Textile design

I think that the right working method for a creative craftsman is understanding the relationship between sample and project, i.e. understanding how the design of either a weave or a textile artefact often begins with a woven sample that intrigues us, followed by much sampling and drafting and patching together photos of samples. Alongside my primary interest in artistic research and teaching, I’ve carried on a regular activity as a designer and producer in interior decoration, clothing and industrial textile design. My primary concern has always been to try and exploit the simplest techniques in unexpected and innovative ways. In the mid 1970s I started my own weaving studio, Studio di Tessitura Paola Besana, where I was joined by Paola Bonfante and Lalla Ranza, first as pupils, then as assistants and from 1982 as partners. In the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s we worked for many customers, both private and public. We designed a series of textile objects for the launch of a new type of yarn by Montefibre, and Alcantara textiles for FIAT. We designed and wove costumes for the 1991-92 production of Wagner’s Parsifal at La Scala (Milan), 680 wall-hangings for the cabins of the Costa Classica holiday cruiser and four large wall-hangings for the lounges of Costa Romantica, as well as numerous collections of handbags for American, Japanese and Italian customers. Twice a year in the studio we presented small fashion collections for our customers, and we designed and wove curtains, rugs and panels for architects and private customers. In 1997 I set up on my own, cutting down on commercial production and concentrating on studying, researching and artistic production. With Pippo Lionni I designed my new logo. I gave courses for craftsmen and fashion stylists on designing textiles and textile objects and for textile cooperatives on product designing.