Tours of Artist Studios in Sardinia

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 tessitrici artigianali 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.

© 2013 – 2022 Kelly Manjula Koza | All Rights Reserved

The 2017 Exhibit: Common Questions Answered

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 Sardinia, 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, Intrecciati, hosting visiting artist Silvio Betterelli. This event spanned Milano, San Francisco, and other locations, and was a complex project in itself to organize.)

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. 

Key Agreements

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.

Thanks again to all who helped make the show a success!

~ Kelly Manjula Koza

The Indescribable Energy of Beautiful Handwoven Sardinian Textiles

Traditional Textiles Samugheo, Orange + Black

Sardinian Arts doesn’t have push-button online ordering. Here’s why:

Fine handwoven Sardinian textiles are made one at a time by the hands of weavers who put their heart into each row and fiber of every weaving. This care and attention imparts a tangible energy into each weaving — and it’s this indescribable quality of love that makes the textiles so special, even beyond the museum-quality refinement of the craftsmanship apparent in each.

This essence, this quality is rare in the modern world.

I want to honor this uniqueness in the textiles, in the weavers, in you who seek to increase and cultivate these qualities in your life and your home. I want to help you find the right textile and offer you a connection to the integral spirit and beauty found in the traditional Sardinian handweavings.

Push-button online ordering breaks the connections. It commoditizes the weavings, annihilates the presence and individuality of the weavers, and turns you into a nameless consumer.

I don’t want to do that. The beautiful handwoven textiles of Sardinia offer a portal to a connection we all seek, and I honor this. It’s part of what I consider fair trade.

Please contact me if you want to know more and experience the textiles.

~ Kelly Manjula Koza

© 2013 – 2022 Kelly Manjula Koza | All Rights Reserved

Handmade or Hand-decorated?

All too often across the world, items are classified as “handmade” when they really are not.

When the term “handmade” is used to market items that are not made by hand by an artesian, many problems arise, and the buyer, the artesian, and even the commercial makers of related products suffer. The buyer often pays too much; the artesian earns too little; and the commercial makers have difficulty maintaining quality and production in their home area.

This has been evident in food as well as textiles across the world. For instance, when you think of cheese you might sprinkle lightly over pasta, do you think of a green can of Kraft Parmesan cheese sprinkles, a bag of shredded Parmesan cheese, or a heavy round of solid cheese inscribed Parmigiano Reggiano DOP?

The European Union recognizes different classifications of traditional food to make certain we don’t equate the green can of mass-produced Kraft Parmesan cheese with the round of traditional Parmigiano Reggiano DOP produced in the traditional manner in the cheese-making facilities of the Parma region, or (rarely now) in the farmhouse kitchens of Parma.

Ensuring the foods are classified and clearly labeled ensures buyers know what they are purchasing, where it was made, how it was made, and what ingredients the food contains. These factors drive, and help the buyer understand, the fair price range for the food. Obviously, Parmigiano Reggiano DOP is going to cost more than the green can of cheese, and a round made by nonna in her Parma kitchen rarer still, and more costly if were to sell in the local market rather than gift it to you.

Similarly, to protect purchasers as well as the weavers and economy of Sardinia, it’s important that Sardinian textiles are classified accurately with reference to the method and place in which they are made.

The textiles classifications Sardinian Arts uses and maintains are listed below. Any item I offer or discuss is accurately classified with integrity according to this system. I personally visit weaving studios, custom shops, and mills to meet owners and verify how textiles are made. I’m also advocating with weavers and others in Sardinia to adhere to this classification system to ensure the integrity of textiles “Made in Sardegna” and ensure the weavers, producers, and artists of Sardinian are treated with respect and that their items are sold in a fair and sustainable manner.

Hand made, Hand-decorated, and Mill-made Classifications

The classifications are

  • Handmade textiles: Textiles made completely by hand, using looms where all the 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 all the beating is not done by hand/foot. The weavers 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”.


If you have any questions about whether the textiles you are buying are handmade, hand-decorated, or mill-made, please contact me.

