Join me live online for an intimate series of presentations about Sardinian handwoven textiles, the women who maintain nearly-lost weaving traditions, and more!
In this free series, I’ll be sharing my stories, videos, and photos of the women weavers and their distinctive textiles; showing weavings from my own collection; discussing the history and revival of Sardinian handweaving; providing a historical and cultural overview of Sardinia; giving you a photographic tour of the island; answering your questions; and more!
This series starts Saturday January 23, 2021. See the full schedule below.
If you have missed earlier sessions, you can still come to later sessions!
Would your weaving guild, craft studio, art class, or group like to learn more about beautiful Sardinian textiles, the amazing women who weave them, and Sardinia itself?
Would you like to have a private screening and question/answer session with the maker of the documentary I Want to Weave the Weft of Time? See additional and/or unpublished video footage and photos of the weavers in the film, and other weavers at work? See and feel the textiles in person (in-person events only)?
I would love to arrange an online presentation for your group at the time of your convenience, or an in-person event in 2022. I’m well-versed in presenting to audiences large and small, both online and in person, and can discuss the weavers, their art, and Sardinia in a way that considers and captivates your group.
Would you like to see handwoven Sardinian textiles in your city? Perhaps you’d even like to purchase one, after viewing it and feeling it?
I’m arranging trunk shows, where the textiles will be shown in small groups to those interested in seeing and purchasing them, as well as exhibitions, where textiles will be displayed for some time, and, depending upon the venue and the type of exhibit, may available to purchase.
I will attend the events to discuss the textiles, the artists, and present photos and video clips of the weavers and Sardinia. I can also arrange to show my documentary I Want to Weave the Weft of Time and answer questions at opening nights and related events.
If you’re interested in hosting such an event, or having one in your area, please contact me.
Given the pandemic, I have been offering online presentations at regular intervals. If interest permits, I will arrange in-person or online trunk shows mid-to late 2021. Contact me if you are interested.
Sardinia is an ancient island with a tremendous history. Her artistic heritage, spiritual traditions, natural beauty, and the wisdom and strength of her people are beyond description.
Sardinia’s status as a usually-overlooked, often dismissively-mentioned island has in some ways benefited it, helping preserve her culture, traditions, and even people: many Sardinians live happily and actively into their hundreds.
While rich in so many ways, Sardinia is relatively money-poor. As an autonomous province of Italy, Sardinia has a status similar to that of Puerto Rico’s in the United States, both legislatively and in the minds of the mainland residents. The island’s economic development has long been sustained by various funding initiatives, including those from the Aga Khan and the European Union. Currently, most of Sardinia’s income is generated by the visitors who flock to the island each May to October for the tourist season.
Given the current crisis, the tourist season is likely not to exist in 2020. And while Sardinia’s strict virus containment measures have minimized the number of cases across the island, the same measures are decimating businesses, even those which generally close or reduce services during the off-season.
Like the rest of Italy, the Sardinians are doing all they can to contain the virus—their lockdown is extremely rigorous—to pray and prepare for a tourist season as best they can, and to promote their businesses online. Grassroots business initiatives, as well as those supported by chambers of commerce and tourism offices, abound. And those of us stranieri who love and cherish the island and her people do what we can to help.
So, during this time of global crisis, what can you do from the United States to support Sardinians — including, but certainly not limited to, the wonderful weavers mentioned on these pages?
Here are six ideas.
Buy Sardinian cheese locally
Traditional Sardinian cheese is made from sheep milk, and is considered a treasure of the island. In fact, a few years ago, Sardinia started offering bonds secured by huge rounds of traditional cheese.
All the various types of sheep cheese have their own flavor and history (perhaps we’ll go into this in other articles at later dates). I’ve tried many types of Sardinian cheese, and enjoy them all!
In short, buy and enjoy some Sardinian cheese —and you can do so right where you are.
Trigu’s founder, Jon Brownstein, is American-born yet has lived in Sardinia most of his life and is “dedicated to supporting the artisan and building a mutually beneficial global community around Sardinian culture.” Of course his endeavors mirror mine with Sardinian Arts, and I encourage you to visit his website and purchase a sampler to have delivered to your home!
