Save the Date – Live from Sardinia October 19 – Textile Designer Eugenia Pinna

Closeup of textile in complex pattern by Eugenia Pinna

A live online event featuring noted Sardinian Textile Designer Eugenia Pinna is scheduled for Saturday, October 19, 2024 at 10am Pacific/1pm Eastern. Eugenia will present her textiles and a brief history of her work from her studio in Nule, Sardegna. The event will be free, presented as a collaboration between Eugenia, Sardinian Arts, and Italian Cultural Institute-San Francisco. Please save the date and share the news.

Eugenia’s designs incorporate Nule traditions with contemporary vision. Her work was recently featured in the one-woman exhibit, La Ricerca di una Textile Designer, at Spazio Ilisso in Nule, and can be seen on her own website, Sardinian Arts, and in select showrooms. 

More information and links to event registration will come. For now, please save the date and share the news! Join the mailing list to receive updates, and check back at this News + Events section for news about this and other events.

Textiles © Eugenia Pinna. Contact for permission to reproduce. 

June 2023 Online Presentation — Sardinian Handwoven Textiles: Exploring a Nearly Lost Art

June 14, 2023 at 5pm San Francisco time

This event is free. To attend, register on Eventbrite. After you register, you’ll receive the Zoom link and instructions.

Join me online for this free event to explore the indescribable beauty of Sardinian handwoven textiles, see the loving and painstaking artistry of their creation, meet the tessitrici artigianali — the unique women weavers who maintain the tradition of a nearly-lost art – and glimpse just a bit of Sardinia’s majesty. 

I’ll discuss the importance of the handmade, the relevance these women, their weavings, and their traditions have in our modern world, and the anima (spirit) of Sardinian handwoven textiles. I’ll share portions of my film as well as photos, stories of the weavers and my adventures on the island, and show some of my personal textile collection.

There’s no charge for the event, but you must register ahead of time. Click here to go to EventBrite and register. You’ll receive confirmation and reminder emails with the Zoom link to the event. 

Before the event, you are invited to watch my documentary I Want to Weave the Weft of Time (free, 29 minutes) as an introduction to what we’ll discuss at the event. See the trailer here and watch the entire film at WeaveWeftofTime.com.

Extra limited event! Open house and question/answer session on June 21

I’ll host an interactive session for those who have attended previous Sardinian Arts presentations on June 21 at 5pm San Francisco time. This session gives you the opportunity ask me questions about traveling in Sardinia, as well as about the weavers, textiles, traditions, history, and so forth that we may not have time to discuss in the general presentations. As time allows, I will also share stories, photos, and updates, and encourage participants to share as well.

Because the session is designed to be interactive, I do ask that everyone who attends the open house/Q&A session be visible on-camera during the Zoom call. You don’t have to speak, however!

Register for the open house and Q&A session on June 21, 2023 at 5pm San Francisco time

If you have friends who want to attend the open house, please share the registration link with them, as they won’t find the open house listed on EventBrite public events. Please also suggest they first attend the presentation and/or watch I Want to Weave the Weft of Time.

I look forward to seeing you!

~ Kelly Manjula Koza

Brief Updates: Spring 2023

Beautifully weathered iron door in Samugheo, Sardinia.

Note from Kelly — I don’t usually post here what I send in newsletters, yet since it’s been a long time, I’m including the newsletter update here.

Far too long, travel tips, and a photo

Dear Friends, 

It’s been far too long since my last newsletter. So much has happened — not all directly related to Sardinia and textiles, but background work and events — and each time I’ve started to prep a newsletter, another event comes. Presentations were delayed as well, with the exception of a few guild talks. 

I was in Sardinia in December and January (now so long ago!) for the first time since just before the pandemic (which also now seems long ago). The trip was about re-connecting with my weaving family and friends and being with them for errands and everyday tasks, more than working towards the next film or tour I have in mind.

