Seven Reasons Sardinia is a Healthy Place to Go for a Post-Lockdown Vacation

Why is Sardinia a great place to vacation after you emerge from lockdown?

Beyond the usual reasons people flock to Sardinia for vacations — the natural beauty of the island, with its indescribable mountains, sea, and beaches; the incredible food, hospitality, and people; the unique traditions, arts, and culture; the warm, strong, intrepid people; and so much more about which I write elsewhere — there are seven health-related reasons is this relatively unknown island in the Mediterranean a perfect place to go for a post-lockdown vacation.

I’ll try to keep my descriptions brief!

Sardinia’s Legacy of Health and Longevity

Sardinia has one of the highest percentages of centurions in the world. Many Sardinians live happily, healthfully, and actively into their 100s. This is due to many factors, from an isolated genetic pool to the next factors mentioned — all of which contribute to the health of Sardinians — and their visitors!

Sardinia’s Food

The food in Sardinia is locally grown and prepared in traditional ways. While you may recognize the names of some of the dishes and their ingredients, the freshness, purity (forget the terms genetically-modified and factory-farmed), and care put into food means that what you eat — cheese from Sardinian sheep and goats; island-raised meat, wheat, pasta, seafood, vegetables, wine, and more — taste nothing like what you expect, or may have ever tasted. 

My consistent experience of Sardinian food is that it’s delicious, and it makes my body (and tastebuds) happy — even when I eat things I would not/do not eat in the States. 

The quality of the food and the love put into its raising, cultivation, and preparation is undoubtedly one of the key factors to the longevity and health of Sardinians — and you’ll be eating this same food while you’re on the island. 

Sardinia’s Nature

Sardinian air is pure and carries the scent of whatever is in bloom at the season — the intoxicating scent of mirtillo is most associated with the island. If you are close enough to the sea, you’ll smell the Mediterranean; in the central part of the island; the air carries the clarity of the mountains, the high plains, or the valleys. 

The mountains across the island range from hills similar to those in coastal California to peaks like those found in Colorado, all packed into an area the size of Vermont. The sun is Mediterranean, beautiful and bold, often shining, yet not exhausting and brutal — even fair-skinned, blue-eyed people such as myself tan rather than burn when in Sardinia.

The Sardinian sea is beautiful beyond compare, and the beaches are pristine. Dozens if not hundreds of Sardinian beaches meet rigid quality, sustainability, and cleanliness standards required of the Bandiera Blu designation.

There’s more to Sardinia’s nature and outdoors than mountains, sun, sea, and beaches — but I promised to keep this article brief! The natural beauty and purity of the island most certainly contribute to the health of Sardinians — and those of us who visit. 

The Sardinian Way of Life

Sardinians love their island, one another, food, life, and living. They don’t hurry the minutes, hours, tasks, or pleasures of life. This is evident in everything they make and do, from their arts and festivals to their food and hospitality — and in their health and happiness. An unhurried life in which meals are prepared with love, eaten with family and friends, and the work one pursues is done with careful attention certainly contributes to the health and longevity of Sardinians — and influences our own for the better when we visit the island.

The Sardinian Mentality

The Sardinian mentality both manifests in and contributes to the Sardinian lifestyle. On one hand strong, stoic, and private, Sardinians are also warm, welcoming, and humorous. Patient, steadfast, and determined — sometimes called testardi, hard-headed — the Sardinians have maintained their ancient cultures, traditions, and ecosystems through centuries while still allowing select modern advantages to enhance their lives. Strength and persistence permeate Sardinia and are tangible in the nature, land, and lives of Sardinians — and rub off on those of us who visit.

Sardinia’s Isolation

As an island, Sardinia has been protected by the natural borders of the sea throughout history. While the island has been invaded at times by warring nations, the invaders have never persisted, and Sardinia has never really considered itself “conquered”. Even now, Sardinia is an independent region of Italy, much like Puerto Rico is to the United States. 

This isolation has protected the cultures of Sardinia — rather ironically, a mix of cultures associated with peoples who invaded or were invaded by Sardinia — as well as the gene pool within the island from outside influences that could weaken the social or physical health of the island and her people. 

During the pandemic, the island was relatively easy to isolate. Lockdown rules were very strictly enforced, both for residents and for those attempting to visit the island before and during the lockdown. The Polizia turned away planes and ferries full of visitors attempting to relocate to their second houses at the start of the lockdown and ticketed any locals violating isolation rules. The lockdown was so successful that Sardinia had relatively few cases of the virus. This has been good news to the Sardinians, as they wanted to ensure island would be be virus-free and support a 2020 tourist season — not just for the health of the Sardinian economy, but for the well-being of the visitors seeking relief from months of isolation.

