One of the most inspiring things you can do as an artist is to develop an understanding of and appreciation for the process behind creative pursuits outside of your own field. From analyzing the colors to appreciating the techniques, there is always something new you can take away from experiencing art from different kinds of creators and makers.
I recently had the opportunity to see an art form that is vastly different than photography – the production of fine-quality textiles with a history dating back five centuries. I was part of a small tour group that recently had the chance to take a behind-the-curtain tour of The House of Busatti headquarters, where some of the world’s finest linens are manufactured.
Nestled among the streets of Anghiari, a medieval hilltop town overlooking Sansepolcro, Italy, getting to the Busatti headquarters is an inspirational journey in itself. The landscape, winding cobblestone streets, and medieval architecture captured my attention as we walked from the bus stop to Busatti. And, once we were there, I couldn’t help but be inspired by the processes used to make the intricately designed and woven linens.
According to the Busatti website, the linens produced today use local wool spun, dyed, and finished entirely in Italy, and manufactured on pre-World War I era machinery. We were taken down a narrow staircase behind the storefront where the linens are sold, where we were able to see (and hear) the machinery at work. Seeing the yarn feed into, and stretched on the machines and hearing the machines reminded me of the sounds and sights of paper and ink being fed into printing presses in the print shop my Dad owned.
Oddly enough, the most fascinating discovery I made during the Busatti visit, didn’t come from seeing the linens being made or the stacks of linens in the store. It came from peeking behind the linen drapes on the huge windows in the display area of the factory. The views hidden behind the fabric were breathtaking – and reminded me of the benefits of being curious and brave enough to seek out things that are not in plain sight.