Today, there are 18 looms and 6 weavers working at Tessitura Bevilacqua. And now one of them, Gloria, will tell you some curious facts about the world of handwoven fabrics and velvet manufacturers.
Production of handwoven fabrics: difficulties and value
The peculiarities of working with traditional weaving looms, as Gloria explains, are already clear when setting them, because this takes a long time, too: usually 1-2 months. As a consequence, our looms are always ready, with the threads and punched cards of the most popular patterns. So, when she’s not working on a particular order, a weaver produces one of our most famous Venetian velvets.
It’s a slow weaving, because in one day a weaver completes 35-40 cm of fabric. And it’s a physical work: she pushes the pedals that move the punched cards of the Jacquard machine and the threads of warp and weft, she shifts the metal bars that create the fabric’s pile and cuts velvet with a proper blade.
“And none of these operations is something you can do thoughtlessly”, she claims. “No matter how careful we are, sometimes we make mistakes. Of course, in these cases we can’t throw away everything we’ve done, but many people don’t understand that the value of handwoven velvets lies in their flaws, too, proving that the product is unique and really handmade”.
Working on handlooms
Indeed, you need to keep in mind that Bevilacqua’s handlooms are old machines. They can be easily broken, and must be repaired, often by the weaver herself, who climbs up the loom’s ladder and starts looking for the problem.
But how can they notice that something’s wrong? “By listening to the loom. That’s why there’s no music in the looms’ room: it would prevent us from hearing the loom’s noises”.
And this explains something else, too: “Some time ago, someone told us that our eldest weavers risked committing too many mistakes, because their eyes couldn’t see well anymore. Well, sight isn’t all that matters, for a weaver: first of all, she must feel the loom and know its noises perfectly”.
Besides, if we didn’t have the experience of the weavers who have been working here the longest, we couldn’t train new apprentices.
Last but not least: “There’s no doubt that this is a hard and demanding work. But knowing that I’m producing something unique, with ancient techniques and tools almost nobody else in the world has, is a pleasure words can barely describe”.