I was looking for an inexpensive work of art to hang in my guest bathroom when I glanced over to the towel bar next to the sink. Hanging there was a linen towel that was given to me by my friends from Perugia. With patterns and styles from Umbrian folklore or Renaissance designs, they complement any setting from the most formal to casual and are used on a daily basis in the kitchens and baths of my Italian family and friends as well as in many of Italy’s most refined hotels and country houses. This particular towel was designed with l’ape, the little bee, said to bring good luck and fortune. It was a beautiful sage green and brought a wash of color to the space, understated yet elegant, the perfect combination for a work of art.
The weaving of textiles has been done in Umbria since the 12th century by the tessitori or weavers guild. Among the most famous traditional centers of looming and linens in Italy is the town of Montefalco in Umbria. Just as with any artist’s brush, the warp and weft of the linen fibers and fabric dyes evocative of the Italian landscape were used by the tessitori to create designs that rival a Renaissance painting. So I started looking on-line for linen tea towels that I could frame starting with the exquisite towels by Tessitura Pardi sold at CosituttiMarketPlace. There were other interesting sites that sold tea towels with styles and colors to inspire your creativity. Some even had directions for framing including this one from Toronto design studio Bookhou simply displaying the towel on a hanger – instant art.