In addition to Trigu’s offerings, you can find Sardinian Pecorino Romano at by Costco. In most Costcos, I have found the cheese in the gourmet/imported cheese section, which is usually next to the walk-in produce refrigerator.
Buy Sardinian olive oil and related products locally
The olives of Sardinia are exquisite—as are the oils, spreads, and items made by the Sardinian company San Giuliano. I have loved their olive oil and products (especially what I call “black gold”, the black olive spread) even before driving past the San Giuliano orchards and stopping by their headquarters near Alghero, on the island’s northwest coast.
You can find San Giuliano oils, spreads, and even vinegar at a number of San Francisco area grocery stores and chains, thanks to importer Italfoods. I’ve bought San Giuliano items at Berkeley Bowl, Whole Foods, and some of the gourmet grocery stores. Treat your tastebuds — and help this Sardinian business — by purchasing some San Giuliano oil and other goodies!
Buy weavings directly from the handweavers featured on Sardinian Arts
View the Meet the Artists section on this site to learn about the handweavers and contact the women directly to buy an item they have already made. The contact information is given for each artist.
While Sardinian Arts does not offer an online catalog for reasons mentioned elsewhere, you can view each weaver’s page and see some of their work in the Meet the Artists area. Links are also given so you can go directly to each weaver’s website or Facebook page to get a feel for the type of weaving they do, and so you can contact the weavers directly.
I have put some hints for contacting the weavers below, and yes, in some cases, I will act as the go-between with you and the weaver.
Ask the weavers for items they have already woven. This enables the women to be paid for artwork they have already lovingly completed . All weavers have a stock of beautiful handmade textiles—signature pieces—in their studios.
Do not ask for custom orders. Custom orders with bespoke designs, colors, fibers, etc. always take a great deal of time to coordinate, and now, with supply chains paused due to the lockdowns across Italy and the world, custom orders may be even more difficult to complete. Additionally, any custom orders from before the lockdown are on looms waiting to be completed, and new custom orders will be waitlisted for some time.
Hints for contacting weavers:
Email the weavers directly to ask if they have an already-made item— a rug, pillowcase, wall hanging, table runner, bag, etc. matching a general description you give. For example, you might ask:
“Do you have any small rugs that are blue and white I can use next to my bed?”
“Do you have any table runners with bird patterns?”
“Do you have any 5 foot x 7 foot rugs in grey and white?”
If you don’t speak or write Italian, you can write your email in English.
Use simple sentences Google Translate can easily decipher.
Clarify the price in either Euros or USD
Remember that the weavers use the metric system, and will convert your measurements to centimeters and meters.
Consider all measurements to be approximate, not to-the-millimeter exact.
Colors may vary from what you see in photos the weavers send. This is due to the nature of photos, computer screens, phone screens, cameras, and lighting as well as the nature of hand-dyed and handwoven textiles.
Realize there may be time delays receiving answers, photos, and the items themselves.
DO pay the weavers now, even though it may be “some time” before your item can be shipped from Italy. Trust me, it’s worth the wait, and the weaver will appreciate your understanding!
Request shipment from DHL, which is traditionally the best shipping service in Europe, and well-known on the island.
Use Transferwise to wire funds to the weaver’s bank, or use Transferwise or PayPal to pay for your item. Some weavers do take credit cards.
And yes, you can contact me if you need more help.
Buy weavings from my personal collection
I have a number of very unique weavings from my personal collection that I will sell to the right buyers.
While I have paid the weavers quite well for their weavings, for each of the few items I sell from my collection, I will give a portion of the sales price directly to the weavers, as I know the additional incoming funds will help them at this critical time. I will use the balance to help sustain my work promoting the weavers and Sardinia.
The items I’m offering from my collection are one-of-a kind museum-quality showpieces: a large linen tablecloth; a wall hanging featured in the exhibit of Sardinian textiles I organized in San Francisco in 2017 (this weaving was also prominently featured in the exhibit publicity and collateral); and one other piece yet to be decided.
