Today, I'd like to introduce an artisan we chose for the December Box, our Buon Natale Box.
Nadia Caselli, La Tessenda (The Weaver)
The old loom springs to life in the skilled hands of Nadia, a fabulous artisan, creating a variety of rugs, bags, scarves, and breakfast tablecloths of various lengths and sizes, with geometric figures and small drawings.
Nadia began working on a loom in 1999. That year, the province of Lucca organized a free course for women looking for work, to avoid letting the Lucchese tradition of weaving on ancient treadle looms be lost. This is how Nadia discovered and began to nurture her passion for this ancient craft.
Red hues or pale colors as well as shades of light blue and violet take the spotlight in her angora scarves and mohair stoles, all executed with harmony, taste, professionalism, and grace.
In her store, which is also her workshop in Via San Frediano in Lucca, besides the large treadle loom, Nadia keeps an old Singer, a sewing machine from the 1930s, an item found in the house where she went to live, which her husband carefully restored. Listening to the story of Nadia's old sewing machine helped me understand a lot about her kind soul; instead of throwing it away to make room for herself in her new home, she chose to salvage an old and damaged object by restoring it to its former glory.
The Rose of Barga, the Flames, and the Quadretto Lucchese are some of the motifs and designs that take shape on fabric thanks to Nadia's hands.
Nadia felt "called to the loom," to the weaving of the yarns that form canvases and fabrics that then go out into the world. She moves in a concrete and symbolic context, caught up in the beauty and labor of the work, always marrying creativity and tradition, hers is an art made of tremendous passion and loads of patience. Her manual dexterity, precision, and commitment make her an artist who has imaginatively created precious objects that tell an Italian story.
With that same loom, a hundred years ago, trousseaus, linens, and other accessories that a bride brings with her to her new home were crafted.
Time stands still before the loom: preparing the warp, spreading it on the loom, commanding the spool in concert with the pedals, and watching the fabric grow under your hands. Nadia told me that in the most complex works it seems as if she never progresses. But eventually, after an unbroken series of intertwining yarns and weaves, the work is completed and you can admire the complete design. And it's like watching a child being born.
Would you like to discover more of Nadia's creations? Write in the comments.
We have selected the bread baskets with the Quadretto Lucchese motif for our Buon Natale Box. The Bread Baskets are slightly different from each other in size, precisely because they are fully handmade. Nadia has used two types of fabric to create them, one woven with linen yarn and the other, with a slightly lighter tone of red, woven with linen and cotton yarns.
Here in the Lucca area, this checked pattern was used for the borders of sheets prepared for trousseaus, with either strong red or blue hues. It is for this reason, perhaps, that it is handed down under the name Quadretto Lucchese.
The wooden button used to close the bread basket is made from the wood of Nadia's olive trees; her husband saws the branches and makes small buttons out of them.
The high quality of her creations is strongly characterized by the use of the noblest fibers. At her Bottega La Tessenda, Nadia uses natural alpaca yarns, mohair, and soft angora, as well as wool from the Garfagnana area for rugs with the typical Garfagnana design of "flames," which Nadia has decided to revisit to create bags as well.
Garfagnana, rich in history, traditions, and still pristine environments, is an area of Tuscany with a great tradition of loom weaving. Indeed, in fairly recent times, several associations, such as the Garfagnana Textile School, have sprung up with the aim of handing down and preserving the ancient art of weaving as well as encouraging enthusiasts of this true "art" to approach its practice. There are several associations committed to promoting the art of the loom in these Tuscan areas of the Lucca province.
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