Preliminary Programme:

Monday, November 6:

Arrival Day; time for set-up of experiments or tests
19:00 Welcome and Dinner

Tuesday, November 7:

Morning Session (start 10:00):

Katrin Kania:
Introduction to the Focus Topic: Silk

Tracy Niepold:
Early modern silk textiles from an excavation in Nuremberg. Questions regarding the production process.

Presentation of finds followed by a practical session to test methods and possibilities of recreating slashed silks and beeswax edge treatments.

Afternoon Session (start 14:00):

Harma Piening:
The riddle of a plied shoe, concealed in a building.

Ruth MacGregor
Practical session:
Influence of partial and complete de-gumming on silk threads.
Preparation of tests of weaves with partially de-gummed silk. Medieval silks have a very different hand than modern silks, and this might have to do with only partial de-gumming; so the aim of the tests is to find out whether this might be the case.

Work on this project will be ongoing throughout the rest of the week.

Wednesday, November 8:

Morning session:

Petra Linscheid:
Cultivated and wild silk: Middle byzantine silk finds from Amorium (Turkey) 

Presentation and follow-up discussion

Beatrix Nutz:
Medieval and Early Modern Silk Textiles in Tyrol. Extant Finds, Production and Trade.

Silk textiles were found in three Tyrolean Castles, Tyrol Castle in South Tyrol, Lengberg Castle and Bruck Castle in East Tyrol. The finds date from the 14th century (Tyrol Castle) to the 16th century (Bruck). Many of the textile fragments were too small to be attributed to a specific use, but some of them could be identified as pieces of garments or banners. Most notable is the yellow samite used on a 14th century brigantine and the fine blue silk painted black and gold of a banner of the same date. Lengberg yielded some red silk used for the gown of a little 4 to 5 year old girl, offcuts of damask and brocaded silk fragments. But not only were the textiles themselves found in Tyrol, written sources show that silk textiles were already wide spread by the 13th century. Tyrolean cloth merchants traded silk mostly from Italy, Venice and Florence being major players in silk production. In Tyrol silk production was established by 1479 and silkworms reared at the monastery of the Poor Clares in Brixen. This paper will present the extant silk textiles, their use and the social status of their former owners and discuss the importance that silk production and trade held for Tyrol in the Middle Ages and Early Modern times.

Afternoon session:

Katrin Kania:
Patterns in Tablet-Weaving - how might they have been achieved?

Modern tablet-weavers usually rely on patterns written on graph paper as a basis for their pattern development and for weaving. For historical production of tablet-woven bands, this method cannot have been used. However, we have bands with extremely complex patterning. The paper looks at possible methods that can be developed using the mechanics of tablet-weaving, providing a base methodical structure that makes free patterning easier, as well as at other possible aids for patterning.

Presentation followed by a practical part - pattern development and twill-type patterning on bands.


Thursday, November 9:

Excursion to the special exhibition "Expedition Mittelalter" to the Schnütgen-Museum in Cologne, with several spectacular silk textiles on display.

Friday, November 10:

Morning session:

Micky V. Schoelzke:
Partial reconstruction of the belt of Philipp of Swabia and the Swastikas in extant historical tablet-weavings.

The first part of the presentation will be of a "work in progress", partially reconstructing the patterns of the belt of Philipp of Swabia (around 1200). The belt is a brocaded tablet-weaving with gold and silver thread on silk.

The belt contains quite a few Swastika patterns, which are quite widespread on tablet-woven items from the Iron Age to modern times and the second part of the presentation will show a few examples. How to deal will the symbols now conveying a radically negative meaning, especially when presenting them in public? Should reenactors censor the swastikas when reconstructing items? Should we educate the general public to look at swastikas in a different way? Some of many questions to be discussed.


Afternoon session:

Margit Hofmann:
Practical investigations of pH changes when dyeing silk in indigo vats

Influence of complete and partial de-gumming of silk, continuation.

Saturday, November 11:

Morning session:

Influence of complete and partial de-gumming of silk, continuation.

Afternoon session:

Evaluation of dyeing tests and de-gumming tests

Sunday, November 12:

Departure day