Sardinia’s Sanitization Practices and Regulations

Even before the government issued regulations stating the regulations for restaurants, stores, beaches, hotels, and agriturismi (working farms that offer guest accommodations and restaurants serving their own home-made regional specialities), the proprietors were working to ensure facilities were cleaned and sanitized; staff would be trained in increased hygienic measures, and methods to maintain social distancing would be instituted. 

In addition, Sardinian government officials anticipate a tourist entry plan that will require visitors to obtain a “health passport”, a document that certifies each person entering Sardinia tests negative for the Cornavirus. The testing and health passport/certificate will eliminate any requirement for quarantine for incoming visitors.

The tourist’s cost for taking the test will reimbursed by giving them coupons for free or reduced-cost services, such as hotel stays, entry to museums, tourist attractions, and so forth.

These measures are an extension of the care and graciousness Sardinian hosts extend for their guests’ comfort, enjoyment, safety, and health.

Summary

All in all, if you want to take a healthful vacation to restore yourself in body, mind, and spirit, my recommendation is that you visit Sardinia. I’ve spent much time on the island, and could write much more than I have above — but you need to feel it for yourself. 

Here’s What YOU Can Do When You Visit

When you go to Sardinia, follow these guidelines for your own health, the health of others, and to be a conscientious traveler!

  • Before you go, maintain your health! Don’t even start your trip when ill, if you recently recovered from being ill, or you think you might be on the verge of becoming ill.
  • When traveling to Sardinia, maintain high preventative and cautionary health measures. Follow all airline, hotel, and other travel partner regulations. Wear masks, wash hands, don’t touch unnecessary objects, sanitize, dispose of trash responsibly, and so forth. 
  • When in Sardinia, follow all airport, hotel, restaurant, cafe, beach, travel, and local regulations. Be gracious when you’re stopped for spot-checks or asked to adhere to local regulations, health or otherwise. If you feel like you’re becoming ill, talk with your hosts, who can direct you to the local health providers and help you undertake any necessary testing and self-isolation. And remember that everyone, hosts and visitors alike, are working together to maintain health for everyone!
  • In general, travel with openness, patience, and a sense of adventure. Remember that as a visitor, you probably won’t know local customs, so listen, watch, and educate yourself a bit about Sardinia before you go and while you are there so you can experience and enjoy more of the island. 

I believe an open, positive mind supports a traveler, and most certainly supports our immune system and mental and physical health. Bring these qualities with you to Sardinia, and experience what the island offers in terms of health — and more!

© 2013 – 2021 Kelly Manjula Koza | All Rights Reserved

Speaking and Teaching Engagements

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.

Contact me to discuss options and timing.

Online presentations are free for elementary, high school, and home schooling groups during the pandemic.

For online presentations to other groups, I generally request an honorarium based on the type and size of your group. For in-person presentations, I request that your group cover travel expenses.

Thanks to Flavia Loreto for her photo!

© 2013 – 2021 Kelly Manjula Koza | All Rights Reserved

Trunk Shows and Exhibitions

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.

Schedule

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.

© 2013 – 2021 Kelly Manjula Koza | All Rights Reserved

Six Ways You Can Support Sardinians While Experiencing Their Beautiful Culture

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

Pecorino Romano, as packaged and sold at Costco. Shown on a handwoven textile from Eugenia Pinna, from Nule, Sardegna.
The label of Trigu, which offers direct shipments of artisan Sardinian cheese, and Pecorino Romano as sold at Costco, shown on a handwoven textile by Eugenia Pinna, of Nule, Sardegna.

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 Italia exports artisan cheese and food products and offers an online catalog of various cheeses and delicacies. The brand’s various cheeses are also available in select gourmet shops in the Seattle and San Francisco areas.

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.

Enjoy!

Buy Sardinian olive oil and related products locally

San Giuliano’s logo, consistent across diverse containers of the company’s products.
The textile is handwoven by Gabriella Lutzu, of Aggius, in the Gallura area of Sardinia.

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.

Important!

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

More than sea, more than mountains, more than lush vegetation and beautiful skies. . .

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

Come on a tour of Sardinia and meet weavers in their studios — and have some time in nature and at the beach!

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

© 2013 – 2021 Kelly Manjula Koza | All Rights Reserved

The Fairies Who Taught Women to Weave

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 version below is translated from the story as written by Bruna Cossu and posted on her Facebook page Brujana. With her permission, I’ve translated her words and posted both the English and Italian versions on this website.

Once upon a time, an eternal god was flying through infinity. The god was omnipotent yet also very bored. It seemed to him that the greatest happiness would be to have desires. He began to search for Earth and humans, because he knew that humans were the best suited to dream the impossible. 

However, once he found Earth, he discovered that humans had not learned to dream. The planet’s population was like a swarm of ants: the men fought amongst themselves and sought to complicate their lives in all ways, yet they had not learned to dream. They did everything except dream. 

