I had a delightful visit to the Whitchurch Silk Mill in Whitchurch, UK. It is about 1 1/2 hour drive southwest from London in Hampshire. Whitchurch Silk Mill is a true working mill, still producing silk yardage, using 19th Century weaving looms. The mill is open to the public 6 days per week, Tuesday – Sunday and the visitor can see the weavers at work on the week days.
The mill employs 2 weavers, a warper, an engineer to keep the equipment running and admin staff. Much of the mill is run by volunteers who share an interest in keeping this early 19th Century mill alive.
The silk mill specializes in small run silk and silk blend weaves: 25 meter to 250 meter runs. They produce Taffeta, Organza and Ottoman silks.
The silk is woven at 300-500 ends per inch, with approx. 10500 ends per warp. It takes approximately 1 week to prepare a warp, and about 3 weeks to warp a loom, so whenever possible, warps are tied on or attached to the previous warp on the loom.
Whitchurch Silk Mill
Whitchurch Silk Mill Shop
Silk skeins are being reeled onto bobbins.
Silk Weaving Looms
View from the Tea Shop window
Several bands of ribbon are woven on one warp. These are then cut after removing them from the loom.
Silk Textile Books
The Silk Weavers of Kyoto: Family and Work in a Changing Traditional Industry
The makers of obi, the elegant and costly sash worn over kimono in Japan, belong to an endangered species. Tamara Hareven integrates historical research with intensive life history interviews to reveal the relationships among family, work, and community in this highly specialized occupation.
UK: Silk Weavers of Kyoto
Silk Paper: A Guide To Making It And Using It In Textile Art
the basic methods for creating silk paper in step-by-step detail to create flat and 3D designs, from framed pieces to jewelry.
UK: Silk Paper
The Book of Silk
Following the Silk Road from China and Japan through Asia into Europe, the story is as variegated as the rich colors, weaves, and embroideries that were used for the ceremonial or everyday accoutrements of the wealthy and powerful.
UK:Book of Silk