Photos by Katrin Kania, 2017

Silk has been fascinating humans for a long time, and it continues to dazzle and delight with its many aspects. Silk was an important trade good and a way to display wealth, but finds such as the many silk-embroidered shoes from Bergen in Norway hint that it might have been available to a larger part of the population than is sometimes supposed.

In the European Textile Forum 2017, we have explored silk and its use, from the reeling process through dyeing and the complex weaves often associated with silks; from the high-class, high-price products such as brocades to more affordable silk as decoration, be it small strips of fabric or sparse embroidered lines that still add some splendour to an object.

In addition to papers and workshops that included silk reeling, silk dyeing with indigo, tests on dyeing and weaving with silk in various levels of de-gumming, and decoration techniques such as slashing and pinking, the Forum programme also included a group excursion to the special exhibition "Expedition Mittelalter" at the Schnütgen-Museum in Cologne.

The European Textile Forum 2017 took place at the Laboratory for Experimental Archaeology in Mayen, Germany, from November 6 to November 12. The Laboratory for Experimental Archaeology is the experimental archaeology research center of the Römisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum (RGZM).

Result Summaries:

Implications of pH changes when dyeing with indigo (Margit Hofmann)