© 2013 – 2022 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”

How It Came to Be: The Film “I Want to Weave the Weft of Time”

I Want to Weave the Weft of Time grew serendipitously from the love of weaving, great appreciation of the women who continue the nearly-lost tradition of hand weaving in Sardinia, and the desire to share the art, lives, and importance of the weavers with the world.

When I first went to meet the weavers, I didn’t have a videocamera with me: I didn’t intend to film, much less make a documentary.

I wanted to meet the women who were Sardinia’s traditional weavers, learn about their particular weaving tradition, and bring a few textiles back to the United States. After meeting several weavers across the island, I called Isa and asked if I could return to Samugheo to video her, Suzanna, and Anna Maria. I had only my iPad — not the video cameras I had used to capture documentary footage for other projects! At most, I thought I would film a few minutes of the women working and make a 10-minute video to demonstrate the process of weaving.

I ended up filming for several hours that day, and then returned to Sardinia after a few months to visit and capture additional footage for what I still thought would be a very short video.

In the interim, Bruna had met the Frongias. While she lives in a town an hour or two away, Bruna by chance came to visit the Frongias the day I returned to Samugheo to film. As Isa prepared lunch, Bruna agreed to tell me the story of how she came to meet the Frongias and start to learn to weave. Her talk was entirely spontaneous, and absolutely perfect. I couldn’t have better scripted what she said: It was also what I felt about the weavers, their art, their lives, and the role they maintain, not just in terms of maintaining an artistic tradition, but in propagating a way of life that many in the modern world seek.

We filmed in the studio, with the kitchen (and the sounds of food preparation) above. Months later, when I showed Bruna the finished film, she told me she had completely forgotten that she talked with me! She also didn’t realize that the film’s title came directly from her statement, “tessere le trame del tempo”. Bruna forgot she had told me of the dream, and thought the title a coincidence!

As I was editing the footage, friend Ruth Mendelson – an amazing composer of wonderful original scores for documentaries — saw the draft, encouraged me, and agreed to compose and record the soundtrack. Ruth’s enthusiasm and support propelled me, and the truly heartfelt, complex tapestry of music she scored for the film perfectly captures the feeling of the women, the complexity of the weavings, and the mix of ancient and modern cultures that are Sardinia. Ruth’s score carries the film to a level that’s truly synergistic, much more than the sum of its parts.

I hope you’re as enchanted and moved watching this as we were making I Want to Weave the Weft of Time. The women have adopted me as family, and the film is truly a work of the heart.

Visit to see the film!

~ Kelly Manjula Koza

© 2013 – 2022 Kelly Manjula Koza | All Rights Reserved

Thank You!

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.

Thank you to Flavia Loreto for the photos!

Leggi questa pagina all’Italiano.

© 2013 – 2022 Kelly Manjula Koza | All Rights Reserved


Cari Amici,

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.

Grazie mille a Flavia Loreto per le foto!

Read this page in English.

© 2013 – 2022 Kelly Manjula Koza | All Rights Reserved

From Kelly, Sardinian Arts’ Founder

Hello all,

I started Sardinian Arts in 2013 with much respect and love of Sardinia, her traditions, heritage, arts, including, of course, her weavers. We’ve come a long way in a short time, and yet there is much work to do.

The success of Sardinian Textiles: An Exhibit of Handwoven Art in San Francisco, along with related events including Intrecciati, the international intercultural fiber arts project led by Silvio Betterelli, has launched the awareness of Sardinia and her arts into an exciting new phase. As we move forward, I’ll be writing, sharing, and reaching out more, in person and on line.

To start, you’ll see a number of notes and posts here on Facebook that are not “new” in the sense that you may have heard me discuss the topic in conversation, emails, or at an event. I’m posting the information here to more widely share, and to make the information more widely accessible.

I appreciate your reading, feedback, and support!