It was great to chat and catch up, and take weavers on adventures (a distant museum visit, a lunch in the city, visits to relatives, complicated errands, and more) since some don’t often get out of their studios. And yes, new textiles came home with me, and more are being shipped. 

Before this, the new corporate work I started last year required intense ramp-up and focus, and immediately after my return from Sardinia that work got really busy, so I postponed the newsletter. (Sardinian Arts is work of my heart; I want the weavers to profit, not myself.)

Just as I was planning dates for Spring presentations, a few things happened that led to an essentially overnight decision (inner guidance!) to move house. While I have for several years been taking steps to move to Sardinia/Milano, the pandemic put a serious bend in my plans, and the move I just made was from Walnut Creek, California, to a city not so distant mile-wise yet a world apart: Santa Clara. As odd as it seems, I know this is a step towards Italy, even though the journey is like navigating the streets of a European city— sometimes you need to start off going in what seems the opposite direction when you’re walking to the basilica, the dome of which you see above the other buildings, because the streets are not always straight.

While I know the move supports the new projects I’ve had in mind for Sardinian Arts, I’m still getting caught up with myself and everyone else. I’ll be lining up some public presentations (in person and online) later this summer and in the fall. My next visit to Sardinia will be in October, and I will certainly write more before then.

Summer travel tips

If you are headed to Sardinia this summer, a few tips:

  • Of course visit the handweavers listed on Sardinian Arts (see the artists’ individual pages for contact info) and remember to buy items directly from them rather than from the shops, which generally carry factory-made items but sadly market them as “handmade”.
  • Try a weekend weaving class and bed-and-breakfast package with Bruna Cossu in Bosa. Bruna is knowledgable, fun, and knows much. Her home is lovely, as is the locale, and you’ll enjoy your time with her. 
  • Plan a day to visit Spazio Ilisso, a wonderful museum in Nuoro. They have a special exhibit coming up May through October. I won’t give anything away now but check their website and be sure to go. Ilisso also publishes singularly beautiful books about Sardinia, her arts, and her people; find the books in the museum or order online at their publishing site.
  • Spend at least a few days in what I feel is the home of my heart — Gallura — at Agriturismo Tuttusoni, where the views, beach, locale, food, and hospitality are fantastic.

Enjoy and be well!

~ Kelly Manjula Koza, Sardinian Arts

Sardinian Travel Special from RAI TV Available in USA

RAI, the Italian state radio and TV network, aired a two-hour special about Sardinia on April 16. The show is available online even within the USA.

As part of the Ulisse (Ulysses) series, the program features footage and a bit of history of select locations around Sardinia — primarily those visited by Ulysses during his epic voyage. Alberto Angelo, RAI’s gracious and beloved host of Italian travel and history shows, narrates Ulisse in Italian — yet if you don’t speak the language, you can watch the show and enjoy the magnificent scenery.

The episode includes a short segment about Sardinia’s protected sea silk (byssus) and weaver Chiara Vigo, the only person who retains the right to collect this rare treasure in Sardegna. 

In the United States, you can watch Ulisse for free on your computer or mobile device after you register for a free RAI account. On your computer, click this link. On your mobile device, download the RAIplay app for your smartphone or tablet. Follow the on-screen instructions to set up your free account, then search for “Ulisse” to find the episode about Sardegna. 

Protecting the Handmade Safeguards the Economy — and More

In my presentations, I always talk about what the term handmade means, discuss the difference between handmade, hand-decorated, and mill-made textiles, and emphasize the importance of establishing and maintaining a classification system to protect the different types of Sardinian textiles.

Currently, there are no formal classifications or protections. This leads to confusion for buyers and encourages unscrupulous foreign businesses to appropriate and copy — steal — Sardinian textile designs and business. Even now, poorly-made textiles are being produced in China and brought into Sardinia, where the cheap imitations are labeled as “Authentic Sardinian” weavings and sold in tourist shops and roadside stands. I find this sad and infuriating.  

