HISTORY OF LACE
SHORT HISTORY OF EUROPEAN LACE
It is still not clear whether Italy or Flanders should claim the invention of the needle and bobbin lace in 15th century. What we do know is that it has been as complex and held in high esteem from the very beginning. For long time lace used to be associated with convents and due to many hours of painstaking workmanship spent on making lace and high making costs it would be available only to nobility - it was a form of portable wealth and a sign of prosperity.
By the 16th century lace-making has spread allover Europe and new styles of laces were invented, mostly named by their town of origin (Venice, Alecon, Chantily, Mechlin,..) The popularity of lace among royal courts in the 18th century made people even sell land and squander fortunes to acquire more pieces. By the 19th century machine made lace got embraced by the middle class. No longer exclusive, yet even more popular.
An instant and lasting tradition was created by Queen Victoria in 1840 with her breathtaking white lace wedding dress.
LACE IN SLOVENIA
Bobbin lace is made by braiding and twisting lengths of thread, which are wound on bobbins to manage them. As the work progresses, the weaving is held in place with pins set in a lace pillow, the placement of the pins is determined by a pattern or pricking pinned on the pillow.
The oldest document mentioning presence of lace in Slovenia dates back to 1696 in Idrija, a small mercury mining town. Before opening the first lace shop that supplied material and bought lace from lacemakers in 1860, lace would be one of the main smuggling goods.
As the demand for lace grew, Idrija established it’s own composed style to replace the more time consuming continuous lace. This style became very popular in the wider European region and in 1876 the Ministry of Trade in Vienna decided to establish a Lace School in Idrija. Lace-making soon spread into the neighbouring valleys (Ziri, Zelezniki,..) and growing economic importance of the trade empowered trained lacemakers.
Trained lacemakers could contribute to their household’s income and even support themselves alone.
Lately lace is regaining its popularity and festivals, galleries and studios are being established throughout lace-making regions. Inventive new ways incorporate lace in glass vessels, furniture and even building facades.