In Sardinia, handweaving is an ancient and revered art, one so complex and magical that legends say the Jana (fairies) taught Sardinian women how to construct looms and weave.
The tessitrici artigianali — the women weavers who work by hand in the old ways — are truly extraordinary, and rare. Only a handful remain working as professionals on the island.
Meet these amazing women below, and read more on the linked pages.
In Samugheo, Sardinia’s weaving capital, Isa Frongia’s studio is the oldest and most respected — and the only professional studio still working entirely by hand.
Isa, along with her mother, Susanna, and cousin, Anna Maria, use traditional methods, looms, and patterns to create museum-quality textiles that epitomize the best-known Sardinian weaving tradition, that of using pibiones, or small raised bumps of thread, to create beautiful patterns. Their textiles set the gold standard for this little-known art.
High in the mountains of central Sardinia, north of Nuoro, in a village known for its wool and a centuries-old tradition of handweaving on vertical looms, contemporary textile designer Eugenia Pinna combines the modern and the ancient to augment the beauty of the textiles with which she was raised.
Having absorbed the weaving tradition of Nule as a girl, Eugenia furthered her artistic ability at the European Institute of Design in Cagliari. Her works fuse the knowledge and skill of the traditional handweavers of Nule — expert in their knowledge of wool, natural colors, and the mechanics, techniques, and patterns suited to the vertical loom — with a modern design sensibility, complex and beautiful color combinations, and innovative shapes and designs that are uniquely hers.
On a cliffside road just outside Nule’s historic center sits a modern home with a small weaving studio where Giovanna Maria Campus spins, dyes, and weaves the traditional rugs and textiles of Nule.
Giovanna’s work has been featured in exhibits across the island and beyond. Giovanna is a master of tinting wool with traditional vegetable dyes, and in addition to showing her textiles, she often presents color tinting exhibitions to visitors and locals.
Hidden in the stone streets and buildings of Aggius, a small town not far from Tempio Pausania in Gallura, Gabriella Lutzu maintains the local handweaving traditions in her studio L’Albero Padre.
Vibrantly-colored, distinctly patterned, and beautifully executed, Gabriella’s weavings exemplify the art of Aggius. The designs are traditional, usually flowers and geometrical patterns, often placed in stripes, and executed using flat and floating weaves.
A successful architect who lived outside Sardinia for 26 years, Bruna returned to Sardinia to reclaim her spirt and heritage. Following her inner voice and inspired by the Frongias, Eugenia Pinna, Gabriella Lutzu, and others working in the traditional arts, Bruna began to weave. In Bosa, on Sardinia’s western coast, Bruna established her own studio, where she weaves and teaches introductory courses as a portal to weaving and self-discovery for those interested in learning how the art can transform their own life.
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