Italian weavers to the rescue of historic silk loom
ITALIAN silk weavers with a rare skill for tying threads came to the rescue of one of the town’s heritage items.
Staff at the Silk Museum feared its historic Jacquard loom was beyond repair when thousands of tiny threads became entangled and broken during its transportation.
But a mother and son from Italy, who have their own silk weaving business, happened to be working on a loom at a silk manufacturer in Bollington and came to the rescue, untangling the mess of warp threads and restoring the loom to its former glory.
Ron Smart, who asked Morris and Loretta Sassi to help when they came to Bollington to install a new silk warp at his Bollington factory, said Loretta immediately set to work repairing the threads, with Morris joining after he had completed his work in Bollington.
He said: “They worked until 5.30pm at which point all the most difficult part was complete and there remained the simpler task of entering the now repaired threads through the harness and reed.
“Mother and son were back in the museum at 8am the next day to make a start.
“Our Italian visitors worked without a break until 1pm when we took them to the airport to catch their flight back to Italy. They had worked another miracle and the whole job was finished. Early on Monday morning they were both back at work in their family silk weaving business.”
Ron added: “This means that visitors to Paradise Mill and the Silk Museum can see this loom in action. It’s a valuable asset that will benefit the Silk Museum and all those that visit Macclesfield with an interest in learning about the town and its silk heritage. We want to say a great thanks to Loretta and Morris from the people of Macclesfield.”
The Silk Museum acquired the Jacquard loom when the old Spurcroft weaving business closed down a few years ago. But when the machine was moved from the mill the warp threads, which are stretched over the loom, were badly damaged and many thousands broke, becoming badly tangled.
To run the loom, each of the threads must be untangled, knotted and re-inserted in the correct place.
There remains a small amount of work to be done and Morris will fit a brand new warp which will allow the loom to run on his next visit.
●● Knotty problem – the tangled mass of threads
●● Loretta Sassi at work on the loom