Sunday, October 12, 2008

DES CANUTS (October 9th)

<-- Many of Lyon’s present day silk workers spend a great deal of their time weaving highly complicated and prestigious fabrics in order to preserve those that can still be found on the upholstery of furniture featured in famous castles that happen to be open to the public for tours.

Yesterday, Wendy took us on an extremely fun and entertaining “field trip” to La Maison des Canuts, a living museum that delves deeply into one of Lyon’s coolest businesses: the silk industry! According to the information I received, the silk, gold, and silver weavers of Lyon have been hand weaving on various forms of looms since the early eighteenth century! Even today, Lyon’s weavers carry on the tradition by hand-creating fabrics that still cannot be imitated or reproduced through the use of any computer program or system. Of course, considering this fact, it is important to point out that being a silk weaver not only takes a lot of patience, but it also requires that one completes a very intense training/schooling program that lasts for a period of at least six years. Therefore, there are only about fifteen weavers present in all of Lyon today, and, although I hate to brag about my good fortune, I got to meet one!

<-- It is said that a Chinese princess was the actual individual to discover the fiber of silk over more than 4,500 years ago.  

Now, although the museum was quite small, it was definitely worth the trip up to Croix-Rousse for reasons rise above and beyond the fact that I got to meet one of the weavers. First of all, it was visually captivating. Every room held grand collections of ancient fabrics, woven images of what life was like for the older generations of silk workers, examples of some of the loom workers’ accessories and tools, and the actual hand and mechanical looms that they used and continue to use in present day! Secondly, due to the fact that our tour was in English, I learned a great deal about the evolution of the loom, the history of silk, the life of the “canuts” (weavers), and how the industry is still evolving today. Thirdly, and probably most excitingly, I actually got to witness multiple weaving demonstrations on both the manual and electric looms! It was positively amazing and gave me a whole new appreciation for this art form (which I had never truly considered before).

Avec l'Amour,

No comments: