Sunday, October 4, 2015

Cavandoli Cabochon Setting with Leaves & Flowers

Cavandoli Micro Macrame Jewelry
My journey with micro macrame jewelry got started in 1975 in the back of a pickup truck in Arizona while my future-husband-to-be painted en plain air in the middle of the desert… The only craft book we had with us was a small book on macrame I had bought at at the San Francisco Modern Art Museum.  

My first macrame piece was made with waxed linen and seeds found in the desert; the seeds got turned into beads with a nail and hammer to make the beads holes. Macrame was perfect since we had very few tools on hand. When we returned to the San Francisco Bay Area, I continued, switching to other materials such as nylon instead of waxed linen and I started an informal jewelry apprenticeship with a goldsmith in Burlingame. 

The way I set cabochon in Cavandoli knotting was born in 1978, combining macrame with metalsmith technology. Then countless micro macrame cabochon settings and many years later, I came with a system that can be taught to others…



Cavandoli Knotting - Micro Macrame Jewelry

In the class I will be teaching at BABE! 2015 in November 12-13 2015, we will go from concept to creation, first setting the cabochon, then forming stems, leaves and flowers. 

We will be working in Cavandoli style knotting with double half hitches, with C-Lon Bead Cord - bonded 3-ply nylon, Madeira Silk Floss, and Kanagawa 1000 Denier and Fujix Tire #16 Buttonhole Twist Silk Embroidery Thread. 

This class will provide the foundation from which many more pieces can be made, leading to larger neckpieces and designs with gemstone cabochons or combination with more geometrical Cavandoli design.

Class info: 

Thursday - Friday, November 12-13, 2015
Join us for a 2-day class at BABE, the Bay Area Bead Extravaganza at the Marriott Convention Center in Oakland City Center. The Bead Show is Saturday & Sunday, Nov 14-15.
This class is almost filled, so sign up now!
Visit BABE website for more info & to sign up! or more about this class > Workshop & Class Info


Cavandoli Knotting - Micro Macrame Jewelry

Cavandoli Knotting - Micro Macrame Jewelry

Cavandoli Knotting - Micro Macrame Jewelry


Cavandoli Knotting - Micro Macrame Jewelry


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Cavandoli 2.0 at BABE 2014!

Cavandoli Knotting


Cavandoli is a knotting technique in which double half hitches are knotted in a continuous fashion, with no loose thread or spaces between the knots creating a woven-like tapestry. Traditionally two colors are used and patterns are created by alternating horizontal and vertical double half hitches. Refer to earlier entry on Cavandoli and who was Valentina Cavandoli

Cavandoli 2.0 will take you beyond the two color limitation. A series of techniques will provide you with the tools for color control and to be able to bring a color exactly where you want it. With the use of wire armatures, vertical, horizontal and reverse double half hitches, we will create module like textile pieces. Texture and relief will be explored. The pieces we will create will be planned and structured. These modules will become the focus pieces for a beaded opera length infinity neckpiece with no clasp, or a cartouche style medallion.

Class projects will be made with C-Lon Bead Cord and various seed beads. Kits will be available with all the material for the projects and they will be available in sevral color variations. Keep in mind that Cavandoli is a slow process with lots of knots per square inches, so projects will not be finished in class. Practicing the double half hitch and all of its variations prior to class is required. Several free tutorial are available on Marion Jewels in Fiber website. 


This class is organized by Bay Area Bead Extravaganza, BABE for short. The class will take place Thursday & Friday, November 13-14 2014 in Oakland at the Marriott Convention Center. The class is scheduled prior to the show that will take place on Saturday and Sunday, November 15-16, 2014, so you will have the opportunity to take additional classes offered on the weekend and to attend the show! –> BABE! 2014 

C-lon is a class sponsor providing each student with a spool of C-Lon Bead Cord for the class project. 






Cavandoli Knotting


Cavandoli - What is it and who was Tina Cavandoli?



