Ever wondered how our textiles are made? We are giving you a behind the scenes look to the clever modernisation using an old weaving machine which makes beautiful quality fabrics.
Since moving to Croatia, Michael and I have been learning about the importance and history of textiles in Croatia. We made a special trip to Slavonia, where the traditional patterns are rich and ornate. One of the lessons we learnt is that using traditional weaving machines is a skill that requires patience, attention to detail and of course a lot of love. It’s a beautiful craft that only some people continue to practice today.
In complete contrast to these traditional weaving machines, there are largely automated and computerised weaving machines which exist in textile manufacturing plants. These are quick, computerised and are able to make patterns on mass.
Our homewares are made on a modernised weaving machine which is somewhere in between these 2 spectrums. I’ll explain the process in a bit more detail to help you visualise the process.
First of all, a pattern is sketched out and in the case of our textiles they are all based on traditional Croatian etno patterns with a bit of modernisation. At this point, the number of colours in the pattern, pattern symmetry and any machine limitations need to be considered. We won’t get into too much detail here, however there is truly an art to being creative while ensuring the machine is able to make it.
The below are examples of some new patterns we may look to create:
Once it is visually drawn out, it is sketched out into how the machine will read it. It is drawn out using numbers which is associated with the different blades at the top of the machine. These blades create the pattern by "telling" the threads where to go.
Once the numbered sketch has been thoroughly checked, it is then time to create the real program using a specific type of paper. A separate machine is used to creates holes in the “paper program” which will feed into the weaving machine. This paper program is vital as it tells the machine how to create the particular pattern. This is very expensive paper which is sourced from Switzerland so it is very important to get this part of the process correct. Only small revisions can be made by literally “plugging the holes”.
It is only at this point, when the holes are all completed in the paper and the program is then fed into the machine that we have a final look at what the pattern will look like! The program runs through the machine, the threads in various colours feed into the machine and the magic happens! This is when we see the final result of a pattern as it is being fed from the weaving machine 2cm’s at a time.
This machine makes about 5 meters of fabric an hour and if there is any glitch like the tension of the threads is not tight enough or the program isn’t feeding correctly, the machine will automatically stop and need to be fixed before the process continues. It takes a lot of patience to ensure that the machine is “happy”, the colours are correct, the program is accurate and most of all you are in love with the particular pattern being produced!
We hope this gives you a bit of insight into the process of how our textiles are made and the incredible skill that it takes for each and every pattern to be made. It’s definitely a Croatian tradition we want to keep alive and are so very happy that we are able to partner with Croatians that have perfected their craft.
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