Weaving our Past into the Future

On the 14th October, SILKNOW had its final review meeting. All work packages were presented, after a discussion, the work done so far in SILKNOW was approved according to the EU standards. It has been more than three years of weaving our past into the future. We have woven a network with different users, from museums to young designers, from technology to traditional industries. All to protect, conserve and disseminate the important heritage of silk.  Here is a summary of what we have been weaving these years and why.

Silk has surrounded us for centuries, from royal beds to traditional costumes, from liturgical vestments to ceremonial flag. It has been everywhere, within the Silk Road,  but also beyond it. Silk weaving has shaped manufacturing cities and trade routes, engaging visual artists, engineers and multitudes of workers.

Community, identity, history…Tangible and intangible experiences, technology, knowledge, arts and crafts inherited generation after generation. It is a link from the past to the future.  This heritage is still alive, but it may die soon. The artisans who used to weave using traditional techniques and looms are disappearing. Valuable historical fabrics are endangered by their sheer fragility. But technology continues to be very close to silk heritage, even today.

“The Analytical Engine weaves algebraic patterns, just as the Jacquard loom weaves flowers and leaves.”

We have taken Ada Lovelace’s words as an inspiration to merge humanities and technology, in a team coming from six European countries. We have been working during three years to protect and disseminate silk heritage, weaving a net among academia, computing, arts and crafts, design, and creative industries.

Conferences, exhibitions, fashion catwalkstraining and capacity building programs, publications, all around silk heritage, have contributed to illuminate its important past, and its promising future.

In addition to that, we have created some digital tools

We have worked to create a unique resource, a thesaurus about silk in four languages, including one thousand words. It is based on many sources from across Europe,so that experts, museums, and just about anyone can delve deep into this knowledge.

Looking carefully at historical techniques, we have produced a digital memory tool, the Virtual Loom, that is able to weave on screen like a Jacquard loom does, giving the creative industries a chance for experimentation and business.

We have integrated the information from many museums bringing together data about thousands of objects around the globe locating them in time and space, giving everyone access to this hidden but precious heritage.

In short, we continue to weave the past into our future. Do you want to join us?

Related news: