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For more details, please email a b k h a 8 2 a(t) g m a i l d o t c o m  so that i can send a more detailed course brochure. Module 1 covers Weft faced compound weaves such as Taquete and Samitum along with some variations & Lampas and many variations (about 6 or 7)

Module 1 covers Damask and Velvet and tons of variations within each.

Course dates can/will be adjusted to accommodate interested students. Minimum of 4 and max of 6 students will be accepted. Please email soon so we can mutually decide dates and details!


The Background: A Study of Historic Woven Silk Structures with Abbas Khan

 When one thinks of “textiles” today, images of mass-produced cloth come to mind. Even when one talks about silk! What was a luxury item up to a century ago is now widely available to a large market. It’s called the ‘democratization of luxury’- to make something that was scarce available to a large customer base at a fraction of the cost. Not necessarily a bad thing! This is exactly what the industrial revolution accomplished- heavy machinery took care of specialized tasks, shortened production times and reduced overheads that lead to lower product prices for a larger potential market.

In the highly laborious realm of silk weaving, a textile that took months to weave could be produced within a day by machines but the quick nature of such a business required strict timeliness & financial controls to ensure survival. Artists worked within a timely framework and each hour of their time was billed into the production process and compared to revenue. A shrewd marketing strategy had to be followed to create a brand that differentiated itself to ensure business survival.

This model of textile production was a change from the model preceding industrialization when aristocratic families patronized artisans, who were guaranteed business survival as long as they dedicated themselves to innovating & creating extravagant art works! Though industrialization led to economic prosperity, a side effect was a loss of artistic extravagance and over a period, a loss in the understanding of what made a truly luxurious woven silk textile.

Revivalists have come and gone- some used the word “revival” carelessly, not realizing that merely reproducing a woven pattern and image do not yield the refinement and luxury of a historic original. Before attempting to revive or innovate, one needs technical proficiency and a cultivated eye to discern the characteristics of a luxury textile.

I invite you to join me in my study of classical luxury weaves, namely Samitum, Taquete, Lampas, Damask & Velvet at the Fondazione Arte della Seta Lisio in Florence, Italy. In our course of study, each participant will learn to draft & weave 1-1.5 inches of several variations of each of the above weaves on hand-operated Jacquard looms. Teamwork will be necessary, and I seek a small group of highly dedicated participants who are as passionate about luxury silk textiles as I.


This study is divided into two modules: Module 1 for Taqueté, Samitum & Lampas, and Module 2 for Damask & Velvet. Enrollment is restricted to 4 students per module.

Students will be taught the theory of drafting weave structures & the entire Jacquard design process. This is a very hands on course- you draft the structure on paper, understand loom setups required to weave those structures, hand punch Jacquard cards using a punching machine and eventually weave between 1-1.5 inches of each structure (maybe more if time permits) on the hand looms. Students may be assigned to work in groups of 2 while punching cards and weaving to enhance speed. All weaving is done standing up. Artwork will be ready & supplied by the teacher during the start of the course.

You will also be shown the foundations collection of silk textiles, especially those structures that are covered in your module. While your stay, you can access the library, which has a huge selection of books and publications on woven silk textiles.



*TAQUETÉ: (Reversible Taqueté; Taqueté with three or more complementary wefts)

*SAMITUM: (Reversible Samitum; Samitum with three or more complementary wefts)


*Lancé Lampas with plain/twill/satin ground bound in taffeta/twill

*Liseré Lampas with satin ground; 2 alternating wefts bound in taffeta/twill

*Liseré Lancé Lampas

*Lampas double étoffe (Double cloth Lampas)


*Theory of Brocaded Lampas & Taille Douce




*Gros de Tour Damask (Brocaded, Lancé, 2 alternating wefts liseré)

*Lyon Damask

*Royal Damask

*Tissus Damassées


*Uncut Velvet

*Cut Velvet

*Ciselé Velvet

*Polychrome Velvet

*Warp Substitution

*Brocaded Velvet

*Theory of Lancé Velvet, Alto Basso Velvet & Poil Trainant Velvet

*If time permits, I can arrange a quick trip to Tessiture Luigi Bevilacqua in Venice, a 300 -year old silk weaving workshop

*If a student MUST add a variation or two to this, we can try fitting that in



TAQUETÉ & SAMITUM: Weave employing a main warp, binding warp, and a weft composed of two or more series of threads, usually of different colours. By the action of the main warp ends, only one weft thread appears on the face, while the other or others are kept to the reverse. The ends of the binding warp bind the weft in passes, and the ground and the pattern are formed simultaneously. The entire surface is covered by weft floats, which hide the main warp ends.

If the passes are bound in tabby, the construction is called weft-faced compound tabby. (Fr:Taqueté); if in twill, weft-faced compound twill (Fr. Samit).

LAMPAS: Term used exclusively for figured textiles in which a pattern, composed of weft floats bound by a binding warp, is added to a ground fabric formed by a main warp and a main weft. The ground may be tabby, twill, satin, damask, flushing warp weave etc. The weft threads forming the pattern may be main, pattern or brocading wefts; they float on the face as required by the pattern, and are bound by the ends of the binding warp in a binding ordinarily tabby or twill and which is supplementary to the ground weave.

