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  • The Sardinian Chapter: Orbace The Sardinian woolen cloth by Mario Garau and Franca Carta

    The Sardinian Chapter: Orbace

    The Sardinian woolen cloth by Mario Garau and Franca Carta

    Orbace is a Sardinian wool obtained from the longest, thickest filaments of the sheep during combing (carding); it is waterproof, durable and resistant, thanks in part to the process of fulling, which once took place in the numerous water-mills dotted around the island: today, the only working water-mill of the sort in Italy is in Tiana, in the province of Nuoro in Sardinia. Here, as was the case yesteryear, the orbace produced by Mario Garau and Franca Carta undergoes the same process, which ensures the finished product is soft and compact.

    The heirs to a centuries-old tradition which, in all likelihood, originated in Nuraghe (the old monolithic stone constructions found on the island), Mario and his wife Franca today produce orbace in the traditional method, in their laboratory in Samugheo, selecting the wool shorn from the sheep by shepherds, combing it and spinning it by hand to then weave it (four-thread twill or Batavia) on the ancient horizontal family loom, which allows for a reduced width of 50-60 cm.

    Available in the natural colours of white and black, by weaving both colours into the fabric - one warp thread, the other weft - you obtain a grey variant; an infinite number of other natural shades can be obtained upon request, dyed by the “La Robbia” workshop in Atzara, specialists in hand-dyeing with natural herbs.

    An upholder of local traditions, Mario Garau continuously researches methods, experimenting the full potential of this fabric which he today uses for a range of hand-crafted accessories, like scarves, bags and socks, improving on the innate durability of the wool by mixing in softer threads like Merino, or even adding cotton or linen.

     

    Words Giovanni Onano

    The Sardinian Chapter: Orbace The Sardinian woolen cloth by Mario Garau and Franca Carta
    The Sardinian Chapter: Orbace The Sardinian woolen cloth by Mario Garau and Franca Carta
    The Sardinian Chapter: Orbace The Sardinian woolen cloth by Mario Garau and Franca Carta
    The Sardinian Chapter: Orbace The Sardinian woolen cloth by Mario Garau and Franca Carta
    The Sardinian Chapter: Orbace The Sardinian woolen cloth by Mario Garau and Franca Carta
    The Sardinian Chapter: Orbace The Sardinian woolen cloth by Mario Garau and Franca Carta
    The Sardinian Chapter: Orbace The Sardinian woolen cloth by Mario Garau and Franca Carta
    The Sardinian Chapter: Orbace The Sardinian woolen cloth by Mario Garau and Franca Carta
    The Sardinian Chapter: Orbace The Sardinian woolen cloth by Mario Garau and Franca Carta

    Ph. credits: Giovanni Onano

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