samedi 27 avril 2013

Mantas handweavers in Reguengos de Monsaraz

The colorful woolen mantas (blankets) are certainly among the best things that the little town of Reguengos has to offer. They have been famous for decades and, thanks to the vision and tenacity of a dutch woman, Mizette Nielsen, they are still being produced today, despite the little support that handweaving receives from the authorities. Above is a manta produced in the middle of the 20th century and still perfectly preserved. Below are two tecedeiras (weavers) at work: F.B.L., from Campinho, who has been doing it for years and R.G. who began much more recently. It is hard work, especially for the neck, as one's head is constantly turning from one side to the other of the tear (the loom) following the movement of the metallic lançadeira (the shuttle). The foot work is what determines the pattern. And the arms, wrists and elbows are also heavily involved, pushing the shuttle with strength from one side to the other. This lateral movement as well as other ones create the background rythm of the workshop, to which a local radio program adds its own melodies... One of the new and original products is the manta boot produced for the brand Buenos Aires.

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