Please contact me for more information on the specific pieces available. Please do not contact me if you are interested in getting a collectable treasure “for nothing”.
Plan a vacation to Sardinia
Sardinia is a wonderful place to visit. The best, in my opinion. After the lockdown is over, why not go? You can start dreaming now, and even planning where to go and stay, even if you can’t yet confirm dates and flights.
I’m more than happy to talk with you and offer suggestions and recommendations. Of course, you can also go online and find many resources to help you plan this dream vacation.
Consider a weaving tour or general tour of Sardinia
If you would be interested in participating in a tour of weaving studios, weaving and cultural museums, and/or some of the other treasures of the island, please contact me.
Given the current situation, I can’t yet confirm any dates; I am thinking September or October 2020 will be the earliest I could lead a group if travel restrictions are lifted.
Thanks for considering and taking action on these! ~ KMK
Gallura, the area of Sardinia of which I dreamt as a kid, is the place on this planet that feels like home to me. For me, Gallura embodies and expresses the beauty, the nature, the spirit, the heart of Sardinia in a way that’s beyond what words or even pictures can express.
Within Gallura, the gem of Agriturismo Nuraghe Tuttusoni shines.
Agriturismo is the Italian word for a working farm that has guest cottages/apartments, and usually a restaurant and shop offering their hand-made food. While abundant across Sardinia, not all agriturismi are equal. Agriturismo Nuraghe Tuttusoni is, in my experience, the diamond. Da non perdere, not to miss.
Scroll down to see more, including contact information and a short video!
In the most beautiful of locations minutes from the sea, with the most wonderful hospitality, a restaurant, with their own and local wine and food beyond compare, comfortable rooms, and a truly embracing family-staff: I can’t even begin to describe.
For a truly refined and magical experience of Gallurese country hospitality, food, beauty, and life — come!
Giovanna, Michela, Rosa, Angelo, Leo, and staff welcome you.
Agriturismo Nuraghe Tuttusoni
Località Portobello, Aglientu OL 07020 Sardegna, Italia
Il tramonto ad Alghero, Sardegna, con una bellissima vista di Capo Caccia. Non è accompagnata da una colonna sonora. Il video è stato registrato 2018 09 20 dal muro della vecchia città, senza treppiede o manicotti per il microfono, e le sonore ambiente erano quelle della città, rumorose; perciò, sono stati eliminati.
Sunset at Alghero, Sardinia, with a beautiful view of Capo Caccia. It’s a silent video. The video was recorded from the old city walls on 2018 09 18, without tripod or wind muff, and the ambient sounds were loud city noises, so they’ve been removed.
As requested, I will be leading tours of artist studios in Sardinia. Of course, given the travel restrictions and complications of 2020 and 2021, the tours have been postponed until borders are open and travelers feel comfortable heading out on new adventures.
Tours will be semi-custom or custom, and include visits to the studios of the tessitriciartigianali featured here, Sardinia’s weaving museum, and time at beautiful beaches, meals at superb restaurants, and visiting other locations within Sardinia.
Having spent a good deal of time in Sardinia and with the weavers, I can show you the island, introduce you to the women, explain the weaving techniques, and translate language and culture in a way that helps you best appreciate and most deeply connect with the weavers, Sardinia, and her culture.
If you’d like to join me in an upcoming tour, please contact me.
When people learn of Sardinian Textiles: An Exhibit of Handwoven Art, held at the Italian Cultural Institute – San Francisco in winter 2017, I’m usually asked a number of questions about organizing and producing the event. The most common questions are:
Will you have another show?
How long did it take to organize the show?
For the sake of answering these questions publicly and recording a bit of history about the event, I’m answering the questions here.
Will you have another show?
Yes, will have another. My plan is to have an exhibit featuring the art of select handweavers with whom I work directly. The exhibit will be held at a private gallery space where textiles will be available for sale. (Due to customs, legal, and other reasons, we were not able to sell textiles at the 2017 event).
How long did it take you to organize the show?
