Lab O at the Courtauld…

…thanks to the conservators, art historians and students of the Technical Art History Research group at The Courtauld for the interesting discussion after my presentation last Tuesday…a collector’s box with samples is on its way !

so much has happened in six years !!!

2016 – 2022 !

…the very first presentation of the very first reconstruction of the canvas of El Greco’s “The Burial of the Count of Orgaz” was in 2016

Until date I have analysed and recovered the weave draft of more than 23 canvases with a complex woven pattern.

I have woven nine reconstructions…

….on my way forwards to more…

Thanks to all who have believed in this project since its start !


Paper accepted at the conference:

The Widespread Role
of Clothes. Textile Production
and Clothing Concepts in Society
Interweaving Perspectives

Helena Loermans

Research and reconstructions of historic canvases. How to structure
data and weave drafts?

The peer-review process has come to a close. We are pleased to inform you that your proposal has been accepted for Track 2 — Pattern Recognition: Structuring data methodically. We would be happy to host your talk on Thursday the 23th of June.

Track 2  Pattern Recognition: Structuring data methodically

Even though it does not strike us at first glance due to clothing’s artistic expression: producing clothes is solved by converting creative ideas into a mathematical concept and applying it to a specific problem. It is a complex task that almost always includes an impressive fusion of diverse skills, elaborate strategies and creative thoughts. Consequently, a vast amount of wide-ranging information is archived in the material culture and other relevant sources related to the many functions of clothing and clothing production. However, carefully and systematically extracting those data from the sources is just the beginning. 

How can we structure the collected data to gain those interesting hidden insights that go far beyond an individual object or a specific group of sources? How can we achieve methodological and systematical standards and intelligently interlink our data so that the collected information is best possibly comparable, reasonable and in its structure adaptable and expandable? How can we analyse, understand, communicate and exchange relevant information?  

Track 2 aims to explore how to structure and interlink data efficiently and, by doing so, to learn how to problem-solve, think creatively, and ask meaningful questions. Furthermore, it intends to discuss how to wire data and our thoughts by extension. Track 2 welcomes all aspects of data structuring, machine learning, and methodological approaches in this field. Relevant topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Structuring Data-Sets: The Challenges of Data Digitalization
  • Digital Metrics and Evaluation Tools: Analysing, Systemizing and Sharing Data
  • Data Cultures in Dress and Textile Research
  • Decoding Archived Knowledge: An Interdisciplinary Dialogue
  • Practice: Defining Quality Standards and Understanding the Big Picture
  • The Future of our Collective Memory: Data and Data Science 

thank you Adam Lowe…

Thank you so much Adam Lowe @ Factum Foundation for your thoughts about my work! I am absolutely fan of your- and your team’s work <3

quote ” I am one of her fans- If there were more people carrying out the informed, in depth practical research into the material of works of art I am sure we would all have deeper understanding and more interesting thoughts as a result. I look at samples Helena has woven and feel that her work is of fundamental importance.”

Rigorous analyses allow us to confirm identical patterns as well as distinguish subtle differences….

I was asked to analyse a canvas of an historic painting (cannot give more details yet) and found that the weave draft in the warp and tie-up was the same as in the canvas of Titian’s Portrait of Isabella d’Este.

I have woven a reconstruction of both patterns on the same warp.

In the weft I had to skipp 2 x 4 passes….

both canvases

ICOM CC conference 2023

I have uploaded a proposal for the upcoming ICOM CC conference in Valencia 2023 !

The focus will be on the analyses of seven canvases of El Greco paintings and one of Alonso Sánchez Coello. Each with their unique weave draft that allows us to confirm identical patterns as well as distinguish subtle differences.

Contribution Title: Identifying historic textile weave patterns in painting supports

Working Group: PaintingsType: PaperAuthor: Helena Loermans


Comment: Lab O is a laboratory for handwoven canvas. It’s mission is to recover and share the knowledge of historic canvases. Helena Loermans

feeling grateful …

Marion F. Mecklenburg, Senior Research Scientist at the Smithsonian Museum Conservation Institute wrote this recommendation on the research and reconstructions at Lab O.

“When I first encountered Helena Loermans’ research on the reconstruction of historic canvases at Lab O I was somewhat taken aback. It was such an obvious method to merge the historic textile industry technology to the canvas supports used on paintings. Yet this connection is rarely discussed in the conservation community.  It encouraged me to reassess my understanding of historical weaving and recognize that artists had access to textiles having rather complex weave geometries. Further her actual recreation of the sophisticated textiles early painters used as painting supports clearly shows what would otherwise be difficult for the average viewer to see.”

Marion F. Mecklenburg, PhD