On a recent trip to Sardinia, John and I tracked down a lady we had heard about who lived high in the central mountains.
We were told that she was one of the few people who still had the skills for making traditional hand-loomed materials for which Sardinia had been famous, and after the GFC hit, and many businesses shut down in Sardinia, she started training local women, and set up a factory where she and these ladies make hand loomed and hand knotted rugs and cushion fabric.
As we drove up to the mountains, the economic hardship was obvious, with many empty businesses, and even abandoned farmhouses. We got to her town, and after some wrong turns, we found her factory, met the ladies working on the looms.
They are quite pragmatic, using combinations of (very ancient) machines and hand work, so that they can appeal to as wide a an audience as possible.
They spoke no English and my Italian tends to focus on food, but we managed to get them to understand that we were interested in seeing their work, they called in a relative who spoke English, and they called in the son who managed the factory who had just got off a flight and was jet -lagged …. after such a welcome, how could we not buy some thing.
Then we were taken to the show room, and saw their work, and we were smitten ….. and now we are eagerly awaiting new hand-loomed cushions for the Pavilion dining room, and hand loomed and knotted floor rugs for the bedrooms.