The train to Rome leaves early, in the blue light of the dawn – I bring with me the necessary tools for the purpose of documenting Gaia Girard’s work and experience as a textile designer, as she has been developing her own research on nuno felt for years.
We have already met Gaia on several occasions. The last time was during Feltrosa 2013, as a teacher.
Gaia’s laboratory was focused on the development of a series of technical and formal solutions of nuno felt, concentrated on three key elements: material, texture and colour. The students could deepen and broaden their knowledge about them later, alone or in groups, under the guidance of their teacher.
Upon my arrival at Termini station, I am greeted by an ironic comment, typical of the Roman spirit:
“Can you feel it? The breeze I mean, because of course, Florence is beautiful, but the breeze, that you do not have it. “
This idea of the breeze in Rome has pervaded my thoughts all day long – is it just a climatic phenomenon or is there something else hiding behind the Roman breeze? Rhetorical question, of course, because, behind the Roman breeze hides a spirit, an attitude that should be embraced and welcomed. It is just this way that you can understand our Roman designer’s varied talent.
Rome is different from any other Italian city for its stratification. It is three-dimensional and deep by constitution, as it develops from the catacombs up to the summits of St. Peter, the Janiculum and the other Roman hills.
The path we face from the Santa Cecilia in Trastevere to go to Tiber Island, headquarters of the hospital built where once there was Aesculapius’ temple and the Pons Fabricius, with its two-faced marble pillars. Rome gets inside of you and around you with its breeze to Largo Argentina, to Campo de’ Fiori – the only square in Rome without a church, a symbol of laity, with the statue of Giordano Bruno. Piazza Farnese and Piazza Trilussa follow, leading to the Basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere, where we get to admire the decorated stone floor which has been a source of fascination for Gaia since her tender age.
The journey continues until we get back to our starting point and then get in our car and reach Gaia’s home/studio. The house is like a picture of her personality: she put together small family treasures and personal discoveries in order to create a place of work, rest and inspiration. Gaia’s liveliness of character is visible in the colours combinations – always very accurate and refined, as she had a well-developed beauty education, also thanks to Rome.
The laboratory hides real surprises. It is organized and orderly and it can accommodate the various steps necessary for the processing of the garments created by Gaia: a stratification of techniques and formal solutions are used, that reflects the designer’s desire to enhance the features of the nuno felt.
Nuno Felt for Gaia
“I’m always in progress, like a non-linear process: it depends on what I want to explore, as I am not one-way, I have a variety of interests and my education is heterogeneous. In this context, the felt allows me to open various worlds, from dyeing to decorating the fabric, all different and parallel worlds, but overlapping, anyway.”
We were showed various samples, and, as mentioned, we can underline Gaia’s passion for strong colours, but refined, a field of research of dyes and pigments, which has always characterized her work since her years of study in London. Later, she got to know Agostina Zwilling and her Italian Felt Academy a personality she reckons as central to her formation. During these meetings, the Roman creative talent decided to initiate a further work of layering, stratifying and mixing four elements of infinite variables that guarantee an infinite number of solutions: materials, technique, colour and sewing.
Fabrics of different origins, silks, chiffon and gauze incorporated in recycled fabrics.
The technique of nuno felt allows to combine the definition of the textile structure to the unpredictability of the fiber felting.
The colour varies depending on the material on which the pigments are placed and the various interactions at molecular level.
The work of sewing, as a last filter, re-aligns shape and colour, it balances the strength of the colours with the sharpness of the sign, just like Rome overlaps and stratifies, so we can interpret Gaia’s work as a stratigraphy of careful and detailed working.
Would you like to enjoy Gaia’s works? Please visit her shop on Etsy
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