Lacy story

Lace-making as a specific form of textile products of its roots in the rudimentary operations producing textile creations – different intertwining strands. That is the definition, and here is the impression … Thousands of small holes framed in strands arranged in floral motifs, figures or motifs from the time of the Renaissance. Patiently they are made by the skilled hands creating a most charming fairy tale that is simply called – lace.

Lace through history
So, lace is a form of handicraft which comes in two basic techniques, needlework technique and the technique of intertwining strands by small wooden sticks – batići. Lace by needle was created in the area of Venice and making lace with small wooden sticks – batići was developed in Belgium. The difference between the lace of European countries and those on the territory of our country are the creators themselves. In Europe, lace making was in the hands of nuns, bourgeoisie and nobility. Even then, the rich nobility recognized the beauty of lace, which is as expensive decoration adorn their clothing. Men were the main supporters of wearing lace. Popular lace ruffles on the collar and sleeve ends, a symbol of wealth and high social status. In Croatia, the lace was made by the hands of rural women in small rural communities, as a part of cultural heritage. These laces were made for the needs of traditional clothes and soft furnishings.

Croatian lace centers
Today in Croatia there are three main centers of lace, whose work is a continuation of a long tradition. These are the Lepoglava in Zagorje with lace on batići, in the Adriatic, a town of Pag with lace on the needle and the town of Hvar with lace made from agave. The skill of lacemaking on batići, out of rough linen yarn, which the village women in Lepoglava made for decoration of your garment or for sale, has created fine lace with different forms. Pag lace is a decorative element that is first found on folklore textile and later as an independent decorative item. The skill of making lace from the agave plant in the town of Hvar is distinct for the material from which it is formed – the agave plant and the attachment only to the Benedictine monastery.

Pag lace
From the begining 20th century, the traditional skills of sewing Pag lace under the influence of Lace School and studio-workshop “Frano Budak” of the Pag city redirected to create individual decorative objects that we know today as the famous Pag lace. In that Croatian product, the recognized motifs taken from folklore textile, still remain in a strict outset, Renaissance geometric of forms. In almost artistic elaboration of these unique handicrafts arised exceptional creations of ecclesiastical vestments, as well as tablecloths, doilies, handkerchiefs and decorations for various pieces of clothing, often framed as a picture on the wall. Pag lace carries a visual label Originally Croatian which confirmes superior quality of Croatian souvenir.

Lepoglava lace
Created in the centuries-old tradition and still preserved in Lepoglava. A special way of making lace – with small wooden sticks (batići) is a peculiar form of lacemaking in Lepoglava area which is largely credited by Mrs. Danica Brössler. Many of valuable ideas are turned into finished product which is now recognized as lace. To create lace, a very thin cotton or linen thread is used. Lepoglava lace, white or beige, has a stylized forms of flora and fauna and the Baroque and geometric motifs.

Agave lace
With Pag and Lepoglava lace, Croatian heritage has been enriched by lace from the agave plant, which is related to the climate of the island Hvar. Today, it’s the only lace made by Benedictine nuns in the town of Hvar, which are the founders of this kind of lacework in Croatia. The procedure is the same for 100 years, and is very demanding and difficult. It starts with the agave leaves harvest, leaves older than 3 years. The stands are extracted from the leaves to the length of 1 meter which are then processed to be ready for a specific method of lacemaking. There’s a story related to agave lace about the Neolithic prehistoric man, living in this cave on the island, who caught fish by a net made of these threads.

Svetomar lace
Svetomar lace is a lace from Međimurje (a part of northern Croatia) which was, as a part of the cultural heritage of Međimurje and Croatia, protected in 2009. This lace is airy and seemingly simple, modest in motives, but originally national, which is why experts often referred to as Cinderella among lace. In the past, two types of lace were produced, one was the cap of married women Međimurje folk costume (kapica-poculica), and the other for the traditional costumes of married women in the Drava and Bilogora region. The lacework of kapica-poculica had an exclusive use in folk costumes, and therefore was less subjected to fashion changes and has been preserved in the old original form. That is the true value of Međimurje lace. Svetomar lace is protected as a immaterial national cultural good with a designation of origin.

Beauty should be valued especially if it is a part of any cultural heritage. All lacework creations are a work of diligent hands of our grandmothers, great-grandmother, and this makes them even more valuable. Lace tell beautiful stories, and it’s up to us to listen to them and treasure them. For some other generations, for some other valuable hands…