Italian Bobbin Lace
Traditional handmade bobbin lace has been made for centuries in Le Marche, and most notably in a beautiful medieval village called Offida. Fortunately today there are still women who make this beautiful art, and you can visit them and buy pieces of lace. It’s a dying art form as it’s so labor intensive, but once you see and feel real handmade lace, you’ll have a deep appreciation for the craft.
Le Marche is in central Italy, on the Adriatic coast (the west coast) of Italy.
Bordering both Umbria and Tuscany, as well as Abruzzo, Lazio and Emilia-Romagna, the region has an identity all of its own. Lushly green and hilly with the sea on one side and the Appenine mountains on the other, you’ll find wonderful traditions still carried out, including the making of lace.
Bobbin lace (also called bone or pillow lace) takes its name from the way it is made: on a firm pillow (once filled with straw) to which a pattern is tacked and each twist of the bobbins is held in place by a pin.
We know that by the mid 1500’s bobbin lacemaking was known in both Venice & Flanders, yet it’s unknown as to exactly when & where it began. It soon became fashionable throughout Europe. Because of the many hours of labor required to produce lace, it was worn as a sign of wealth & prosperity by the upper & also the middle classes.
In the 17-19th centuries there was a huge demand for lace. To meet that demand many women became lace-makers.
Lace schools for village girls were founded by noblewomen, their patronage being paid for in lace.
Children started in these schools at about age five. They worked from dawn til dusk, often in crowded, unventilated rooms with the most primitive of sanitary facilities.
The people who spun the very fine thread (usually linen) that was used for lace making had to work in dark damp basements lit only by a small hole in the shutters to light the spinning wheel. This is because the fine thread would break if it dried out. Today of course, woman work in well lit, heated
From You Tube
Dominic & Frank Celebrating the Wonders of Tradition
“A chi vuole, non mancano modi.” – “Where there is a will, there is a way.”