Kelly Manjula Koza

Thanks to Flavia Loreto for the photo taken at the Italian Cultural Institute on January 19, 2017, the the opening night of Sardinian Textiles: An Exhibit of Handwoven Art. See Flavia Loreto on Facebook.

© 2013 – 2022 Kelly Manjula Koza | All Rights Reserved

Sardinian Arts: La nostra dichiarazione

Il mio obiettivo è educare i cittadini degli Stati Uniti alla bellezza della Sardegna, del suo popolo, delle sue tradizioni, e della sua arte, soprattutto quella delle tessitrici artigianali. Quando questa conoscenza esiste ed è ben radicata, è più facile vendere a un buon prezzo e mantenere “a casa” l’economia della regione.

Pianifico di incontrare molti dei il più ampio numero possibile di tessitrici, artisti, e tutti coloro che lavorano nel settore per aprire un dialogo permanente e di lungo periodo.

La Sardegna è benedetta con una cultura e diverse forme d’arte che devono essere rispettate, mantenute e protette. La preservazione e l’elevazione dell’arte Sarda e, in particolare, l’arte di tessere a mano, è di fondamentale importanza: Il rispetto per i tessitrici che lavorano a mano servirà da apriporta alla conoscenza di e al rispetto per tutti i tessitori, tutte le arti, e il patrimonio e la cultura della Sardegna. Questo, a sua volta, produrrà ricadute positive su tutto il settore turismo e commercio.

L’arte tessile fatta a mano in Sardegna è importante per diverse ragioni. L’arte è quasi persa. Il modo in cui i tessitrici Sardi lavorano e vivono, i loro principi, e la loro conoscenza rappresentano un patrimonio che non può che avere un grande appeal per un pubblico che vive in un mondo high-tech e soffre di livelli di stress altissimi. In queste condizioni, i tessitrici artigianali diventano modelli di riferimento per uno stile di vita più genuino.

In questo momento, i tessuti e i motivi Sardi sono quasi sconosciuti e si trovano raramente all’estero. Questa situazione offre delle opportunità. L’idea prevalente è che i tessitori Sardi siano esclusivamente dei produttori di tappeti, non di arte. È imperativo che questa percezione cambi.

Negli anni recenti, abbiamo sentito troppe storie di culture tradizionali la cui arte viene sequestrata da venditori bramosi e privi di scrupoli. I motivi rubati sono utilizzati per produrre reddito per i grandi conglomerati internazionali invece che per le comunità di origine e di produzione.

I grandi negozi dei paesi ricchi cercano motivi unici e tessuti inusuali da vendere. I tessitori dei paesi produttori d’arte “appena scoperta” sono contenti – almeno inizialmente.

Ma poi i tessitori locali provano a soddisfare la crescente domanda mediante la produzione dei telai elettronici e in fabbrica. I loro obiettivi diventano la quantità di produzione, la volume delle vendite, ed il reddito. I tessitori divengono produttori e perdono la loro identità di artisti. In questo processo, purtroppo, si perde il rispetto per i motivi, le artiste e l’arte stessa.

Questa è la strada verso il declino dell’arte e dell’economia. Il valore dei tessuti e dei loro produttori declina. Quando i tessitori divengono solamente fabbricanti, i loro motivi ed i loro tessuti divengono esclusivamente merce. Quando i motivi ed i tessitori non sono rispettati e protetti, i conglomerati internazionali e gli arredatori assegnano i contratti agli offerenti con i prezzi più bassi. Si tratta di semplice matematica, della spietata legge della domanda e dell’offerta. Nell’ economia globale, gli offerenti ai prezzi minimi non saranno mai Sardi. Certamente io mi auguro che i tessitori Sardi non provino a competere con la Cina, che vince sempre la competizione al ribasso.

In Cile, i tessitori artigianali iniziarono a tessere con telai elettronici per aumentare la quantità della produzione e soddisfare la richiesta estera. Nel processo, i tessitori e la loro arte non sono stati rispettati né protetti. Al contrario, i grandi negozi degli Stati Uniti e d’Europa hanno rubato i motivi del Cile per fare vestiti, accessori, e arredamenti e hanno spostato la produzione in Cina. I tessitori e le fabbriche del Cile, non riuscendo a competere con i grandi negozi, hanno perso la loro arte e anche il loro reddito.

