The Ancient Mangle of Santarcangelo di Romagna: Preserving the Art of Rust-Printed Fabric

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Only a handful of artisans still practice the centuries-old craft of rust printing on fabric. Of those who do, even fewer use the traditional stone mangle, or press, on handwoven, raw hemp fabric, yielding textiles that last for centuries. The Marchi family printworks, in Italy’s Romagna region, may well be the only place left in the world that still produces authentic, rust-printed textiles that are fully handmade.

This short documentary, by Italian filmmaker Luisa Grosso, takes you inside the Marchi family’s workshop to demonstrate the workings of their original, 17th-century mangle and other tools of the trade that have been handed down through four generations. Handcarved wooden molds or stamps are used to print patterns on antique hemp fabrics for a soft, lustrous textile that can last for centuries. You can learn more about the art of rust printing in Ms. Grosso’s short article, found on The Craftsmanship Initiative site: