textile structures
textile design
research on textile techniques

my collections

my library

personal history


I took up weaving in 1958, so I’ve got years of study and research under my belt. My weaving life has been fully taken up by designing, weaving and teaching. I gave two-year professional courses and free courses in my studio, and courses for schools of design, craft co-operatives and other institutions all over Italy.

As well as doing plenty of private research, I trained as a weaver attending courses at US universities, art schools, professional studios and studios of textile design, as well as weaving and dyeing summer courses in the UK. I took several study trips to the US, Mexico, Guatemala, Colombia, Peru, Bolivia and Syria, as well as to several European countries, where I was able to have a close look at, photograph and try out many local weaving techniques and collect ethnic artefacts and looms which I then studied and taught.
See Personal History

My studio is at the same time a research centre, a workshop and weaving school, and a library of over 1,500 books on textiles and related subjects.
As well as hands-on teaching, students are given detailed course notes and have access to samples and ethnical and historical artefacts from my collections.

An important part of my courses is teaching a reliable working method for the creative craftsman, i.e. understanding the relationship between sample and project, how to go from drawdowns, samples studied and woven during the course and patching together photos of the samples to designing interesting cloth and good textile artefacts.

Enrolment to courses is subject to membership of Associazione Studio di Tessitura Paola Besana.

I think hand-weaving should aim at creating art objects, designing small series of elegant interior design and fashion accessories, and designing for industry.

My courses, from beginner to advanced level, are on demand and aimed at highly-motivated people. In each course students work on individual looms which they learn to dress, and are asked to weave several samples of the techniques and weaves under study. They are also given a hefty handout and a bibliography (all the books can be consulted in the studio).

Courses are organized around the study of a given technique and its variations and applications, which I believe is key to creativity and personal design.
Group work is essential to the learning process, especially in advanced courses, because it is challenging to see how the other students are applying the same technique or developing the same pattern.

To the same end students are encouraged to take photos both of samples available in the studio and samples woven by their fellow students.


  2018/2019 Courses and seminars


Download course calendar here.


Courses are held on dates to be agreed upon. Courses 01 and 02 are given to a minimum of three and a maximum of four students; all the other courses to a maximum of six students. Courses last on average 30 hours, and are held either over one week or on three consecutive weekends.
Four-shaft weaving for beginners is a prerequisite for all courses from 03 onwards.




I also offer theoretical and practical workshops. They generally last two or three days for six hours each day, with a lunch break, and can be held on any day of the week on request by at least three people.

Theoretical workshops on a specific subject involve examining and discussing several manufacts and samples, and doing recognition tests. Classes can be of up to ten students.

Practical workshops, which are limited to a maximum of four students, concentrate on hands-on study of specific techniques.





Learning Materials

Students work on individual looms and with selected yarns. In all courses and seminars they are given course notes with detailed instructions, a bibliography and a list of suppliers and other useful addresses, and they can consult books in my weaving library. Seminars on ethnic looms include all the necessary material to make the looms.

The library is also open by arrangement to students with specific interests. Visits to the studio, preferably on the days when the library is open for consultation, can be arranged by email.

For detailed information and enrolments write to, giving your full name, phone number and regular mail address, or phone me at +39 02 715 738 (landline, home and studio) or +39 335 677 52 73 (mobile phone).

Studio di Tessitura, Via Sismondi 5, 20133 Milan, can be reached by buses No. 54, 61, 73, 45, 90, 91, 93; trams No. 4, 5, 27 and 9; underground railway link (“passante ferroviario”) getting off at Dateo.


Special terminology

When explaining the contents of any course you cannot help using terms that can puzzle non-weavers.

Terms such as warp, weft, sett, draw-down, profile, threading, lift plan or treadling, tie-up, etc., can be daunting for the lay person, but are essential in weaving and necessary to those that have already taken a beginners course in order to decide where to go from there.

If you feel lost, a visit to my studio will help you make sense of those mysterious words. You can also find them in this technical glossary.