Wednesday, March 2

Italy's Artisans: Hand Printed Linens since 1826

Italy's rich tradition of artisan handicrafts lives on with a charming, seventh generation family-run hand-printed linens shop.

From 1826 until today, just inland off the Adriatic Coast in Gambettola (Emilia Romagna, Italy), lies the  Pascucci workshop where you can relive the evocative and unique process of hand printed linens or xylographic print. The hand carved stamps made of pear-tree wood, soaked in the colored paste - ranging from rust color, to blue, to green - decorate linen and cotton cloths with geometrical figures, flowers or animals belongings to the rich heritage of folk icons. The Pascucci family of Gambettola is the oldest testimony of this art, continuing the traditions for over seven generations.

Culinary students at La Tavola Marche Cooking School are each given custom, hand made aprons by Pascucci, continuing & supporting this antique artisan tradition. The logo was carved out of pear wood & died in the traditional rust colors of our area. The boarder of grain, grapes & leaves represent the seasons and rich farming traditions of the region. The linen is specially treated to repel oil & wine - making it perfect for cooking in an Italian kitchen & easy to wash!

Creating the Colors
A blend of iron oxide, white flour (wheat) and vinegar is used to create their unmistakable rust colored linens. The recipe is secret and each craftsman keeps a kind of patent on the complete formula: for quantity and preparation methods the crafts-man's honed skill is more important that any improbable written handbook. Regarding prints with rust, the main ingredient is oxidized sweet iron; for other colors, a mineral base is used.

Creating the Molds
Pear-tree wood is normally used, because it is soft when carved, with few knots, but resistant to the blows of a 4Kg hammer called "mazzuolo". Molds are carved with chisels and gouges; about 5-7mm  are removed in the parts where the color will not be applied for the reproduction of the pattern.

Making the Print
 After a few blows of the hammer, the pattern is imprinted and the process goes on with the decoration. Once the decoration is finished, the canvas is put out to dry. The next step is fixing of the color in caustic soda (once made by ash and water) which makes the colors incredibly strong.

The Finished Product
Custom hand made aprons for the students at La Tavola Marche

Antica Bottega Pascucci
Via Verdi, 18
47035 Gambettola (Forli) Italy
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