Cultural heritage is an expression of a certain way of living, that often impacts our identities and world views. Generally, it’s a tradition, custom, or practice within a culture that gets passed down from generation to generation. But what happens when that tradition starts to become uncommon? Over the years some traditions have slowly begun to fade, and rather than just living out our cultural heritage from day to day, we begin working to preserve it, instead.
In the Province of Umbria (Italy), we had the opportunity to visit a local textile studio, located in an old gothic church, within Perugia’s historic city walls. As the last one of it’s kind, we became witness to the lengths that people will go to preserve old world culture and heritage.
Upon our arrival, we met Marta Brozetti, the last in her family’s line to continue her great-grandmother’s weaving enterprise that began in 1921. Weaving has always been a longstanding Umbrian tradition dating back to the mediaeval and renaissance periods, and the Brozetti family has sought to ensure it’s continuity. Using manual pedal looms and jacquard machines to reproduce authentic textiles and designs, dating back to it’s original time periods.
As much as weaving has been Marta’s lifelong passion, you can hear from her story that upholding a dying tradition hasn’t always been easy. Household weaving faded quickly when automated machines began producing quick and cheap fabric. With authentic weaving being so labour intensive, her beautiful work doesn’t come cheap.