Pascucci tele stampate a mano di romagna

La Bottega

About Us

From 1826 until today, in the Gambettola workshop you can relive the evocative and unique process of the xylographic print. The hand carved stamps made of pear-tree wood, soaked in the colored paste - ranging from rust color, to blue, to green - decorate linen and cotton cloths with geometrical figures, flowers or animals belongings to the rich heritage of folk icons. The Pascucci family of Gambettola is the oldest testimony of this art:
for seven generations it has been safekeeping and restoring this activity; respecting the tradition and innovating at the same time. In its premises it is possible to admire how unique products are born. Thanks to the care and originality with which they are made.

History

The first trace of the activity of printing houses in the Romagna region dates back to the end of the Eighteenth century. In the Nineteenth century printed cloths are born as imitations of arabesque fabrics, too expensive for the rural society. One of the most recurrent motifs is the thistle, which can also be found on precious fabrics of the Fifteenth century, such as the golden brocade mantle of Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta, which inspired many decorators of Romagna.
At the end of the Nineteenth century cloths were used not only to enrich tables, beds, windows and the house in general, but also to embellish the livestock during fairs. This habit ensured the survival of the art of printing. With the development of beach tourism, print found a new application in beach curtains. Also today our product is adapting to the surrounding society.

Vinegar, wheat and a touch of iron: colors

Vinegar and wheat are used for the creation of the coloring paste. The recipe of this mix is secret and each craftsman keeps a kind of patent on the complete formula: for quantity and preparation methods the crafts-man's honed skill is more important that any improbable written handbook. Regarding prints with rust, the main ingredient is oxidized sweet iron; for other colors, a mineral base is used.

Moulds

According to the tradition and techniques in Romagna, the hand-printing of cloths is based on the technique of xylography (from the Greek term ksylon: wood). Each printing house has its own heritage of moulds, often created inside the workshop by the owner himself. Usually, pear-tree wood is used, because it is soft when carved, with few knots, but resistant to the blows of a hammer called "mazzuolo". Moulds are carved with chisels and gouges; about 5-7 millimeters are removed in the parts where the color will not be applied for the reproduction of the pattern.
Even though there is a group of patterns shared by different printing houses, because of the circulation of motifs, it is possible to identify the original style of each workshop.

Printing process

The color paste is spread onto a pad while the soon to be printed canvas is laid onto large table which has been padded in order to absorb the pounding of the hammer. The mould is dipped in the color pad, applied on the canvas and finally beaten with a 4Kg hammer. After a few blows, the pattern is imprinted and the process goes on with the decoration. Once the decoration is finished, the canvas is put out to dry. The next step is fixing of the color in caustic soda (once made by ash and water) which makes the colors incredibly strong.

Tradition - Innovation

The progress of technology has barely influenced the production process: the preparation of colors still follows the ancient recipe (which is kept secret), the printing technique has not give in to the facilitations of assembly line and automatization. Hemp, once disappeared from our territory and only recently re-introduced, has been substituted by linen, equally natural and resistant. The only step that is partly assigned to a machine is the ironing of the product. In fact, as matter of efficiency, it is not possible to use the old mangle anymore, even though it still towers inside the workshop. The creative process has been slightly updated only where the final products derive benefit from an intervention. The main change introduced by the passage of time is surely the disappearance of articles such as the blankets for cattle, very popular at the beginning of the Twentieth century, and the introduction of new ones, as bath robes or photo albums.