Handwoven textiles are a key element of Sardinia’s heritage, and valuing and protecting the handweavers and their art is critical to maintaining the integrity of Sardinian textiles, overall Sardinian heritage, and the island’s economy. The European Union has a classification system to protect traditional foods and wines considered important to Italy’s cultural heritage — green plastic jars of “parmesan cheese” are not the same as rounds of true Parmigiano Reggiano DOP cheese, and the green jar name and labels cannot suggest they are.

A similar textile classification system would help buyers understand what kind of weaving they are purchasing, ensure fair pricing for the different classifications of weavings, and protect Sardinian handweavers, textile producers, and mill owners from having their designs stolen and copied by offshore makers. 

While there’s much to discuss about protecting Sardinian textiles, cultural appropriation, and related issues, I’ll be brief here. In fact, what you’ll read below are excerpts addressing these themes from the Sardinian Arts Statement. You can read the full statement here (anche in Italiano).

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. 

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.

In Sardinia, most sellers don’t currently 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”.

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.

Truly handwoven Sardinian textiles are a fit for collectors and others who value the highest quality textiles and the work of the women who weave them. Hand-decorated items suit designers who want rapidly-made customized production of their designs or unique items without the cost of a truly handmade item. Mill-made textiles from Sardinia are nicely made, inexpensive, and perfect for everyday use in homes, hotels, and restaurants. 

While what I have written here is specific to Sardinia, I believe that protecting the handmade items and traditional arts of all cultures is necessary to preserve and sustainably build economies, societies, and people across the globe. Yes, technology has its place, but technology and gizmos must be balanced with the handmade in order to preserve and advance our physical and mental health, the health of the nature and societies, and the health of our individual and collective spirits.

~ Kelly Manjula Koza

The photos the cheese and also that of the power loom are from unknown websites; my thanks to the photographers.

Sardinia’s Geology and the Lost Continent

Many consider Sardinia to be Atlantis, or a fragment of that lost land. In Sardinia, as over much of the world, there is ample evidence that an ancient civilization far more advanced than ours in terms of mathematics, the sciences, the arts, and humanity thrived for millennia. Huge stone buildings, rock walls, ancient writing, signs of advanced knowledge and application of mathematics, energy, magnetism, and wireless communications attest to such a civilization in Sardinia as well as other locations in Europe, South and North American, Asia, and Africa. Much of the evidence indicates that Sardinia was the center of influences that spread to other areas. Sadly, this proof is usually ignored and sometimes even destroyed by classical historians of Western European lineage.

Sardinian archeologist and historian Leonardo Melis has written much about Sardinia’s history and influence, and Giovanni Cannella and others have also contributed research and books in this area. (All, however, are written in Italian and difficult to find outside of Sardinia.)

The vast amount of archeological and anthropological research proving the connection between the ancient Sardinians and the populations of now-diverse areas of the world is supported by recent geologic research proving, in detail, that Mediterranean land masses now separated were once unified.

This article (with embedded video) discusses how geologists have recently confirmed the location and movement of an ancient continent called Greater Adria, and proven which current geologic areas and features are remnants of that lost continent. The research is based on plate tectonics (the science of shifting land masses, called plates). Recent technological advances have enabled geologists to detail specific plate movements and how the various land masses comprising what we now consider Europe, Africa, Eastern Asia, and the Mediterranean have shifted over time, coming together and then dispersing in a manner the geologists have long suspected.

Specifically, the article discusses how, over a history spanning more than 100 million years, the continent of Greater Adria broke from the African plate, moved, and variously had portions submerge under the European plate, rise over the European plate, break into smaller pieces, and/or float over or sink under other land masses. Continental European mountains including the Apennines, parts of the Alps, and ranges in Greece, Turkey, as well as other distinct areas of Europe and what is now Sardinia were once compressed and located next to one another in Greater Adria. 