Then the god, determined, said: “I will be the first man to dream”. He searched all over the earth for an uninhabited place where he could live alone, and he found it in a small island in the the shape of a footprint: Sardinia. This island was still wild, full of rocks. The god concentrated and made himself into a man, but he chose to make himself old, because in order to have desires, he would have to make effort.

On the island, he had at his disposal stones, cork trees, and a swarm of bees that followed him everywhere. Understanding the nature of what he had available, he assembled it: With simple human arms, he constructed the first hive, thus solving the issue of hunger. 

One day, while sleeping, the god was disturbed by a bee. With an involuntary swipe of his hand, he shooed away the bee. However, in doing so, the god let fly a spark of divine power. In one instant, the entire hive was transformed into a group of incredibly small goddesses: The Janas were born. 

These Janas occupied the human dimension by pretending to be women — and being prophets by nature, they knew that human women would soon arrive on the island. In the meantime, the Janas dug houses out of the rocks and furnished them, always play-pretending at being women in the same way young girls play at being women.

One day, the first human ship arrived on the horizon, from an uncertain location, and bearing an unknown people. It was a rude group, wild, a bunch of warriors. The Janas immediately became interested in the women and flew among their heads, convincing them to leave the heavy work to the men. 

In this way, women finally entered the world of the Janas, where the women learned to spin and to weave at looms prepared by the fairies who had been bees — fairies who had an innate, genetic understanding of geometry, and who constructed looms with extreme rigor and precision. And the women themselves brought an essential quality: Patience. Working together, the rigor of the Janas and the patience of the women fostered the ideal conditions for the birth of creativity. 

And so was the beginning of how Sardinian women came to weave their rhythmic, symbolic textiles, weaving even today as they did then.

Sources: 

Note: Sardinia’s 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. Learn more about these unique, independent, and wonderful women on the Sardinian Arts page Meet the Artists, which is a portal to their work and contact information.

© 2013 – 2021 Kelly Manjula Koza | All Rights Reserved

NY Times’ T Magazine Article Featuring the Frongias

On September 13, 2018, The New York Times’ T Magazine published How Sardinian Weaving Nearly Became a Lost Art, featuring Isa Frongia, Susanna Frongia, and Anna Maria Pirastu.

I’m thrilled that awareness grows about the handweavers and their art, as this helps build a sustainable future for handweaving and handweavers in Sardinia! I was also happy to learn that the article was in great part inspired by my documentary I Want to Weave the Weft of Time.

The direct link to the article is https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/13/t-magazine/sardinian-weaving-woven-textiles.html.

~ Kelly Manjula Koza

How Sardinia Came into My Life: Part One

The Often-asked Question

Sardinia is where I feel most at home on this planet: I melt into the land, the sea, and myself. Friends see this, and, like others, they’re mystified, as my genetic heritage is obviously not Sardinian, or even Italian.

What drew you to Sardinia? What drew you to the weavers? What’s your connection?” 

I hear these questions often, and the answer is simple — and not. 

The short answer is “Good fortune, synchronicity, karma, and grace.”

The long answer, of course, is more complex, bringing together events of many times and places.

Long-ago events form the foundation (or warp, to use weaving terminology) of the story, completed by more recent story-threads (the weft) .

More weft-stories have been woven; I will write them some time!

The Warp (Foundation) of the Story

When I was a kid, my parents loved to travel, explore, and meet new people, and our summer drives across the United States fostered my own appetite for adventure, desire to travel, and sense that I would someday live outside the US. 

My mom, also adventurous and inquisitive, was resourceful, smart, and had what I call a genetic predisposition to design and engineering, which both my brother and I inherited. She could — and did — design, make, and/or fix pretty much anything and everything. She had worked as a layout artist before we kids came along, and afterwards, her love of sewing and the articles she created were the most common expression of her talents. She made most of her own clothes, many of mine, and upholstered, refinished, and transformed furniture. While I preferred playing sports and was not interested in sitting behind a sewing machine and thus (sadly) never developed my mom’s skill and patience, I did learn her sewing techniques, how to do other things precisely, and acquired an intense love and appreciation of fibers, fabrics, and textiles. I was intrigued by the patterns, the precision, the mathematics hidden in weaves, and mesmerized by the feeling of fine textiles — especially when they were woven or sewn by hand. Even as a toddler, I was drawn to the feeling of bedspreads my mom had at the time: the bumpy, precise patterns had a special feel unlike anything else. I acquired the appreciation for handmade articles and the uncanny ability to sense a handmade article at a distance. 

This passion for textiles was mostly hidden until I went to college. My choice to major in graphic design surprised friends and family: I had been a very academic student in high school, then graduated early to play a sport professionally — certainly a major surprise to my teachers! — and after a few years, finally went to college to study art  . . . and my favorite class was weaving?!?!