This is the most common of the many questions I’m asked regarding the challenges I encountered putting together the 2017 exhibit of Sardinian handwoven textiles.
Organizing the show took three years.
I conceived the idea of the show at the beginning of 2014, and in October 2014, I first attempted to meet with Baingio Cuccu, the Director of The Sardinian Regional Textile Museum (MURATS) in Samugheo about my proposal. Although Baingio was not able to meet with me at that time, I emailed him in November, and in December of 2014, I met with Paolo Barlera, then Director of the Italian Cultural Institute – San Francisco (IIC-SF) to propose the show. Paolo was enthusiastic, and I began to solidify the groundwork for the exhibit. I presented the memorandums of understanding (MOUs) outlining key aspects and responsibilities of the exhibit to MURATS and the IIC-SF in March of 2015.
Of course, over the next few years, there were many visits to Samugheo, visits to weavers, and meetings with interested parties, as well as volumes of emails, phone calls, press releases, and paperwork, ending only when all textiles were returned to the weavers in Sardinia after the show. (In addition, I organized a related event hosting visiting artist Silvio Betterelli, which is another story entirely!)
Ultimately, several months before the exhibit, Paolo at the IIC-SF was able to obtain official sanction for the event from the Consulate General of Italy and the Region of Sardinia, which was a deeply appreciated level of recognition for the exhibit. The show opened on January 19, 2017 and ran through February 24, 2017.
While the pathway to the exhibit’s opening night certainly presented many challenges, and the timing and elements of the show were ultimately a bit different from what I had initially envisioned, I and many others consider the show was a success. Many people were to thank for their participation; see this page, where I expressed my gratitude to everyone!
While I am not posting every milestone date or key detail of the nearly three-year road to realizing the exhibit, I am posting below the dates of the initial meetings and the MOUs, as they are a bit of history.
Timeline of Key Events
2014 10 18 — Kelly visits MURATS in Samugheo, requesting a meeting with Baingio during her time in Samugheo to discuss her proposal for an exhibit of handwoven Sardinian textiles to be held in San Francisco. Baingio is not available.
2014 11 04 — Kelly emails Baingio at MURATS, expressing her regrets that he was not available to meet during her recent trip to Samugheo, stating she would like to meet with him soon to discuss her proposal. Weaver Isa Frongia talks with Baingio to confirm Kelly’s desire to organize such a show.
2014 11 26 — Baingio replies to Kelly’s email, conveying his regrets that he was not available to meet in person when she was in Samugheo.
2014 12 14 — Kelly emails Paolo at the IIC-SF, requesting a meeting to propose the exhibit of handwoven Sardinian textiles be held at the Italian Cultural Institute – San Francisco.
2014 12 18 — Kelly meets with with Paolo at the IIC in San Francisco to propose the idea of the exhibit; the two meet several times after this and before Kelly’s March 2015 trip to Sardinia.
2015 03 13 — Kelly meets with Baingio at MURATS in Samugheo to discuss the idea for the exhibit and present the MOU to Baingio in person.
2015 03 26 — Kelly emails Paolo the MOU for IIC-SF as well as a copy of the MOU presented to MURATS.
2015 04 to 2017 01 — Kelly makes five trips to Sardinia in addition to working in San Francisco to realize the project.
2017 01 19 — The exhibit opens.
For history’s sake, copies of the key agreements are attached.
The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the IIC-SF and the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with MURATS; both were in English and Italian.
We would like to thank you for your participation in Sardinian Textiles: An Exhibit of Handwoven Art and related events.
The show and related events were well-received and brought much attention to Sardinia and Sardinian textiles.
There were about 120 guests at the opening night of the show, arriving from many cities across California and even other states. Paolo Barlera, Director of the Italian Cultural Institute – San Francisco, and Luigi Biondi, the Assistant Consul General, welcomed the crowd and introduced two representatives from the Comune of Samugheo, Deputy Mayor Maurizio Frongia and Cultural Minister Manuela Barra.
