Why here? ÁBBATTE was born in a Cistercian abbey where tradition and modernity live together, reviving the age-old craft of weaving. This location is the perfect blend of what took place in the Santa María de la Sierra monastery during the 13th Century, when the monks used to weave here, and ÁBBATTE, a textile brand whose aim is to bring back the craftsmanship of weaving.
The Cistercian order played an important role in religious history, highlighting the importance of manual labour. As well as the social role it held until the French Revolution, the order also had a significant influence on intellectual and economic fields, as well as the areas of art and spirituality.
In the mid-sixteenth Century, almost sixty percent of the population in Segovia was dependant on the textile industry. The city was home to some six hundred looms, and produced somewhere in the region of more than 16,000 pieces of cloth per year, making it the perfect home for a project such as ÁBBATTE’s, where the textile tradition of La Sierra de Guadarrama is rekindled in workshops that are housed in contemporary buildings located next to the ruins of the Cistercian monastery.
This area used to be the main centre for sheep shearing and wool scouring due to its strategic location on the migratory herding path. Wool, linen and silk were the yarns used in the Middle Ages and from the 13th to the 18th Century Segovia was one of the busiest hubs for the Spanish wool trade.
The day-to-day existence of the white Benedictine Monks of the Cistercian order at the monastery was born out of a small community that soon flourished to the point where they even accommodated Kings and Queens. Its slow decline began in the 14th Century becoming more apparent in the second half of the 18th Century. During the Ecclesiastical Confiscations of Mendizábal in the 19th Century and due to its gradual neglect, the building fell into ruin, almost to the point of its complete demise.
This new facility, with a monastic feel, is the perfect blend of what took place in the adjacent monastery during the 13th Century, when the monks used to weave there, and the project to rekindle handmade pieces driven by ÁBBATTE.
Photo: Pablo Gómez – Ogando
Text: María Olmos Mochales