Una situazione simile è successa in Kenya. Oggi, tutti i tessuti in Kenya con motivi tradizionali sono fatti in Cina e importati in Kenya. Penso che oggi ci sia solo una fabbrica ancora aperta in Kenya, di proprietà cinese.

Certamente non vogliamo che i grandi negozi o altri paesi sfruttino la Sardegna in modo analogo.

Invece, come hanno fatto il popolo indigeno della Nuova Zelanda, i Maori, ed i tessitori artigianali del Guatemala (quelli che conservano una tradizione ed i motivi simili dei tessitrici di Nule) che lottano con successo per reclamare e proteggere le loro arte tradizionale, i Sardi devono fare passi per proteggere la loro cultura.

In Sardegna, i venditori non fanno nessuna distinzione fra tessuti che sono fatti a mano, con telai elettronici o in fabbrica. Nei negozi per turisti, su internet, e pure in alcuni laboratori di tessitori, tutti i tessuti sono venduti come “artigianali” e “artigianali fatti a mano”.

Al fine di elevare la stima e il valore del loro lavoro, le tessitrici artigianali Sardi devono essere riconosciuti come artisti, ed i motivi tradizionali Sardi devono essere rispettati come arte originaria della Sardegna. Oggetti che ne incorporano i motivi devono fatti solamente da produttori locali. La protezione delle artiste e dei motivi Sardi darà vantaggio ai tutti i tessitori dell’isola.

Proprio come l’Unione Europea riconosce diverse classificazioni dei cibi tradizionali, a tal fine, è importante che i tessuti Sardi vengano classificati accuratamente con riferimento al modo ed al paese luogo in cui sono stati fatti. Le classificazioni devono essere mantenute, e che il pubblico deve essere venga educato al riguardo riguardo ai livelli. Infatti, tutti i livelli hanno il loro posto ed i loro acquirenti.

Avendo discusso e scambiato idee e opinioni con esperti negli ultimi anni, penso che un sistema di classificazioni come quello sotto descritto aiuterà gli acquirenti a comprendere i livelli dei tessuti dall’etichetta “Made in Sardegna”, aumenterà la stima per tutti i tessuti di tutti i livelli, e proteggerà i tessitori Sardi nei flussi mondiali.

  • Handmade textiles / Tessuti artigianali fatti a mano: I tessuti fatti completamente a mano, a telaio dove tutti i movimenti e le battute sono fatti da mani/piedi, e non a telaio idraulico, elettronico o computerizzato.
  • Hand-decorated textiles/Tessuti artigianali abbelliti a mano: Tessuti fatti a telaio idraulico, elettronico o computerizzato, dove tutte le battute non sono fatte da mani/piedi. Il tessitore firma la battitura meccanica con pibiones o altri abbelliti a mano.
  • Mill-made textiles/Tessuti fatti in fabbrica: Tessuti fatti in fabbrica, a telaio idraulico, elettronico ed/o computerizzato con minimo coinvolgimento umano, e spesso dove molti oggetti simili sono prodotti nello stesso arco di tempo.

Si permette a tutti i livelli:

  • L’uso di fibre preparate in fabbrica.
  • L’uso di una macchina da cucire purché l’uso è per fare le cuciture dopo che l’articolo è stato tagliato dal telaio e le cuciture non sono decorative.
  • L’uso di fibre preparate a mano senza attrezzo idraulico, elettronico o computerizzato può essere indicato con l’etichetta “Hand-spun fibers/fibre girate a mano”.

Tutti e tre i livelli hanno i loro acquirenti e il loro posto nel mercato. Non vi è nessuna competizione. Lo spiego così: La differenza fra i tre livelli di tessuti Sardi è analoga alla differenza fra un dipinto dal maestro pittore, una serigrafia a tiratura limitata, e un poster. Gli elementi importanti sono il riconoscimento per l’arte e l’apprezzamento per le artiste.

