Yesterday, Saturday 24th of September, I visited a Lace Festival with my mother. This was 20th annual festival of lace held in Lepoglava in Croatia. It lasts for three days, Friday to Sunday and every year they have different country as their partner, this year it was Belgium. Since it was 20th festival, there were lace displays from 20 countries. The exhibitions were held in 5 locations in this tiny town’s centre. I visited only two since we arrived a bit late and hadn’t had time to see it all. Tickets are cheap and if you don’t use the coupons for all the exhibits, you can use them the next day, of course if you don’t come on Sunday.
Like I already mentioned, this year they displayed lace from 20 countries. To be honest, I didn’t really see much difference between lace from different countries but apparently there are some major differences. Especially in the way the lace is made. First we saw lace made in Poland and there was a little piece of paper next to every design, and no it wasn’t a price, it was amount of hours spent to make it. On the simplest and smallest one, was spent 70 hours of work. The biggest one that was on display, it was spent over 320 hours of work.
Some of the pieces were shaped like crowns of brooches so they can be worn as an accessory.
To me the prettiest lace, however, was on an evening gown. The gown is simple, black, with a lace detail on the cleavage. It’s sophisticated and could easily be worn to the red carpet. On display were also old gowns from the time when women didn’t wear anything but. At that times, the amount and richness of the lace was a sign as to show how much money a certain person has. If there was a lot of lace details on the collar or sleeves of ones gown, then she was of high social standard.
I visited this festival 8 years ago when partner country was Japan. Few very skilled women from Japan and Croatia were making a big tent made only from lace. When I saw it, it was half finished. Since I didn’t visit the festival in a while, I never had a chance to see the finished tent. This year I saw it since it was displayed in an old convent.
8 years ago:
Technique of lace making is very complex and takes years to learn properly. It’s not surprising when you see how many hours are spent in making a small lace detail. The lace displayed here is bobbin lace, as the name suggests it’s made with bobbins and a pillow. The pattern is attached to the pillow and then you have to use a lot of pins and a lot of thread to get the pattern in lace. The thread is on the bobbins and you use pins to set your design. Like I said, it’s very complex and I don’t really get it so I can’t explain it properly, sorry.
The exhibitions close at 8 p.m. and then at the atrium of the convent the “Game of lace and light” begins. They used projectors and different coloured reflectors to project a lace patterns on the building of the old convent. Music that plays in the background reminds of the sound of bobbins clicking together making lace. The light show lasts for two hours, I saw 15 minutes of it due to being really chilly outside. Nevertheless it was something new and innovative. The idea of projecting lace pattern onto an old building and adding different coloured lights to create a show out of it is amazing and clever. Also it’s a nice way to end the viewing of the exhibitions.
The really nice touch was big map of Europe (and small World map in the corner) showing all the countries and towns where lace is made. The pins for the towns are connected to the town of Lepoglava (and this festival) by threads that are used to make lace.
Even though, this year I didn’t see everything, I highly recommend visiting this festival because it shows how much hard work is put into the simplest piece of lace that we often just consider a pretty piece or accessory on our clothes.