During her last visit in Italy Stefania Stroppiana, founder and creative director of Stefania Esse, had the chance to meet the talented Gisella Tamagno and to talk a lot about the so called “arti di filo” (thread’s arts). During her researches, Gisella Tamagno found the touching story of a woman who indeed was ahead of her time, Valentina Cavandoli.
She was active in the 1920s at the Casa del Sole in Turin, an institution that provided shelter to children from very poor families whose parents were suffering from tuberculosis. Among the various activities she taught them there was a particular interweaving of threads made by hand, a technique later named after her: the Cavandoli. The kids learned working also under commission by external clients who paid for the pieces they created. Upon reaching the age of 15 the children had to leave the institute, but before letting them go Valentina Cavandoli made sure they had a suitable job and gave them the money they had earned during their years of training. Despite coming from disadvantaged families, they could thus safely enter adult life.
The following pictures, together with an original ancient bib, portray some of those children during a Cavandoli lesson in the institute’s garden. The story behind it is a reminder to Stefania Stroppiana of how much “the how” makes a difference.