Category Archives: Category 1

Special Issue “Silk Heritage in the Knowledge Society”

Silk was a major factor for progress in Europe, mostly along the Western Silk Road’s network of production and market centres. Silk trade also allowed for the exchange of ideas and innovations. Punched cards were first used in Jacquard silk looms, long before modern computers were even imagined. Today, too, fashion and high-end textile industries have a huge impact on the EU, reaching €525 billion in annual turnover. Nowadays, however, silk textiles have become a seriously endangered heritage. One reason lies in its very physical nature, more fragile than other, more conventional cultural assets (painting, architecture, sculpture, etc.). Although many European specialized institutions are in operation, they usually are small or medium in size, and lack resources to develop state-of-the-art digital resources. Additionally, intangible heritage such as the old weaving techniques is in danger of disappearing with the imminent closure of the very few companies that still make use of these ancient machines. Nonetheless, their holdings remain relevant for audiences that experience vivid, personal and social connections to this heritage, linked to so many life stories and collective narratives.

These heritage institutions have been producing large amounts of digital data: poorly tagged, variously formatted, in different languages, of random quality and usually inaccessible for the broader public. New methods and tools are required to automatically extract meaning (semantics) from these huge and heterogeneous digital databases (big data) and to establish connections among them in order to preserve this fragile cultural heritage (tangible: textiles; intangible: weaving techniques), allowing its re-use for the future generations. Additionally, new ways of access to these data are required to make them more meaningful for prospective end-users. ICT provides researchers with powerful tools in order to preserve, analyze and exploit digital information.

This Special Issue invites papers and reviews dealing with silk heritage, silk history, silk diplomatic relations, silk living heritage, silk design, silk heritage preservation strategies, data visualization, 3D fabrics, vocabularies, thesauri, metadata schemas, and ontologies, fashion and tradition within silk heritage, looms and the potential offered by the ICT in the textile heritage sector, and creative industries and innovation applied to silk heritage. Papers going beyond the state-of-the-art are encouraged. Case studies using modern analytical techniques and new methodological approaches which contribute to the domain of safeguard and textile heritage protection will be considered.

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SILKNOW, fashion and tradition

SILKNOW is a European project that unites humanities and technology to study, conserve and disseminate silk heritage in Europe between the 15th and 19th centuries and its projection in culture, arts, design and today’s fashion.
European history is woven in silk. Silk trade was a vehicle of economic, industrial and cultural development in Europe, transmitting designs, fabrics, fashions and, above all, knowledge and progress, all universally captured in just one piece. Since the 15th century, silk has been more than a social code of fashion and design; it has been a vehicle for bringing people, places and ideas together. Today silk is alive in the current culture, art and fashion that still are experimenting with this inheritance.

SILKNOW Hannover meeting

On the 11th and 12th of December, the SILKNOW team gathered at the LUH HQ in Hannover, Germany.  The session was opened with a short meeting with the SILKNOW EEAB, where the project advancements where showed.

Next, each Work Package leader explained the progress report and cross-work packages discussions were held, especially regarding the impact of the extension of the ontology. It was the time to talk about how to connect the Thesaurus with the Virtual Loom, CIDOC-CRM and the Ontology.  Many philosophical and technical discussions were conducted, the interdisciplinarity of the team was key to address the problems we found on our way. Textiles in general, and silk in particular, have an extra difficulty to understand their materiality, their construction and their evolution in time, that is why, SILKNOW has art historians, artisans, textile engineers, ICT engineers and digital savvy’s in their team.

Finally, the next face-to-face meeting was scheduled, it will take place in May in Nice.

Patryk Wojciechowski visits SILKNOW

On the 26th November, SILKNOW received the visit from the Polish fashion designer Patryk Wojciechowski who had a tour at our Garin’s HQ . There, he had the chance to discover how they are still weaving with historical Jacquard looms and some astonishing designs. Not only that, but he was witness of the most well-kept secret from all Valencia.  Later, he visited our coordinators (UVEG) to discuss the next steps on his creations and where he will show them.

Patryk will get inspired by historical designs, techniques, fashions and he will produce a SILKNOW collection based on them, moreover, he will use Monkeyfab’s 3D printers to innovate on textiles. 

This visit was a great opportunity to put in touch silk traditional industry with modern fashion design, as well as with academic research and the latest technology in image recognition (our Virtual Loom) and in 3D printing. This demonstrates that silk heritage weaves creativity, tradition and innovation in a single fabric.