Icon - Arrow LeftAn icon we use to indicate a rightwards action. Icon - Arrow RightAn icon we use to indicate a leftwards action. Icon - External LinkAn icon we use to indicate a button link is external. Icon - MessageThe icon we use to represent an email action. Icon - Down ChevronUsed to indicate a dropdown. Icon - CloseUsed to indicate a close action. Icon - Dropdown ArrowUsed to indicate a dropdown. Icon - Location PinUsed to showcase a location on a map. Icon - Zoom OutUsed to indicate a zoom out action on a map. Icon - Zoom InUsed to indicate a zoom in action on a map. Icon - SearchUsed to indicate a search action. Icon - EmailUsed to indicate an emai action. Icon - FacebookFacebooks brand mark for use in social sharing icons. flipboard Icon - InstagramInstagrams brand mark for use in social sharing icons. Icon - PinterestPinterests brand mark for use in social sharing icons. Icon - TwitterTwitters brand mark for use in social sharing icons. Icon - Check MarkA check mark for checkbox buttons.
You are reading

Made in a Converted Monastery: Handwoven Textiles from Abbatte of Segovia

Search

Made in a Converted Monastery: Handwoven Textiles from Abbatte of Segovia

June 8, 2018

I recently consulted with Carmen Ruiz de Huidobro of Espanolita to fine-tune the details for a trip to southern Spain. Carmen is an LA-based production designer who grew up in Madrid and keeps her home ties by leading tours and chronicling her favorite Spanish finds in the Espanolita Journal. Thanks to Carmen, I explored Madrid, Granada, and Almeria with my family, and we felt lucky to have Carmen’s inside track. But we’ve only been able to admire from afar one of her most intriguing recommendations: Abbatte, a mother-daughter-led weaving workshop and teaching center set on the grounds of a shored-up 13th-century Cistercian monastery in Segovia.

Founded to revive the tradition of hand-weaving classic household essentials, Abbatte occupies a surprisingly modern minimalist clubhouse next to the abbey. In these airy rooms, artisans weave, and courses and conferences take place on “textiles, fashion, art, and the philosophy and science of color.” The latter is a particular specialty: The surrounding garden plots are filled with plants grown to create Abbatte’s dyes and to help “reawaken an interest in botanical dyes.” Did someone say glorious? Here’s a look.

Photography courtesy of Abbatte.

The Monastery and Weaving Workshop

the consolidated monastery of santa maria de la sierra and its new annex are th 9
Above: The consolidated Monastery of Santa Maria de la Sierra and its new annex are the work of architect Alberto Ballarín, who was brought into the project by Abbatte founders Elena Goded Rambaud, a textile specialist and longtime professor, and her art historian daughter Camila Lanzas Goded.

“We knew about the monastery because our family has a house nearby in the Guadarrama mountains,” Camila tells us. “We fell in love with the place and the surroundings and did not want to see it  fall apart.” Their mandate for Ballarín? “We didn’t want to overshadow the old building—or to replicate the look of it; we decided to introduce a smaller, one-story structure that is very modern, so that with just a look people can distinguish the old from the new.”

original stone walls are incorporated into the wood clad structure. the standin 10
Above: Original stone walls are incorporated into the wood-clad structure. The standing-seam metal roof is zinc.

The monastery was built between 1220 and 1270 and disentailed in 1836.

the main building is divided into two big rooms—this one, used for workshops  11
Above: The main building is divided into two big rooms—this one, used for workshops and courses, is built around the original entrance to the monastery. Its faceted wood ceiling is reminiscent of a nun’s wimple.
the other half of the building is the workroom. each piece is made to order by  12
Above: The other half of the building is the workroom. Each piece is made to order by one of Abbatte’s four weavers, who work in linen, alpaca and merino wool, and silk. Applying age-old techniques to timeless, contemporary design is the Abbatte MO.
the final step for two fringed linen throws. 13
Above: The final step for two fringed linen throws.

The Dye Garden

the abbatte garden is the domain of horticulturalist and botanical dye speciali 14
Above: The Abbatte garden is the domain of horticulturalist and botanical dye specialist Miguel Cerezales Rotaeche. It borders an oak forest and a pine wood.
isatis tinctoria, or woad, produces a blue dye. 15
Above: Isatis tinctoria, or woad, produces a blue dye.

“Abbatte harvests plants for dying with the dual objective of supplying the company with natural dyes as well as spreading awareness about these plant species,” explains Camila. “We are working to bring back Rubia tinctorum, an ancient species of madder that used to be widely used throughout Castille.” Last year, Abbatte received the Hispania Nostra Award for “good practices in conservation of cultural and natural heritage.”

The Dye Hut

workshops on making cochineal, mushroom, and other natural dyes take place in a 16
Above: Workshops on making cochineal, mushroom, and other natural dyes take place in a raised cabin designed by architect Emilio García-Conde, another friend of the founders.
the plant dye lab. 17
Above: The plant dye lab.

The Weavings

a sampling of abbatte&#8\2\17;s alfombras rugs and runners of 50 percent li 18
Above: A sampling of Abbatte’s Alfombras rugs and runners of 50 percent linen and 50 percent wool. An online shop is in the works; in the meantime, for buying information, contact Abbatte at [email protected]

The company showed at New York’s International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF) for the first time this past month. Its first US vendor is Oz Architects’ new Los Angeles emporium the Oz Shop, at 8632 Melrose Ave.; its Abbatte designs can be viewed here.

alpaca and wool blankets in a range of shades—abbatte experiments with both n 19
Above: Alpaca and wool blankets in a range of shades—Abbatte experiments with both natural and synthetic dyes to get this spectrum.

The Designs in Use

all abbatte offerings, including linen tablecloths, can be woven in custom size 20
Above: All Abbatte offerings, including linen tablecloths, can be woven in custom sizes and colors.
layers of pastels in linen and alpaca. abbate will be offering its next worksh 21
Above: Layers of pastels in linen and alpaca. Abbate will be offering its next workshops and seminars in the fall on basket making, millinery design, and furniture and dress history. Guided tours of the setup are available on request.

For more heritage textiles, take a look at:

Have a Question or Comment About This Post?

Join the conversation

v5.0