Maurizio thanked organizers, presented them with a book of Samugheo’s history and a bar of the local handmade Gaia soap, and talked about the history and importance of weaving in Samugheo. This was followed by the trailer from the film I Want to Weave the Weft of Time, demonstrating the importance of Samugheo’s last handweavers, and a slideshow and discussion of handweaving. After this, there was a short lecture about the show participants, the challenges weavers, shops, and mills face, and a presentation of high-resolution photos of key historic weavings from the MURATS collection.
The audience was captivated by the weavings, and very interactive. People asked many questions during and after the presentation and inspected the textiles on display. The crowd was also happy to be well-fed: San Giuliano of Alghero donated many cases of olive spreads and antipasti, all of which were eagerly devoured along with the kilo of pane carasau direct from Sardinia, sheep cheese, and, of course, wine. Local restaurant 54 Mint also provided Italian desserts, which disappeared rapidly.
In the weeks after the opening there were two film screenings of I Want to Weave the Weft of Time. The first screening was held in lieu of the planned pibiones workshop, as at the last minute the weavers were prevented from traveling by an unforeseen event. Lacis Museum in Berkeley hosted the event. The second screening was at IIC some weeks into the show, to bring a new audience to the exhibit.
Intrecciati, the intercultural project led by designer Silvio Betterelli, drew fibers from locations around the globe, including South Africa, India, Sardinia, Italy, and many states from the United States. Volunteers helping Silvio complete the project included weaver Reba Siero, students Maya Trifunovic and Alex Boccon-Gibod, and their grandmother visiting from Belgrade.
A number of newspapers, websites, and social networking platforms carried short notices and articles about the event, and longer articles appeared in L’Italiano-Americano in the US and a number of papers in Sardinia.
We would also like to thank the volunteers in San Francisco who helped make the event a success. Photographer Flavia Loreto took wonderful photos capturing the opening night (attached). Volunteers Arpana Warren, Mark Springer, Gab Koza, Anne Yale, and the staff of the IIC helped set up the show and opening night. Vera Lazarevic and Gilles Boccon hosted a wonderful dinner (at which Gilles prepared everything from scratch) where Silvio discussed his work and latest collection. Dhanya Olson created the looms for the intercultural project.
In addition demonstrating the interest the public has for Sardinian textiles and Sardinia, the show increased the public’s understanding of the importance of maintaining the traditions, history, and designs of Sardinia, and their support of efforts to ensure the creation of hand-woven, hand-decorated, and mill-produced textiles remains in Sardinia.
As you know, the IIC-Chicago is interested in hosting a similar show in the future; I’m (Kelly) following up with the director to ascertain details of this future project. I’m also developing concrete opportunities to promote Sardinian textiles in a sustainable manner that brings visibility and sales to Sardinia by leveraging the the latest advertising technology.
While the show and the related events are over, the success has opened a doorway that I see as the beginning, an introduction of Sardinian textiles to the United States!
Thank you all for your participation!
Paolo Barlera, Italian Cultural Institute, Kelly Manjula Koza, Sardinian Arts.
vogliamo ringraziarVi per la vostra partecipazione alla mostra, Sardinian Textiles: An Exhibit of Handwoven Art, e agli eventi collegati.
Si è trattato di una mostra esemplare e di una serie di eventi collegati che sono stati ricevuti con entusiasmo e hanno attirato molta attenzione verso la Sardegna e i tessuti Sardi.
I partecipanti all’inaugurazione sono stati circa 120, provenienti da molte città della California e da altri stati. Paolo Barlera, Direttore dell’Istituto Italiano di Cultura (IIC)- San Francisco, e Luigi Biondi, Vice Console Generale, hanno accolto gli spettatori e introdotto due rappresentati del Comune di Samugheo, il Vice Sindaco Maurizio Frongia e l’Assessore alla Cultura Manuela Barra.