I encountered the term 'Cavandoli' when my work was described as Cavandoli work without truly understanding at first what it described. I later found just a few mentions of Cavandoli describing the knotting technique and attributing its name to a teacher in Italy. So a year or so ago, out of frustration after finding very little little information when I was researching to get ready for a lecture on Cavandoli Knotting at Bead Designer International in the Boston area, I asked one of my sister who lives in Ticino, next to Northern Italy to help me. After searching online, she mentioned right away Elisa Ricci, whom I was already familiar with and a book by Gisella Tamagno Gazzola, called 'Bricco E Cavandoli due favole in punta d'ago/ Bricco and Cavandoli: two fairy tales on a needle'. Amazingly this book was published bilingually, in Italian and English, making it much more accessible as my Italian is not fluent, and within this book I found the answers to my many questions: who was Valentina Cavandoli? In which century did she live? And why was this technique named after her?



Cavandoli is a knotting techniques in which double half hitches are used in a continuous fashion without any loose thread in between the knots. Each double half hitch is done by one thread over another by making two half hitches in sequence. This process creates an incredibly tightly woven like fabric with a 'warp and weft'. By using different colors for the warp and weft, patterns can be achieved by switching the knotting cord with anchor cord and conversely, warp becoming weft and conversely. Cavandoli evolved from Macrame, the ancient Arab technique usually done with openwork (loose thread) for fringes, shawls or table cloth. The term macrame is derived from Arabic for coverlet or Turkish for towel. Elisa Ricci, an eminent Italian historian on lace, is credited for giving the name of 'Cavandoli' to this technique. So let's explore how this come about.

Example of 16th Century Macrame from Old Italian Lace by Elisa Ricci, 1913


I learned from Gisella's book that Valentina Cavandoli was born in 1872 in Reggio Emilia. She became a teacher and with her natural talent, later a headmistress. She took a course in the Montessori method and started a very unique experiment when in 1915 she became in charge of a school for children in need of assistance. Most of them came from families affected by the war or tuberculosis. Tina managed the school 'Casa del Sol' with an attentive and loving attitude and no problems arose. One of the methods she used to obtain such great results was allocating a slip of paper, a token, every evening to each child who had been well behaved. When 10 tokens were obtained, the child received a prize. But when the child was not behaving, he or she had to hand over collected tokens. She also instilled feelings of solidarity and justice by having children who received outside sources of foods or money from relatives and friends share with their friends who did not have any relatives outside the school. The recreational activities within the school included manual tasks. Tina taught the children a technique she had learned from her grandmother Virginia Lamberti who was an expert on macramé, especially the creation of colorful pieces of textile which became known as 'Cavandoli'.

'Casa del Sol' was truly a unique school. Both boys and girls knotted these pieces of textile that demanded time, attention, precision and discipline. They would have to apply basic math to copy patterns. The objects they created were sold in markets organized by the school and the money collected was placed in savings for each child. The amount each child would collect would vary, but it would provide them with some money when they left the school. The school had to close in 1936, as the Jewish community who had been its main supporter was facing their own many serious problems. Tina Cavandoli stopped teaching then and moved with one of her student's family. She died in 1969 after receiving the Italian gold medal 'on behalf of Public Teaching'.



Gisella Tamagno Gazzola's book shows the type of work the children did in Casa del Sol. It is very similar to work I have seen in books such as The Encyclopedia of Knots and Fancy Rope Work by Raoul Graumont and John Hensel, 1939 or the DMC Library Book Macrame, 1971.

A section of Gisella's book is dedicated to the actual technique with a well illustrated sequence showing how to knot the two-color version of Cavandoli Knotting.

Grazie Mille, Gisella, for filling in this part of the puzzle with your research of Tina Cavandoli's life.

Note: The artists I know, including myself, who have pursued this slow and intricate creation of Cavandoli knotted work, have often pioneered methods and personal approach to this art form surpassing the limitation of working with two colors and the two dimensional fabric this method tends to create.

This entry is re-published from a post published on 10/25/09 on Marion Jewels in Fiber Blog.