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Chiara Vigo, the last Maestro from Bisso

A sincere and deep friendship binds me to this extraordinary and special person who is dedicating all of herself and her life to transmitting the millennial history of this particular fiber to the whole world, also called “the silk of the sea”. Chiara Vigo lives in Sant ’Antioco in southern Sardinia, where people from all the world come to her atelier to learn about this unique story in the world.

A beautiful publication by Susanna Lavazza entitled “Chiara Vigo The last Master of Bisso” is the most recent and complete document about her life:

The time of mastery is the time of a lifetime. Learning to be Masters is putting your life in the hands of a Master, letting yourself be molded like clay and waiting patiently for the work to be completed, in order to be able to dispense as a gift what was received as a gift.
“I was born in 1955 in a family of masters of arts and life. I have clear memories of my life as a child.
In my great-grandfather Raffaele Mereu’s room, the fabrics are on the wooden shelf and rest on the table to become elegant clothes. I remember the feeling and the charm they exerted in my young soul, who dreamt happy: fluid thirst sensations that will move in light bodies …
In my great-grandmother’s room, Cristina Marongiu, the circles of embroidery and the gold and silver threads intertwine on light tulle and give life to shawls of women who wearing them open secret smiles. Dressings of costumes that will remain in my heart as sweet memories and hopes of future meetings … In my uncle Dario Teofilo Mereu’s room, the books of ancient languages ​​and ancient wisdoms peep out and intrigued me to the point that often I love, when nobody looks, go to secretly read what he learned about the scriptures of the Bible, where the kings and priests were clothed in a sacred golden thread which skilful hands weave and dye and embroider …
In my grandmother’s room, Maria Maddalena Rosina Mereu, whom everyone called Leonilde, the threads, the spindles, and the fibers that wind in her light hands and in her frames become precious fabrics and fantastic designs, they will become my life and my only my passion … And, among these threads, the fine linen slowly enters my soul and shines with the sound and light of the soul of the water … The fine linen rises from the mists of time and I become what I am today: a Master of fine linen and ancient texture.
Everything stems from the fact that my grandmother’s oral story and gestures are congenial to me and of course already exist in my being. She weaves a tapestry inside me that could not be undone.
Learning from her to swim in apnea in the waters of the lagoon, go home and desalinate the fiber, then compose the color with the marine burrs of the shells and with the herbs, over the years lived together a sacred rite, transmission of secrets learned by heart and children of previous memories, which I don’t like to write but to tell from time to time to those who want to know my story, because the oral and gestural transmission cannot be put on paper, but creates a meeting fabric towards anyone who wants to enter the secret world of a Master.
For this reason, for years we have been looking with Susanna Lavazza for ways to put together her writing and my being so that it could become a gift for those who want to enter my room to enjoy what – as already said – cannot be described as everyone will read according to the his heart and his soul and he will take away with him what he is looking for … his thread of life. A different thread every time, for a different card, made of transmission and ancestral gestures that have no beginning and perhaps never end as long as you have the pleasure of giving your life and your knowledge to those who want to be part of the great fabric of living.
I wait for you all in my life and in my room as welcome guests to share and weave with you the thread of water that is not bought and sold because like every life I meet and it is sacred and inviolable. Follow Susanna in her writing and give yourself the pleasure of peeking secretly into my room”.

Chiara Vigo
Commander of the Italian Republic
Master of marine byssus and ancient weaving

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