BROCATELLE: A lampas-woven fabric with silk warps that is characterized by a marked relief of the warp-faced weave. This results from the use of coarse linen ground weft and silk pattern wefts, and the appropriate tensions for warps and wefts.

DAMASK : Figured textile with one warp and one weft in which the pattern is formed by a contrast of binding systems. In its classic form, it is reversible, and the contrast is produced by the use of the warp and weft faces of the same weave. By extension, two distinct binding systems may also be employed.

VELVET : A pile weave in which the pile is produced by a pile warp that, by the introduction of rods during weaving, is raised in loops (which may be subsequently cut), above a ground weave. Velvets may be described as solid when the ground is entirely covered with pile, or voided when areas of the ground are left free of pile. Velvets may be classified, depending on the nature of the pile, as:

Ciselé velvet: Velvet, the pattern of which is formed by cut and uncut pile. The cut pile is higher than the uncut pile.

Cut velvet: Velvet in which the loops formed by the pile warp are cut.

Pile-on-pile-velvet (Alto Basso in Italian): Velvet in which the same type of pile (i.e. cut or uncut) is woven in two or more heights in order to achieve a pattern.

Uncut velvet: Velvet in which the loops formed by the pile warp are left uncut.

BROCADE: A term in general without precise connotation, which is not recommended by CIETA. It is used for any rich figured textile, and by extension is applied to any textile with a woven pattern, especially one with a pattern in gold or silver.

The French term “brocart” applies only to those textiles with patterns in gold and silver.


Eva Basile: Eva is an expert in the field of historic silk textiles and woven structures. She has conducted courses in Italy for museum curators, art historians and textile designers, in Analysis & Cataloging of historic textiles using the CIETA methodology, and also trained expert designers in Jacquard hand weaving. Eva has exhibited her artworks in over 30 exhibitions globally & has published articles in international textile journals. Besides woven textile, Eva also teaches felting techniques and courses in Textile technology and Fashion CAD to university students. When not teaching or publishing, Eva works as a Design consultant with some of the top Italian fashion houses. Eva speaks Italian, English, Dutch and French.

Julie Holyoke: Julie has worked as a designer and educator in the field of dobby and Jacquard textiles for hand woven and industrial productions. A pioneer in the use of digital technologies for woven textiles, she works with both state-of-the-art and historical technologies, often in combination. Her design work draws inspiration from the great textile traditions of the past, while making use of current materials and processes. She continues her research in historic textiles and their reproduction with today’s digital technologies.


“The mission of the Fondazione Arte della Seta LISIO is to renew and hand on the finest and oldest techniques for hand-weaving silks and precious metals.” www.fondazionelisio.org

The Lisio Foundation is one of the only research centers in the world today where textile experts can study the weaving of complex historic silk textiles. Despite its academic expertise, the Lisio foundation continues to produce extravagant silk textiles for European Royalty but is most renowned in Europe for producing textiles for the Vatican! On the fashion front, the Lisio Foundation has collaborated with luxury brands such as Gucci & Fendi for creating velvet textiles for their collections.

The foundation is located about 20 minutes away (by bus or 10 minutes by taxi) from the historic center of Florence. The supermarket is about a 7-8 minute walk away from the foundation, as are the bus stop (direct bus to city center), Laundromat & several small eateries. Taxi’s are easy to call and the ride to the city center usually costs between Euro’s 15-20. A bus ride costs Euro’s 2 one-way if you buy the ticket on board. Hotel Sheraton is in the area and only a 2-minute walk away from the foundation.

Students will be housed either in the resident apartments that are located within a minute’s walk away from the main studio, in the same compound. Each apartment comes with the basic amenities- heat, hot water & basic kitchen utensils. You will be sharing an apartment/room with another person. There is NO WIFI in the apartments but there is WIFI in the main studio, which usually stays open from 7:30am-5:00pm on weekdays. You are free to use the computers at the studio if you do not carry your laptop!

It is fairly easy to get a cell phone SIM card with a local number and unlimited 3G Internet access, which is usually quite good!

ARRIVAL: On the day of your arrival at the Foundation, Abbas Khan will welcome you and show you around the local area- Laundromat, supermarket, bus stops etc. Once all participants arrive, he will accompany you to the historic center of Florence for a short tour of the city!

If you arrive in Florence airport (there is a larger airport in Pisa), a private car can be booked for your pickup through a local service, I can provide details if interested- the cost would be approx. Euro 50 payable directly to the company (unless their rate has changed). Taxis are available right outside the arrival area of the airport and charge Euro 20 flat rate to anywhere in Florence (which includes the foundation). If you arrive by train at Firenze SMN station, taxis are available outside the station area and cost between Euro 20-30 depending on traffic/route.

If you arrive in Pisa, you will have to arrange your own transportation to Florence- there is a train that runs between Pisa and Florence.

International participants are advised at least 2 days of rest to get over the jet lag before the start of the course.

For more information about the foundation, please visit www.fondazionelisio.org

Please see a brief video of the textiles at Lisio Foundation- Eva Basile teaches structure. Hear her speak from 0.04 onwards.

And here you will watch Orianna weaving a commission from the Wilanow Palace, Poland. Orianna is extremely friendly and very agile on the loom.

Marta weaves brocades at the foundation and here you can watch her brocading:

Giampaolo weaves Velvet & Brocade – watch him weave a velvet here: