Bezdanski damast – Bezdan Damask Silk Handwoven Damask Workshop Bezdan

Bezdan is small settlement in Vojvodina with some 5000 inhabitants, on the junction of three borders of Serbia, Hungary and Croatia, 5 km away from the Danube River and 20 km away from town of Sombor. Bezdan is known for its fishing and hunting tourism and the Iodine spa, but more famous for its silk woven damask which is unique in Europe. This is tradition which includes signature of uniqueness, recognition, latitude in space and endurance in lasting.

Likewise numerous settlements on the edge of the Austria-Hungarian Empire, Bezdan gained the status of the free royal settlement as per decree of 10 April 1772 which was significant privilege that costed its population 1010 forints. Then this settlement numbered 400 houses where lived agriculture producers and fishermen who generated significant income, among whom were 51 craftsmen with 15 weaver who distinguished themselves, and soon were well organized within the artisans guild. The weaving tradition of Bezdan was improved from foundations by the artistic weaver Janoš Šmit who moved to Bezdan in 1871. When he received state support with obligation to employ at least new workers, Smith released his previous work with hemp and flax, and undertook weaving of damask manufactured from specially processed flax imported from Czech and England. The silk damask was woven at that time under the most modern techniques that remained until present without any changes. Such manufacture gives patina of old times to this unique product while the quality mark is provided by manufacture of rich and varied design of the finest table cloths, napkins, bed linen.

The weaving craft – the skills of the artistic weaving origins from Czech and Hungary from where it arrived in our areas at the end of thee 19th century along with the equipment – that we looms. In regard with preservation of hand weaving and damask manufacture the Bezdan Weaving Workshop of silk damask in unique of its type in Serbia as well as in Europe.

After the Second World War the private weavers of Bezdan – Bezdan craftsmen united their funds and on 1 November 1951 established the Dunav Weaving Cooperative at the address of Ulica Zrtava fasizma no 2 in Bezdan. Today the Bezdan Handwoven Silk Damask Workshop is the unique example in Europe of preserved craftsmanship or artistic weaving of silk damask performed exclusively on wooden looms which are wide from 60 to 240 cm, with perforated cards – patterns that were constructed in 1801 by the French weaver, inventor and merchant Joseph Marie Jacquard.

Manufacture of silk damask in the Bezdan Handwoven Silk Damask Workshop is operated exclusively on hand looms of Jacquard weaving as per perforated cards, which date from 1871. Manufacture of Silk Damask is operated by 23 weavers who work on 18 wooden looms who produce some 1000 sq meters of fabric in a month. The hand weaving of Silk damask is performed by synchronized moves of hands and legs as per very complex procedure and specific way of intersection of jacquard yarn weaving which needs to be repeated 28 times in order to get 1 cm of the damask.

The name and the organization form of the weaving Cooperative – enterprise changed many times during its history, and in some integration it got the name of “Novitet-Dunav – Silk Woven Damask Workshop”. At present the Bezdan Workshop of Silk Handwoven Damask is example of successful privatization which manufactures silk damask with registered mark of geographic origin. The Geographic origin mark provides additional value to products of high quality that make producers achieve higher prices in international market and numerous benefits in trading and distribution, due to significant approach in their protection.

The hand woven Silk Damask is a fabric manufactured of natural yarns from which are made the finest upper table cloths, napkins and bed linen. Each manufactured item is unique and features style and richness in harmony and beauty of its designer or manufacturer. The yarn is made 49% from cotton and 51% rayon silk.

Preparation of the warp is done by a warper who warps cotton yarn. Yarn is mercerized, bleached, combed cotton 100/2 TEX. The base come from the rayon silk that nearly does not differ from the natural one, and comes with a row of high quality features – the metallic glow, lasting colors that never fade and tenacious in high temperatures. The warp density varies from 40 to 50 threads-cm and weft density is from 28 to 32 threads-cm with weight about 180 g per sqm. The Silk Damask weaving is based on atlas mode and is designed. The Bezdan Silk Handwoven Damask Workshop manufactures some 30 different patterns in more than 40 colors, that are not dependent one from the other. Several patterns of Silk Damask is aimed exclusively for hotel industry. There is manufacture of Silk Damask in standard and non-standard dimensions, most often as per customer demand, needs and wishes. There is option for manufacture of cotton damask in white color in dimensions and patterns as per order of customers. Furthermore the Handwoven Silk Damask Workshop in Bezdan can provide woven logo-emblem and machine embroidered damask in various colors.

The Silk Damask from Bezdan is today in the textile market a synonym for exclusive equipment in hotel industry and home decoration, and unique choice for a business or private gift, an authentic souvenir and interesting tourist destination visited by prominent guests, expert delegations and numerous tourist groups.  The Silk Handwoven Damask is often a matter of family inheritance which can be cleaned even 1000 times and to keep its quality and features like on the day of its manufacture. The Silk Damask tablecloths and bed linen became popular and highly respected in our region since the time of President Tito and Yugoslavia, and were regarded as fine as they get used and older. The table cloths, napkins and bed linen of Silk Damask manufactured in Bezdan for decades decorate the elite restaurants and hotels, embassies and event venues, and are part of private and business presents and original and long-lasting souvenir from Serbia. An 1 hour visit to the Workshop of Silk Handwoven Damask in Bezdan includes historical introduction into preserved craftsmanship and authentic looms, presentation of hand weaving techniques with perforated cards, insight into products and according to wish of visitors buying of products and souvenirs for production costs.