As time goes by

The Silk Factory in Lyon

The road between China, the mythical homeland of silk, and the Western world has been long.

Two millennia have passed since the “wool of trees”, a mysterious product transformed into fine transparent veils, made its entry into ancient Roman society.

Long the prerogative of the Eastern Roman Empire, silk continued its journey and dazzled Western Europe during the Middle Ages thanks to the Crusades.

In the 16th century, by virtue of a privilege granted by the King of France, Lyon became the only authorized general silk warehouse in the kingdom. The “silk, gold and silver weavers” then settled in Lyon. Numerous silk workshops opened their doors.

In the mid-19th century, silk weaving represented more than 800 companies and 125 000 jobs.

Today, the Lyon Silk Factory is weakened by foreign competition and crises.

Soiyage s'inscrit dans cette démarche de défense et promotion des métiers d'excellence et de l'artisanat.

Aux côtés d'autres institutions et acteurs, la maison œuvre pour la sauvegarde du patrimoine de la soie à Lyon, de ses savoir-faire et ses emplois.

Dans cette lignée, nous travaillons avec le dernier atelier en France à perpétuer manuellement l'impression au cadre plat ou à la lyonnaise.

Flat frame printing, 'Lyonnaise printing'

This traditional process was invented in Lyon around 1850 and was long used by Lyon's manufacturers for fabric printing.
Flat frame printing allows for the execution of designs composed of many colors (up to 45) and is perfectly suited for small quantities and the creation of unique pieces.
The unparalleled richness, depth, and texture of the colors obtained by this technique naturally make it suitable for printing traditional silk squares.
The flat frame printing works on a principle similar to that of stenciling. The flat frame consists of a metal frame the size of the product to be made and a polyester tergal gauze. Prior to this, the tergal is photoengraved with the pattern to be printed, leaving permeable areas (the pattern) and impermeable areas, thus creating an extremely precise stencil. The color is then spread with a squeegee on the surface of the frame and passes through the porous areas corresponding to the design, transferring it onto the fabric by coloring



Flat frame printing is a slow and demanding process that involves various steps: choosing the design, colors, and silk, preparing the printing tables, fixing and tensioning the silk, printing, drying…
Achieving a good print is not easy, it requires expertise acquired over many years: properly tensioning the silk, finding the appropriate viscosity of the paste, achieving color conformity and uniformity, making the right stroke with the squeegee, knowing how to place the frame with perfect precision, knowing how to use and develop artistic sensitivity...