Yes.

While at the University of Arizona, I had the great fortune to study with Gayle Wimmer, a well-known fiber artist and Fulbright Fellow who had worked with weavers in Italy, Poland, France, and Israel. Gayle and her classes were my biggest influence while I was at the U of A, and she became a friend and mentor of sorts. I qualify “mentor” only because while I loved weaving and fiber arts, I felt that it was not my calling to be a weaver — yet I knew somehow, weaving and fiber arts would play a significant role in my life. Later, I thought, perhaps I would collect rugs, not so much for the objects themselves, but as a way to honor the women who made them, and the work of the heart that went into the textiles.

I also studied a great deal of film history and photo history, even though I could not afford to take photography classes. Those were the days before digital, and the cost of cameras, 35mm film, paper, and developing solution was beyond my means. It would be later in life when I began my work in video and photography, for in university I could barely cover the cost of the special paper, markers, Exacto knife blades, and Letraset (go look up that word!) necessary to my graphic design studies. 

In college, I also learned that the design style I had acquired from my mom and her brother — my uncle took me to his university design classes and started giving me his old Graphis magazines when I was about six years old — was considered “Swiss school” or “Italian school”. I thought this clean, simple, functional style was merely good design. My professors and other students disagreed. My final project was an identity kit for a fictitious Italian furniture maker, which I immaculately designed, precisely constructed by hand, graciously presented — and strongly defended. 

I was told I would do well in Europe, but not in the United States. It wasn’t the last time I heard this!

Design style aside, I always felt I would end up living, or at least having a second home, outside the United States. For years, I wasn’t certain where this would be, but I knew it would become clear at the right time. In my travels I considered Kerala, India; but no — the ashram and India was not for me as a home. Touring Europe, I considered various places, yet my first visit to Torino and the Piedmont area in 2003 left me feeling that Italy was too smoke-filled and misogynistic for my tastes. 

The threads hadn’t yet together to lead to Sardinia — and one of the most important was a nearly-forgotten recurring dream.

Throughout my childhood, I would often dream of a beach where the water was a deep, clear, unforgettable shade of blue, and the sky was another unique shade of azure. In the foreground, massive rocks tumbled down from my dream-vista to the water. In the distance, yet not too far away, rose the outline of a mountainous island. The beach image seemed familiar — somehow connected to a monastic lifetime — even though I did not know where the beach was, or where I had seen it before. The dream-beach was very unlike the shore of Lake Michigan, just two miles from my childhood home. The beach I saw in the dreams was more like those found in Northern California, but the colors, the rocks, the horizon, the light were not the same. The dream-beach was not a California beach. Nor was it a Hawaiian beach, a Florida beach, an English beach, or even a Greek beach — even though photos I saw of Greek beaches seemed more similar. If anything, I sensed that the dream-beach was in “Italy, but not Italy.” 

The Weft (Threads Filling in the Story)

In 2006, a friend introduced me to the music of an amazing Italian singer and mystic. Even though I didn’t speak Italian at the time, I didn’t need to: the heart and soul of the singer, the voice, and the music struck me, took me inside, and eventually changed my life in ways I did not foresee. 

After a few years of listening to the music with an understanding of the heart (supplemented by whatever bits of Spanish and Latin I remembered from school, and an occasional translation provided by the friend), I decided to study the Italian language. In 2012, I began studying and visited Milano. The next year, I read my first book in Italian: The singer’s biography. As expected, there were many words, phrases, and places I did not know and couldn’t understand by context. 

Google and Wikipedia became my constant companions as I searched for definitions and place names: Sardinia — I knew where that was — but within Sardinia, Gallura

I googled. I clicked a link in the search results. A new page opened. Electricity jolted up my spine, and my breathing stopped.

I was looking at photos of my dream-beach.

To be continued. . .

© 2013 – 2021 Kelly Manjula Koza | All Rights Reserved

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 – 2021 Kelly Manjula Koza | All Rights Reserved

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 – 2021 Kelly Manjula Koza | All Rights Reserved

Handmade or Hand-decorated?

All too often across the world, items are classified as “handmade” when they are really 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 (when you think of Parmesan cheese, do you think of a heavy round of solid cheese, a bag of shredded cheese, or green can?)

The European Union recognizes different classifications of traditional food to make certain we don’t confuse the green can that has nothing to so with Parma, Italy with the traditional cheese round produced in homes and cheese-making facilities in the Parma region, 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 we offer is accurately classified with integrity according to this system. Kelly personally visits weaving studios, custom shops, and mills to meet owners and verify how textiles are made. We are also working 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, 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”.

Questions?

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

© 2013 – 2021 Kelly Manjula Koza | All Rights Reserved

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