Friday, September 28, 2012

Fractured History

"All the history texts" say that Flanders got rich selling cloth.

They may have made their money selling cloth, but the quality of their spinning was a major component of their success in textiles. They were very good spinners.

This can be seen by comparing Flemish tapestries to tapestries from other regions during the same periods. The Flemish spinning is finer and more uniform. The uniformity is what matters.  Consistent thread thickness allowed the Flemish tapestries to have really straight lines.

Look at the best Belgian lace. The thread is finer than what was being used by other lace makers.  And again, the uniformity is astounding.

With machine spun thread, we are accustomed to very uniform spinning.  However, those old spinners of Flanders produced hand spun thread and yarn of great uniformity.

And they were great dyers. The perfect color across huge tapestries shows that they really knew how to produce consistent colors in a huge variety of shades.

The folks in Flanders may have been the best weavers in the world, but they were likely also the best spinners and dyers.


Sabine said...

Hi, Aron, welcome back!
We missed you a lot ;-)

Yes, european countries have nearly all a great tradition in very finde clothes.

But then you should visit Japan and China - they did great works in textile arts a 1000 years before Europe.

Aaron said...

Oh yes, and look at the Japanese silk industry of the 16th and 17th century. Just a few years ago, one could find thousands of the old silk bobbins around, now they are being used as retail packages for very ordinary yarns. Nice sets of old tools are being dispersed to the 4 winds for a small retail profit. OK, OK, who today has the space to store a full set of such bobbins or the time to use them?

It is in the way of tools to be discarded. Once the tools are gone, the skills are lost.