Lace making, Brugge
And the softness of my body will be guarded from embrace
By each button, hook, and lace.
For the man who should loose me is dead,
Fighting with the Duke in Flanders,
In a pattern called a war.
Christ! What are patterns for?
— from the poem “Patterns” by Amy Lowell (1874-1925)
The art of lace making has been practiced in Belgium for centuries. In the Flemish provinces there are two techniques used; the first is needle lace, call Renaissance or Brussels lace, because it is mostly sold in the capital. The second sort is bobbin lace; that is the specialty of Brugge.
Beginning the 16th century, the bobbin method of lace making was taught in private schools and orphanages. Then, at the start of the eighteenth century three Antwerp nuns established a lace-making school in Brugge; here the students were taught the art of lace making along with their religious studies. What distinguishes Bruges lace is its flower work and the use of thick or thin thread.
We happened upon this woman making lace in the doorway of a house. What a pleasant diversion it was. She mostly likely made the lace collar on her dress (see photo #4).
On hot summerdays you must walk through all kind of streets where are no fancy shops but where you can see the women making bobbin lace, sitting in the soft light of the sun, never ever losing their concentration, however many people are watching their hands and fingers, never letting their eyes off their work!! This is really a work of art........
Shops and shops full of the stuff, hankies, mats, collars, blouses, dresses, pinnies....
Nearly every street had a shop of handmade lace. It was all too much for me, not being a *girly* girl as it were.....
If you like it, buy it, apparently it lasts forever....
And here she is: my sweet GRANNY, working as she has done all days of her life and believe me, I am not very good at making bobbin lace, I only know that it is very difficult, that it is hard work but the results are REAL WORKS OF ART.
Lots of the lace you see (and perhaps buy in shops has been made by machines..........so be careful where you buy!!
As we walked around the city we saw this women making lace in her doorway. It was truly incredable to see how much skill was involved. Watching this made this whole trip truly worth it.