Art meets science in Francesca’s tapestries

Art meets science in Francesca's tapestries

What’s on your Loom?

TC2 owner and Artist Francesca Piñol and Carles Bosch, from the The Francis Crick Institute in London (UK), created a tapestry to depict the complexity of the sensation of smell, a project that won her laurels at the Art of Neuroscience competition, organized by the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience. Francesca’s work is characterized by the fascination of interweaving – the combination of threads, colors, textures, designs and symbols that shape the discourse which contain the expression of the various worldviews explaining the thread of life.


Francesca’s recent works, where she created tapestries depicting neuronal landscapes of the mammalian circuits of smell, were a result of a collaboration between Art and Science. Francesca teamed up with Carles Bosch and worked on some images that illustrate their most recent ongoing experiments. These images were adapted so that they could be transferred efficiently into the TC2 loom.

Francesca explains that they wove fabrics depicting neuronal landscapes, where geometrical patterns appear at different scales – ranging from microns to the millimetres. Some features were woven with phosphorescent threads, allowing light and electron microscopy images to overlap in the tapestry.

Title: Threads of odours I (2018)

70 x 70 cms.


By: Carles Bosch and Francesca Piñol
Description: Axon bundles bring the olfactory experience from the nasal epithelium into the brain. This scene depicts how these bundles rearrange themselves immediately before reaching the appropriate glomerulus. The tapestry is woven with two warps and two wefts (black and white mercerized cotton). Six effects were created developing a satin 8 structure.

Title: Threads of odours II (2018)

70 x 70 cms.

Cotton and Abacá

By: Carles Bosch and Francesca Piñol
Description: At the olfactory nerve layer, a myriad of individual axons weave a neuropil mostly composed by axon bundles. This tapestry displays a magnification of a small region of the landscape shown in I. Tapestry woven with two warps and two wefts (black and white mercerized cotton). Six effects were created developing a satin 8 structure.


Title: The mor174/9 glomerulus and his unknown neighbour

Francesca and Carles adapted a 3D scan of neurons of the glomerulus—the portion of the brain that helps process smell— and adapted it into a woven tapestry.

For more details, read this article…




Francesca Piñol is Professor of Textiles at the Escola Massana, Art and Design Center in Barcelona, since 1999. She combines teaching with her artistic practice and research. Although her works combine various techniques and materials, weaving is the technique that is most common used, with the incorporation of digital Jacquard technology and the TC2 from 2015.