The article and the video are not surprising, given the wealth of astounding geologic, archeologic, and anthropologic evidence in Sardinia supporting a history far greater than what classicists have maintained.

Even without the proof the geologic research offers, when you visit Sardinia, you realize that the rock formations across Sardina were born of tremendous time and change. The mix of rock types; the jutting angles of sedimentary rock layers; the location of limestone in the center of the island; the wear of the rock; the variety of geologic formations; and other features of the land are almost indescribable. The archeological and anthropological proof is also astounding — the nuraghe, domus de janas, sacred wells, and other stone buildings; the statues, textiles, and other artwork; the legends and oral history of the island; and much more speak of a culture and heritage beyond what is recorded or taught even in the most esteemed universities.

While you may not be able to read the books mentioned above because they’re written in Italian, you can certainly find information by searching online, and see posts about Sardinia’s hidden history, geology, and natural beauty on Sardinian Arts’ Facebook and Twitter pages, as I repost items from the authors mentioned above and others who provide insight to the ancient history of Sardina and beyond.

~ KMK

Forest Fires Burning Large Areas of Sardinia in 2021

The numerous forest fires starting, spreading, and engulfing large areas of California, Oregon, Arizona, Utah, Colorado and other western states are known to people in the United States not only because of the news, but because the smoke from these fires has at times grown so thick that people complain of headaches and watery eyes in distant states. Huge forest fires have also charred tens of thousands of acres across southern Europe: Greece, Turkey, and Southern Italy have been burning — as has been Sardinia. 

Massive forest fires started on the island on July 23, 2021 and by July 26, the initial fires had burned more than 50,000 acres (20,000 hectares) across central Sardinia, wiping out homes, farms, crops, and forests, killing or injuring livestock and wildlife, and displacing people and animals.

While the initial fires were quelled, blazes continue to start and burn across the island. The exact number of acres burned is not known, for the fires start and grow so rapidly that accurate fire boundaries can’t always be mapped. The overall damage to forests, wildlife, crops, farm animals, and people won’t be known for some time, and recovery will take years. 

While there’s not much news in English about the Sardinian wildfires, I’ve put a few links below, along with links to Italian sites that include photos and videos of key fires. Many of the damaged areas are well known to me, as I have driven the roads and explored the areas. 

To help those most affected by the fires, individuals across the island and groups across Italy have started GoFundMe campaigns. Some campaigns have a general focus; others have a specific focus on agriculture, animals, or a particular region. I’ve put several GoFundMe links below, should you care to donate. Of course, prayers and best wishes are helpful and welcome.

List of Fires, Updated Daily

The Sardegna Protezione Civile (Sardinian Civil Protection Agency) website maintains a list of wildfires. The list is updated daily.

Articles in English

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/jul/26/firefighters-battle-wildfires-raging-across-south-west-sardinia

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/07/26/world/europe/wildfires-italy-sardinia.html 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2021_Sardinia_wildfires

Articles in Italian (with photos/video)

https://video.repubblica.it/cronaca/incendi-in-sardegna-le-campagne-sono-divorate-dal-fuoco-le-immagini-dal-drone/393718/394429?ref=search

https://ricerca.repubblica.it/repubblica/archivio/repubblica/2021/07/26/gli-incendi-in-sardegna-nelle-ultime-48-ore18.html?ref=search

https://video.repubblica.it/politica/sardegna-lo-sgomento-di-mattarella-in-volo-con-l-elicottero-sulle-zone-devastate-dagli-incendi/393885/394596?ref=search

https://tg24.sky.it/cronaca/2021/07/27/incendi-sardegna-oggi#10

https://www.galluranews.org/incendi-2021-la-sardegna-perde-ogni-anno-oltre-2700-ettari-di-bosco/

https://www.galluranews.org/il-costo-e-di-oltre-10-000e-per-ettaro-questo-il-bilancio-dei-recenti-incendi/

https://www.galluranews.org/incendi-montiferru-le-prime-stime-dei-danni/

https://www.galluranews.org/incendi-bestiame-fienili-pascolo-urgono-i-sostegni/

GoFundMe Campaigns

To see all campaigns related to the 2021 Sardinian fires, click here.

