Hand looms

 

Tessitura Rubelli – formerly Tessitura Zanchi – is located at Cucciago in the province of Como. Taken over in 1984, it is currently the most important production facility owned by the company. The plant covers two areas:  one dedicated to weaving and the other, recently refurbished, to commercial offices, showroom and a historic laboratory.

The actual weaving plant is ultra-modern with computerised looms and machinery, including over 28 state-of-the-art electronic looms and also 3 fully functioning hand looms.

The hand looms, the same used in Venice as far back as the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, were set up again and brought back into operation in 2004.
Just a few years ago they were transferred and painstakingly reassembled at the current production site of the Rubelli Group in order to tackle increasing demand for soprarizzi, i.e. handmade velvet.

Putting these looms back into operation and finding young members of staff willing to learn such demanding and complex work was a challenge for Rubelli, and it was no easy task to find human resources capable of working on this type of loom or ready to learn such a difficult and strenuous art.

Two young women now work for Rubelli, having been taught to weave by two Venetians in their seventies who had spent most of their working life on these very looms. The sole guardians of the necessary techniques, for more than six months they passed on to these two girls the secrets of an extremely difficult craft that requires a combination of precision, strength and sensitivity with high manual skill and above all a great deal of enthusiasm.

Hand weaving is hard work and there is always the fear of applying the wrong amount of pressure with the blade when cutting and thus jeopardising months of work.

This anxiety is compensated by the mere pleasure of seeing, after much beating of the reed and raising of the warp, true textile treasures that are photographed in leading international magazines and used in historic houses, castles and museums the world over.