Bisso

Between Tradition and Magic


The history of sea-silk sails between reality and fantasy, tradition and magic. Only a few craftsmen keep its secrets and pass them on from generation to generation. The Sea-silk has a history that is lost in the mists of time. The Bible speaks of it as a fabric of King Solomon, Queen Hecuba, as well as Aristotle tells the preciousness and the refinement of its manufacturing and texture.
Tradition that is intertwined with magic and has its roots in centuries in the ancient history of our island.
Here on an island in the island, Sant'Antioco, only a skilled artisan in Sardinia, Chiara Vigo, carries on this tradition that becomes reason to live in keeping with the oath of water that accompanies her business handed down to her from her grandmother .
The passage and delivery of laws of mastery happen through a oath which forbids the use for personal gain: the sea-silk is and must remain a common good like the sea from which it springs.


How Bisso is Born

The extraction process of the filament and its subsequent manufacturing is very delicate and complex.
It uses natural methods and practices that border on magic. The sea-silk is a kind of natural silk filament obtained from a some marine-secreting  molluscs (pinna nobilis), whose manufacturing was developed in the Mediterranean. From sea-silk  fine linen and costly fabrics are obtained with which were made, in ancient times, the clothes of important people.
Today Pinna nobilis, a shellfish of large proportions of up to one meter in length, is considered at risk of extinction because of overfishing, pollution and the decrease in the areas where it grows.
The production of true  sea-silk is therefore almost inexistent, probably the last master who keeps the knowledge to extract and process this material is Chiara Vigo from the island of S. Antioco in Sardinia.
The sea-silk also had remarkable healing properties well known by fishermen, due to its powerful hemostatic property it was therefore used for the treatment of wounds that occured to fishermen  with the use of fishing equipment.