive returns for all those working in tourism and commerce.

© 2013 – 2021 Kelly Manjula Koza | All Rights Reserved

Textile Classifications

This is one of the educational posters from Sardinian Textiles: An Exhibit of Handwoven Art, held at the Italian Cultural Center – San Francisco in 2017. The text is first, followed by the poster.

There’s certainly much more to discuss about this topic — and I expand greatly on this during my live presentations and in articles you’ll find on this site and elsewhere. Sign up for the newsletter to stay connected!

Just as the European Union recognizes different classifications of traditional food, it’s important that Sardinian textiles are classified accurately with reference to the method and place in which they are made. This will help buyers understand classifications of textiles bearing the label “Made in Sardinia”, increase esteem of all weavers in Sardinia, and protect weavers in a global economy.

The suggested classifications are:

  • Handmade textiles: Textiles made completely by hand, using looms where all movements and beating are done only by hand/foot, and not by a hydraulic, electronic, or computerized loom.
  • Hand-decorated textiles: Textiles made by hydraulic, electronic, or computerized looms, where the beating is not all done by hand/foot. The weaver stops the mechanical beating of the loom to make pibiones and/or add other decoration by hand.
  • Mill-made textiles: Textiles made in mills, by hydraulic, electronic, and/or computerized looms with minimum human involvement, and often where many similar objects are produced at the same time.

All the classifications permit:

  • The use of fibers prepared in mills.
  • The use of a sewing machine, if the use is to make seams/hems after the weaving is cut from the loom and the seams/hems are not decorative.

The use of fibers prepared by hand without hydraulic, electronic, or computerized tools can be indicated with the label “Hand-spun fibers”.

All three classifications have their buyers and their place in the market. The difference between the three classifications of textiles is the same as the difference between a painting by a master painter, a limited-edition print of the painting, and a poster.

© 2013 – 2021 Kelly Manjula Koza | All Rights Reserved

If you would like to copy the textile classifications text to use on your own site or collateral, kindly include this credit and link: “Textile classifications as defined on SardinianArts.com.”