Last monday we had the awesome opportunity to leave Tuscany for a draping field trip to Perugia! The twelve of us piled into a full-size bus and traveled through Tuscany to the province of Umbria, where we made our first stop at a jersey design company Lemuria in the country side around Perugia.
We saw first hand how flats would be transformed into patterns and then from patterns into sewn garments. The coolest part for me was being able to see how cohesively each worker performed together. How no small job in the company was unimportant. From perfectly layering the fabric on the cutting machine, to creating precise patterns on the computer. If one job was done even slightly wrong, everything else after wouldn’t work. Which meant restarting and the loss of money. It was nice to see how seamlessly everyone worked together. How even though it was a company, there was a sense of family and community among the workers because of this reason.
After this we took a nice long lunch break and headed to the center of Perugia for our next stop at Brozzetti, a hand weaving laboratory in the ancient church of San Francesco Delle Donne. Here is a picture of an awesome stone bridge walkway on the way to the church.
The workshop was created by Giudetta Brozzetti in 1921, and with looms from 18th-20th century they produce textiles reminiscent of the Mediaeval and Renaissance tradition. Here’s a shot of the church and looms. Its crazy to think this church was built over 900 years ago and still stands. It’s also cool that it’s now one of the places that house this beautiful and dyeing craft.
Now working there was the Granddaughter of Giudetta Brozzetti. She showed us how all the different looms work, explaining what a difficult and laborious process weaving was. One large loom could take up to 12 days just to thread and setup! It also takes her two full days to weave only about one meter of fabric.
I thought the motion of the shuttle moving from right to left with the hundreds of lead needles moving up and down was super neat. Here is a shot of all the lead needles of jacquard loom threaded and ready to go.
We just finished our first major project! For our fashion art class we were required to create 50-60 figures in a single collection. This was a brutal shock to all of us, considering the most that was required of us in New York was 12 figures. So after the initial freak out we rolled up our sleeves and got to it.
In the end it was not as impossible as it seemed.Yes there were extremely late nights, but with every figure I got a little faster and a little better.
After a tough week of finishing up that project we had some fun in our Fashion Past and Present class. We visited “ Mazzanti Piume Petali” a special Atelier that creates feather pieces, trims, and accessories for luxury designers all around the world. We saw first hand the process of cleaning and dyeing the different kinds of feathers. We learned how a simple feather could be warped and molded into fantastical shapes and accessories with only a few simple tools. At one point we were even allowed to try on several of hats and pieces from the Artisan’s own line of feather accessories “Nanà Firenze”, as well as some pieces they had created for theater companies.
Here are some pics of the accessories and us playing dress up
Falling in one with Milan
t’s been only four weeks since we arrived to beautiful Firenze, and we were already off to Milan for the weekend! I was honestly not expecting too much. I had heard that Milan is a sprawling city with a cold and industrial vibe. But once we arrived, the high-pitched whir of the subways and the activity of young urbanites brought me back to my beloved New York City. Yet Milan is the same and different. Tall cranes are scattered around fresh skyscrapers, while cobblestone alleys and ancient churches resound with the history of the city.
The view from our rooftop tour of the Duomo (cathedral) of Milan.
On our first day of Milan we began with a visit to the small atelier of designer Selene Giorgi. She is a petite and whimsical looking woman who explained to us that she never had practical training as a designer. Instead, she attended only one year of art school and began creating pieces using only natural fibers and a dress form. She said that creativity for a designer needs to act like a drug. It needs to push you beyond expectations. It must keep you awake at night with the longing to create. I hoping her words of wisdom will help me push through those tough work nights before finals:)
Milan captured my creativity in a way I had not expected. We are off to Rome in November, but I am hoping to revisit this lovely city for a weekend before then. Till next time, Arrivederci!