Maurizio ha dato il proprio ringraziamento agli organizzatori ed ha presentato un libro che narra la storia di Samugheo e una saponetta Gaia fatta a mano nel paese. Il Vice Sindaco ha parlato della storia e dell’importanza dell’arte della tessitura a Samugheo. In seguito si è svolta la presentazione del trailer del film “I Want to Weave the Weft of Time”, che mostra l’importanza dei tessitori che lavorano a mano. Al termine del film, si è svolto un discorso sulle sfide che i tessitori, i negozi, e le fabbriche della Sardegna sono costretti ad affrontare, oltre ad una serie di foto ad alta risoluzione di campioni di tessuti antichi della collezione del MURATS.
Il pubblico è rimasto affascinato: sono state fatte molte domande dopo la presentazione, e tutti hanno esaminato i tessuti. Gli ospiti sono anche stati contenti di poter godere di un cibo fantastico: San Giuliano d’Alghero ha donato scatole di creme spalmabili di olive e antipasti che sono state divorate con piacere, accompagnate da pane carasau portato dalla Sardegna, formaggio pecorino e, naturalmente, vino. Il ristorante 54 Mint ha offerto dolci tipici dell’Italia, che sono spariti rapidamente.
Nelle settimane seguenti l’inaugurazione, ci sono state due presentazioni del film I Want to Weave the Weft of Time. Il primo al posto del workshop di pibiones che era stato programmato inizialmente, perché all’ultimo momento i tessitori non hanno potuto partecipare a causa di una situazione imprevista. Lacis Museum a Berkeley, California, ha ospitato l’evento. Il secondo si è tenuto all’IIC alcune settimane dopo l’inaugurazione, per attrarre altre gente alla mostra.
“Intrecciati”, il progetto interculturale guidato dal designer Silvio Betterelli, ha raccolto fibre da vari paesi lontani fra cui il Sud Africa, l’India, la Sardegna, l’Italia, e diversi stati degli Stati Uniti. Hanno contribuito a realizzare il progetto con Silvio la tessitrice Reba Siero, gli studenti Maya Trifunovic e Alex Boccon-Gibod, e la loro nonna, che era in visita da Belgrado.
Diversi giornali, siti web, e piani di social networking hanno discusso brevemente gli eventi della mostra e articoli più lungi sono stati pubblicati nel giornale stampato e online di L’Italiano-Americano negli Stati Uniti e diversi giornali e website in Sardegna.
Vogliamo anche ringraziare i volontari qui a San Francisco, che hanno contribuito a fare dell’evento un successo. La fotografa Flavia Loreto ha fatto foto fantastiche dell’inaugurazione (allegate alla presente). Arpana Warren, Mark Springer, Gab Koza, Anne Yale e lo staff dell’IIC hanno appeso i tessuti e hanno messo in ordine tutti i dettagli dell’inaugurazione. Vera Lazarevic e Gilles Boccon hanno ospitato una cena deliziosa (fatta completamente a mano da Gilles), dove Silvio ha parlato della sua arte e la sua ultima collezione. Dhanya Olson ha costruito i telai per il progetto interculturale.
Oltre a dimostrare il grande interesse del pubblico per i tessuti Sardi e la Sardegna, il principale risultato della mostra è stato quello di accendere i riflettori sull’importanza di preservare la tradizione, la storia ed i motivi della Sardegna, e di supportare lo sforzo di mantenere in Sardegna la creazione dei tessuti fatti a mano, a telaio meccanico, e in fabbrica.
Come sapete, I’Istituto Italiano di Cultura di Chicago è interessato ad ospitare una mostra simile a quella di San Francisco; sono (Kelly) in contatto con la direttrice per delineare i dettagli di questo progetto futuro. Sto anche lavorando a delineare alcune ulteriori opportunità per promuovere i tessuti Sardi in modo sostenibile che possa portare a vendite e visibilità per la Sardegna con una nuova tecnologia di advertising.
Mentre la mostra e gli eventi collegati sono finiti, il successo ha aperto una serie di porte e io li considero come un inizio, un primo passo per l’introduzione dei tessuti Sardi negli Stati Uniti!
Grazie a tutti voi per la vostra partecipazione!
Paolo Barlera, Italian Cultural Institute e Kelly Manjula Koza, Sardinian Arts, Inc.