Coloro i quali sono in grado di acquistare i tessuti fatti a mano lo faranno, come coloro i quali sono interessati di acquistare un quadro originale di un pittore ben conosciuto.

Il pubblico che ammira l’arte e valuta oggetti di alta qualità, ma non è in grado di sostenere il costo di oggetti d’arte fatti esclusivamente a mano, sarà contento di pagare un buon prezzo per i tessuti fatti con telai elettronici e powerlooms. Infatti, penso che i consumatori pagheranno un prezzo più alto per gli articoli che sono fatti a powerloom quando il segmento alto del mercato percepisce i tessitori come rappresentanti di un’arte, invece che solamente fabbricanti di tessuti. Questi acquirenti saranno come quelli che acquisiscono una riproduzione limitata di un quadro.

Gli alberghi, i ristoranti e gli utenti medi che desiderano cuscini, tappeti e tovaglie per uso quotidiano cercano cose non troppo speciali perché temono di rovinarle. Servono quindi grandi produzioni e prezzi bassi: ovvero quelli dei tessuti Sardi fatti con procedure automatizzate. Infatti, i tessuti commerciali della Sardegna sono di qualità superiore e mostrano motivi Sardi che saranno rispettati come “Made in Sardinia”. Gli acquirenti saranno come quelli che acquisiscono i poster dell’arte che sono stampati in modo commerciale.

Gli elementi importanti sono il riconoscimento per l’arte e l’apprezzamento per le artiste.

Credo sinceramente che il modo in cui la Sardegna può farsi strada in modo sostenibile nei flussi mondiali sia di elevare e proteggere la sua arte. Soprattutto in questo momento in cui sono introdotti i tessuti Sardi al di fuori dell’isola, Penso che sia essenziale che le tessitrici artigianali vengano rispettati e siano presentati come artiste che esprimono una cultura unica e sono riconosciute per il proprio valore. Questo darà vantaggio a tutti i tessitori, tutte le arti e tutta la gente della Sardegna. Credo fortemente fermamente che quando la Sardegna offrirà il meglio della propria cultura al mondo, il mondo questo e tutta anche la gente della Sardegna ne profitteranno al massimo.

Kelly Manjula Koza

© 2013 – 2022 Kelly Manjula Koza | All Rights Reserved

Sardinian Arts: Our Statement

My goal is to educate the people of the United States about Sardinia’s beauty, her people, traditions, and arts, especially that of the weavers. When these exist as well-rooted foundations, it is easier to sell products at a good price and maintain the region’s economy within Sardinia itself.

I plan to meet with as many weavers, artists, and those who work in this field as possible, to open and maintain a permanent dialog.

Sardinia is blessed with a culture and diverse forms of art that should be respected, maintained, and protected. 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 their arts, and the heritage and culture of Sardinia. This, over time, will bring positive returns for all those working in tourism and commerce.

The art of handmade Sardinian textiles is important for many reasons. The art is almost lost. The manner in which Sardinian weavers work and live, their principles, and there awareness represent a heritage that can only have a great appeal for a population that lives in a high-tech world and suffers very high levels of stress. For those living in such conditions, the hand weavers become role models for more genuine lifestyle.

At this point in time, Sardinian textiles and designer are almost unknown, and rarely found outside of the island. This offers many opportunities. However, the prevailing idea is that Sardinian weavers are exclusively rug producers, not artists. It’s imperative that this perception change.

In recent years, we have heard too many stories of traditional cultures and their arts that have been appropriated by vendors who are greedy and lack scruples. Stolen designs are used to generate profit for large international conglomerates instead of the communities from which the designs come and items are traditionally produced.

The large companies from rich countries seek unique designs and unusual textiles to sell. The weavers of the “newly discovered” countries are happy — at least initially.

