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Dear colleagues,

As a new member of CIETA I would like to share with you the story about Lab O,the project that made me become a member of this precious organisation.

My weaving studio is since 2000 in the charming little town of Odemira near the South-West coast of Portugal. I have just published this post on my blog  (www.labo.pt ) about Lab O, a laboratory for handwoven canvas.

The Story about the Reconstruction of the Canvas as used by El Greco for ‘The Burial of the Count of  Orgaz’

El Greco painted ‘The Burial of the Count of Orgaz’ on a canvas with a pattern. I did not know that until I was alerted by a Spanish visiter to my atelier in 2015.
In a project that originated in the ‘Erasmus for Young Entrepreneur Programme’ we had started to weave painters canvas with a pattern. It was my curiosity to know why painters canvas is in plain weave, as I thought, and I was convinced that a pattern in the first layer of a painting should be of influence.
I had to go to the deepest caves of the internet after the visitor had left the names of El Greco, Maíno and herself, but found a theses about canvases as used in European Painting in XVI XVII and XVII century. A Spanish document.
When I saw the weaving draft of the canvas there as used by El Greco, I made a little jump: I knew immediately that I could reconstruct that pattern on my hand loom and I also felt that it would have a great impact to do so.
I am trained as an histological-pathological technician and have been connected in the past to research on muscle pathology in mice. A histochemical study that later extended to other disciplines.
Coming back to research was a very important moment while running my own studio for handweaving in the South of Portugal. I came accross a XVI century German weaving book and later a CIETA publication in which also thread count of warp and weft of the canvas was given. The very first question that comes up when seeing and touching the textile is: ‘Why did El Greco use this canvas? ‘ It shows that bringing to life the layer that has been hidden for centuries between the paint and the lining canvases triggers us to find answers…

I include pictures that guide you through the process of the project about the El Greco canvas reconstruction.
Thank you, Helena Loermans


1 atelier Lab O

2 AVL computer aided loom

3 reconstruction of the canvas

4 reconstruction of the canvas

5 reconstruction of the canvas