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Posted by Administrator on 9/19/2012 to Leather Craft
The now signature style of the Bottega Veneta intrecciato weave first came to be as a sort of "fix it" solution to a manufacturing problem that the brand experiened when it was first introduced in the late 1960's. At the time, Bottega Veneta was predominantly an ready-to-wear fashion company and had not yet ventured into the leather accessories market. As such, their sewing machines were all geared to sewing fabric, not leather and in order to make leather goods, they needed to use a very fine leather that their existing machines could handle. This presented a problem for the leather artisans in that using thin leather that was compatible with their sewing machines resulted in leather that was too weak to be used in leather accessories.
By using the intrecciato weaving technique, the artisans could use the thin leather they needed for sewing and at the same time achieve the strength and body needed for leather accessories. Being a fan of the intrecciato weave technique, I wanted to find out more about how it was made. I found a step by step "how to" instruction about this technique of weaving at the Craft Passion (craftpassion.com) website. After looking over the instruction and viewing the step by step images of the weaving technique used to create the intrecciato weave it does not appear to be that difficult to do. I did notice, however, that there are big differences between the technique shown on the Craft Passion website and the way that Bottega Veneta actually applies this technique in their manufacturing process. In the Craft Passion tuturial they use nothing but cut strips of fabric woven together to make their intrecciato weave fabric. However, according to the October 2009 Martha Stewart show, Bottega Veneta appears to sometimes work with a large single piece of leather that they perforate with small slits in the leather and then weave single leather strips through it. However, in searching on YouTube (you can find a video covering almost any subject on YouTube, right?) I found the video below that purports to show a Bottega Veneta artisan making the intrecciato weave for a leather bag using only singular strips of cut leather. Perhaps they use both techniques, and perhaps others, depending on the product they are making.
Of course many things look easier to do when someone else is doing them but I think by following the tutorial from Craft Passion and watching the YouTube video above it could be done. While the artisans from Bottega Veneta train for 3 years to perfect this technique, I'm not going to let that scare me away from trying the intrecciato weave out for myself just to see how well I do. I think I'll try it the Craft Passion way first, using strips of leather, and then if I can get that to look finished enough, I'll then attempt to use more of the technique that Bottega Veneta appears to use, making slits in the leather and then weaving other strips of leather through it and see how that turns out. Perhaps we can incorporate some of this techinque into some of our future products using exotic skins.
What do you think of Bottega Veneta products? Do you like the intrecciato weave they use in their leather products? Do you think we should incorporate this technique into some of our future products?