But then, the local weavers try to satisfy the growing demand by using powerlooms and opening mills. The focus becomes the quantity of production, sales volume, and profit. The weavers become producers and lose their identities as artists. Unfortunately, in this process, the respect for designs, the artists, and the art itself is lost.

This is the path of decline for the art and the economy. The worth of textiles and those who produce them declines. When the weavers become merely producers, their designs and their textiles become only commodities. When the designs and the weavers are not respected and protected, the international conglomerates and interior designers award contracts to the lowest bidders. They follow simple mathematics, the law of supply and demand. In the global economy, the lowest bidders will never be Sardinians. I certainly hope that Sardinian weavers will never try to compete with China, which will always win the low-cost competition.

In Chile, the traditional weavers began to weave with powerlooms to increase their production and satisfy the growing foreign demand. In the process, the weavers and their art were not respected or protected. The corporations of the United States and Europe stole designs from Chile to make clothes, accessories, and furniture in China. The Chilean weavers and factories were not able to compete with the corporations, and lost their art and their means of income.

A similar situation happened in Kenya. Today, all the textiles of traditional design in Kenya are made in China and imported into Kenya. I think there’s only one factory left in Kenya, and it’s owned by the Chinese.

Certainly we don’t want the corporations or other countries to profit from Sardinia in the same manner.

Instead, as the indigenous population of New Zealand, the Maori, and the traditional weavers of Guatemala (who have a tradition and designs similar to the weavers of Nule) have done to successfully fight and reclaim and protect their traditional arts, Sardinians should take steps to protect their culture.

In Sardinia, sellers don’t make a distinction between textiles made by hand, powerloom, or mill. In the tourist shops, on the internet, and even in some textile studios, all of these textiles are sold as “traditional” and “traditional handmade”.

For the purpose of elevating the esteem and value for their art, Sardinian weavers should be recognized as artists, and their traditional designs should be respected as art of Sardinian origin. Items which incorporate Sardinian designs should be made only by local producers. The protection of Sardinian artists and designs will be advantageous to all the weavers of the island.

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, and that the public be educated to this regard. In fact, all the classifications have their place and their buyers.

Having discussed and exchanged ideas and opinions with experts over the past years, I think that this system of classification will help buyers understand the classifications of textiles bearing the label “Made in Sardinia”, increase the esteem of all weavers of all the classifications, and protect the weavers in the global economy.

Handmade textiles: Textiles made completely by hand, using looms where all the 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 all the beating is not done by hand/foot. The weavers 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 levels 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. There is no competition. 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.

Those who are able to purchase a handmade textile do so, just as those do who are interested and able to purchase an original painting by a well-know artist.

The people who admire the art and value high-quality, but are not able to afford the cost of articles that are entirely handmade are content to pay a good price for textiles made on powerlooms. In fact, I think that consumers will pay a higher price for articles made on powerlooms when high-end sellers perceive the weavers as representatives of an art, rather than only as producers of textiles. These buyers are like those who purchase limited edition prints of a painting.

Hotels, restaurant, and average users who want pillows, rugs, and curtains for daily use seek items that are not overly costly because they understand the items will be wear with constant use. Low-cost items produced in quantity — mill-made items — serve them well. In fact, commercially-made Sardinian textiles are of higher quality than most in the United States, and the label “Made in Sardinian” is of value. The buyers of these textiles are like those who purchase posters, commercially-printed representations of art.

The important elements are the recognition of the art and appreciation for the artist.

I sincerely believe that the method by which Sardinia can advance in a sustainable means in world commerce is to elevate and protect her arts. I think that it’s essential that the hand weavers are respected and are presented as artists who express a unique culture. This will benefit all the weavers, all the arts, and all the people of Sardinia. I firmly believe that when Sardinia offers the best of their own culture to the world, the world and all the people of Sardinia will derive the most benefit.

Kelly Manjula Koza

© 2013 – 2022 Kelly Manjula Koza | All Rights Reserved

© Kelly Manjula Koza unless otherwise noted.