Once upon a time in a land of ornate beauty, and probably still in homes, small shops, and ateliers, lace-making was a highly regarded and rather time-consuming hand-woven art. Beginning in the 15th century in Flanders (France/Belgium), linen, silk, gold, and silver threads were looped and twisted or braided to other threads, leaving a fabric with decorative open spacings to be used in religious clothing, home decor, and trims and gowns. Since its inception, numerous methods of lace-making have been developed, but needlepoint lace and bobbin lace methods remain both traditional and popular.
Possibly dating as far back as the Roman times, lace bobbins have been used throughout history to weave thread into lace.
And my, oh my, do these ladies have it down. Watching them reminds me of Spanish classical guitar players who effortlessly glide up and down multiple guitar necks. Check out this incredible video of Lace Making in Croatia that demonstrates traditional methods of both needlepoint lace-making and bobbin lace-making.
And, of course, the beautiful examples of this finely woven art.
Regarded as the finest lace-making method, needle lace can achieve a delicacy and intricacy that machine-made or even bobbin-made lace cannot. An example of needlepoint lace (handwoven with a needle and thread):
Chantilly lace, an ornate and highly coveted handmade French lace popular in shawls and gowns, is a type of bobbin lace also known as “bone lace.”
For a detailed history on lace and an amazing series on lace in portraiture, check out Venetian Red.
Have you or anyone you’ve known tried your hand at lace-making? It’s such a meticulous and awe-inspiring art!