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|The LISIO Foundation dedicates its efforts above all to the production of silk velvets and brocades which must be hand-woven by experts.
Hand-woven brocades in silk, silver and gold are the most precious of all textiles, with a production rate of just five to ten centimetres a day for complex designs. A brocade is a textile that resembles embroidery, its patterns created by inserting supplementary wefts of silk or precious metal wound round the bobbins within small brocading shuttles that float the thread on the surface of the material. The textile is woven with the reverse side uppermost, requiring great skill and care on the weaver's part. In a true, discontinuous brocade, these supplementary wefts are only woven within the pattern area so the weight of the ground weave is not affected.
Velvet is one of the richest textiles and one of the most complex to weave. The weaver works with the right side of the cloth uppermost and uses special rods which are inserted beneath the threads of a supplementary warp mounted on a creel and selected and raised by the Jacquard machine as required by the pattern. These rods have a special groove, along which a blade is passed to cut the pile. Setting up and operating a loom requires extraordinary skill and experience.
Experiments have been conducted in the Foundation’s workshops to revive velvet weaving techniques – for example, to achieve highlighted (allucciolati) or brocaded effects – that are no longer practised because of the difficulties they present and their extreme slowness; a day’s work using a technique of this type will produce no more than five to ten centimetres of textile.
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