Advent Calendar part 1

My own calendar; a pic each day to celebrate the best time of the year ūüėä

Day 1 to 4 https://mariannanello.files.wordpress.com/2017/12/img_8021.movhttps://mariannanello.files.wordpress.com/2017/12/img_8101.mov

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To share or not to share your own knowledge? – Dressing the loom

First of all, you all know how much I love to share my thoughts and ideas with others. That’s why I’m deeply in love with Instagram. Thanks to social media I’ve found I huge community of super nice (and extremely skilled) people willing to help and share their knowledge. ¬†Every time I am concerned about something, I share a post on Instagram and get some quick-positive response, isn’t that amazing??! The sad part is that not many people are from Italy (indeed none of my Insta-friend is, with very few exceptions). People from¬†the UK, USA, Australia, Japan…but no Italians out there! I find it so hard to connect with Italian weavers; is it because I always write in english? or maybe because we are potential competitors?

I really don’t know but I noticed that Italians are¬†unwilling to share their own ‘secrets’, their knowledge and the know-how.

Remember my last post about Alpacas?

The two breeders, a lovely couple, have been learning to weave in order to use the Alpacas’ wool they produce. The first thing they told me, once I told them I’m a weaver myself, was: “We asked a few weavers for help but everyone is always reluctant to give us advice”. I was ashamed and seriously concerned about that. They just wanted to know some tips on how to dress the loom quickly and how to bind the warp in an easier way…how could you not help someone who is willing to learn to weave? Why do you have to discourage them? I tried to explain them how I set up my table loom alone, just using water bottles to balance the warp. I’m afraid I failed to explain myself so once back in my studio I wrote them an email adding some pics of the process.

Anyway, this is how I bind a warp on my table loom…in a “super professional” way:

I usually divide my warp in 2 sections so that I have the right tension and it’s easier to balance the warp evenly. The warp showed in the pictures was 390 ends (divided in 2 smaller section of 195 threads each). As you can see I use a raddle to make the process run smoothly; actually, the first time I saw a raddle I was in England, I had never used it before but now I couldn’t live without it! (I don’t think it’s a popular tool in Italy but I’d suggest you to use one, it makes things way easier!). My Ikea bookshelf is essential at this stage, it is part of the process – like it was made for the purpose, don’t you think??. So, this is how I make it…what’s your method?

Ps: If you are an Italian weaver/ creative, prove me wrong! Let’s connect!

 

Alpacas Farm in Tuscany

Few weeks ago I went to a fair held in a small village in the beautiful Tuscan countryside, the weather was perfect and the food was amazing!

Me and my friends spent all the afternoon wandering around, taking pics and eating an enormous amount of chestnuts…Among all the stalls selling local products and delicious food I found the stand of some locals alpacas breeders (one of the cutest animals I’ve ever seen). They were selling handmade scarves, hats and fluffy alpaca wool.

My cousin set up her mind for an Alpaca earlier this year, so she was determined to go to the farm, see the animals and feed them all day long ….we decided to visit the Alpacas the next Monday and so we did.

The farm is run by a lovely couple and they have 63 Alpacas, all incredibly cute; they made me want to have one! Not to talk about their fluffy wool which is super soft and comes in 100 different colors. We were amazed and decided to visit them again soon

Here is a link to their website and some pics, check it out!

Back in Town; studio is up and running again.

It’s been a while since I last wrote a post on this blog.
I have been busy with a new job and I had to move to another city for a few months, from April to September, but now I’m back again!
Finally back to my studio and, obviously, back to my loom.
I’ve been missing weving and designing fabrics so much! Now that I have some spare time I can focus on my winter collection. I haven’t posted pics on Instagram either and I bet my followers were wondering what I was doing… Well, I can assure you that working for Gucci was a great experience indeed but very tiring as well!
I am looking forward to create an interesting collection of scarves this fall, trying to combine traditional tartan and innovative designs. So many things to do and so little time…
Truth is that I’m still looking for a job, something that gives me time to weave at least on weekends (any advice is welcome). I’m planning to keep running my business on Etsy but I’ll have to work a lot on my brand image and style in order to sell.
Enough with the talk, I want to show you my latest work:

 check my Instagram for updates

and my ETSY shop too

Woven Stories | Collaboration Project with the artist Serena Nello

This month I joined the #marchmeetthemaker challenge (by @joannehawker ) on Instagram. Each day we, the makers, are supposed to post a pic regarding a different aspect of our business: pics of the studio, materials, latest creations, fav things to make, packaging and so on. Day 14 challenge was about “creative friends” so I thought I would share one of my sister’s artworks (Check her Instagram gallery @serenart90 ). While selecting her paintings I found few watercolors that matched perfectly my handwoven fabrics and got super excited! I started taking tons of pictures of my scarves and her works and here is the result:

You can find all my handwoven scarves/textiles in my Etsy shop: MariannaNelloTextile

Studio Update / Back to Rustic Elegance

So, at the beginning of my MA journey I focused on the trends called ‘Rustic Elegance’ and ‘Rough Luxe’ and since then I forgot about those two until few days ago when I was ready to set up a new warp. I’ve been missing those productive days when all I was doing was yarns and pattern research!

I haven’t been experimenting much these past months and I really wanted to try something new so I decided to use a twisted, un-dyed cotton for the warp and raw silk and hemp as weft. I wanted to play with textures and so I tried to create a tridimensional effect using a wooden stick to create small loops. I’ve done this experiment before with different materials and the result was quite satisfactory. From the pictures you can probably see how the pattern is working: it is a simple but asymmetrical check design. Unfortunately, the warp thread was a bit too stretchy so the fabric was bouncing and crimped once off the loom. I’ll probably try to use this woven piece to make a small pouch but I’m not sure about the final result…we’ll see how it turns out!

What do you think? Any suggestion?

Premiere Vision Trend Report- Paris 7-9Feb. 2017

For the first time ever, this February I had the chance to attend one of the biggest textile fair of the world: Première Vision.
This event is held twice a year, in September and February, in Paris and it last 3 days. During those 3 days, thousands of designers, buyers, creatives, manufacturers and fabric-lovers find themselves surrounded by the latest trends in terms of colors, yarns, patterns, textures, surfaces etc.
The event is held just outside Paris, in a huge exhibition center: Parc d’Exposition (Paris Nord Villepinte). The space is divided in 4 different halls; each hall focuses on a different type of product: leather, accessories, designs, fabrics, yarns and manufacturing.
There are also other subsections inside the halls, those are knitwear-solutions, upper jeanswear and maison d’exception(which is a highly innovative/experimental section exclusively reserved for luxury brands and fashion designers and it is by invitation only).
The first section that we find, at the entrance of the fair is dedicated to the designs. A large number of stands present selection of innovative designs printed on paper or on fabric swatches. Obviously, the majority of the prints presented floral patterns as it is a timeless trend. Stripes and geometrical patterns appeared too but in much restricted numbers. Apparently, geometric is not going to be one of the main trend for S|S 2018. I was surprised to find a huge number of prints depicting cartoon-animals. A conspicuous number of stands offered cute illustration in pastel colors for kids and toddlers. Pink appeared everywhere in adorable illustration of rabbits, pandas and tiny birds.
As I am not into prints, I went through this section just looking around and taking notes of the main color trends.
The second, main, section was the one dedicated to fabrics in general. I spent there few hours here, looking at each stand and taking notes about the weaving patterns/drafts.
I was surprised to notice that the stands presented different kind of designs, in terms of color ways, surfaces and texture effects. I can’t say that I clearly saw a connection between the collections of the different companies as it seems like everyone followed their own different trends. On the other end, one thing I noticed was the evident use of some yarns (paper yarns, fancy yarns-pigtail yarns, and absolutely no boucle yarns). I never use fancy yarns in my collections but I thought I’d give it a try because I found some of the results really inspiring.

A large number of stands where dedicated to high end embroidery, laces and knitted fabrics which although were pleasant to see are not particularly relevant from my point of view.

Interesting were also the leather and accessories sections, especially the stands that were selling trims and fur.

Of course it is impossible to sum up everything in one blog post and unfortunately I couldn’t take pictures because of the copyright; but it was an amazing experience and I think that it will conspicuously affect my future weaving and woven designs.