Click here to see the campaign Aiutiamo La Sardegna a Rialzarsi —  Let’s help Sardinia to rise up again, sponsored by Unione Coltivatori Italiani (The Union of Italian Farmers), which is one of the oldest and largest associations working to protect agriculture, farmers, and related businesses across Italy and within the European Union. 

A Note about the Photos

The main photo is from the GoFundMe campaign started by the Unione Coltivatori Italiani The inset photo, taken in 2014, shows a road near one of the burned areas, from KM Koza.

The Enchanting Elegance of Pibiones

Fine Pibiones Up Close

This is not meant to be an exhaustive discussion of this topic. I talk more about this during events, both in-person and online. See the News and Events section or sign up for the mailing list to keep updated!

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. 

Touching pibiones is an enchanting experience: Rub your hand over a handwoven textile bearing a pattern created by the pibiones, and your hand feels as if it’s getting a massage. You may even feel you’re playing an instrument that creates a nearly-silent tune, as the pattern and organization of the pibiones are musical in arrangement! Pibiones are practical, as well: They add strength, texture, and design to a textile. 

Weaving a textile with pibiones requires skill, dexterity, and patience. Pibiones are created by winding fibers around a long needle that sits on top of the weft (the foundation threads of a textile). 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. (See pibiones being woven in I Want to Weave the Weft of Time.)

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. 

While considered uniquely Sardinian, the pibiones tradition of weaving is today found primarily in the Samugheo, in the center of the island. Aggius and Nule, other Sardinian towns renowned for their handwoven textiles, have different weaving traditions.

To learn more, see other pages on this site, including The Art of Handweaving, watch the documentary I Want to Weave the Weft of Time, and/or attend one of my presentations about Sardinian handweaving. The News and Events area lists upcoming presentations and film screenings. 

Online Presentation: Sardinian Handwoven Textiles: Exploring a Nearly-Lost Art, September 2021

This presentation will be September 15, 2021 at 6pm San Francisco time. The event is free, but you must register to attend.

Join me online for this free event to explore the indescribable beauty of Sardinian handwoven textiles, see the loving and painstaking artistry of their creation, meet the tessitrici artigianali — the unique women weavers who maintain the tradition of a nearly-lost art — and glimpse just a bit of Sardinia’s majesty.

I’ll discuss the importance of the handmade, the relevance these women, their weavings, and their traditions have in our modern world, and the anima (spirit) of Sardinian handwoven textiles. I’ll share portions of my film as well as photos, stories of the weavers and my adventures on the island, and show some of my personal textile collection.

There’s no charge for the event, but you must register ahead of time. Click here to go to Eventbrite and register. You’ll receive confirmation and reminder emails with the Zoom link to the event.

I look forward to seeing you!

~ Kelly Manjula Koza

Filmmaker’s Screening: I Want to Weave the Weft of Time, August 2021

Join me for a free online screening of my documentary I Want to Weave the Weft of Time August 18, 2021 (Wednesday) from 6 to 7.30pm (18.00 to 19.30) San Francisco time.

I’ll add filmmaker’s commentary to provide a glimpse of how the film came about, the synchronicity of its making, working with the weavers, the soundtrack’s creation, and more. I’ll also share stories and additional video clips, including outtakes and works in progress, and answer questions.

There’s no charge for the event, but you must register ahead of time. Click here to go to Eventbrite and register. You’ll receive confirmation and reminder emails with the Zoom link to the event.

I look forward to seeing you!

~ Kelly Manjula Koza

© Kelly Manjula Koza unless otherwise noted.