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Martin Ciszuk: Weaving workshop on late antique silk weaving techniques

Martin Ciszuk, Universitetsadjunkt/forskarstuderande, Textilhögskolan, Borås


The intentions of the workshop

The goal of the workshop is that the students should understand the techniques and practically tryout the different technical variations.This would be useful in order to recognize technical details in original silks and understand and carry forth argumentations based on technical details.

The result of the weaving will be small samples. The width of the warps will be about 20 cm. Do not expect to produce a full scale Sassanian design or a piece of fabric  bigger than to make a needle case…There will be about six different set-ups and hopefully there will be time for each student to make a small sample in most of them. At the end of the workshop the students will have sheets with technical descriptions of the samples they have wovenand documentation of the other samples woven at the workshop.

The majority of the sample weaves will be in strong cotton or wool yarn, to make mounting and weaving easy and create textiles where the technical details are clearly visible. Two looms will be mounted with silk warps to give an understanding about the visual and tactile properties of the silk and becausehe development of both samite and damask is linked to this material.

The looms used will be modern treadle looms. This type of loom was not used in antiquity, but is easy to handle and much more effective than antique loom types. The focus of the workshop is the understanding of the techniques and their possibilities for patterning. The experiences from the sample weaving on modern looms will make a foundation for reasoning about production and loom types in antiquity.

The suggested literature is not meant to be read during the course, but intended as examples on how the technical details have been recorded and used by different researchers. It would be useful for the further discussions and studies of the subject.