Ital­ian weavers to the res­cue of his­toric silk loom

Macclesfield Express - - CHARITY ROUND-UP - KAREN BRIT­TON

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

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