Monday, 27 January 2014

Lacemaking in Bruges




Bruges' lace centre is tucked away behind the macabre Jeruzalemkerk, an intriguing church that's well worth a visit. One ticket gets you into both, or if you have a museum card, they're both included in the package.

The museum itself, it has to be said, is not much of anything. Lace doesn't have a spectacular history that can be showcased on display boards; beyond the occasional pricked finger, this is a story quite devoid of bloodshed. It's a bit of an exaggeration to call it a story at all, since no-one even knows exactly when lace started to be made, or who thought of it first. What we do know is that by the 16th century, it was an important luxury product in European trade circles.

My point is, you shouldn't go to the lace centre to learn about the history of lace... but do go. Go to watch lace being made, by a group of local women who will impress you with the dexterity of their fingers. Check the times of the demonstrations before you plan your day, and make sure you're there at the right time to catch them. They're producing beautiful and intricate work, and often at a speed that's simply dazzling.

If you don't catch a demonstration, the museum consists mostly of some pretty sample pieces, and a couple of boards explaining the different types of basic pattern. You'll be disappointed, so double check your timings.

Bruges

Bruges

Bruges


9 comments:

Rachel said...

Bobbin lace is one of those strange things which looks terrifyingly complicated but is based on something very simple - I think that's why the skilled get so quick. Even though I've done a little, I still find it hard to understand how the simple stitches I've learnt can be combined to create something that looks nothing like anything I've ever done!

Becky Jerdee said...

Oh my, such detail work for older eyes!!! I'm in awe but glad they carry this ancient skill forward...

Midnight Cowgirl said...

A demonstration would be very interesting to see!

Rebecca Subbiah said...

they have so much talent love lace I used to visit an amazing lady from church who crocheted she made blankets for the kids when she was 110!!

Slamdunk said...

I can thing of 5 female relatives who would enjoy seeing the demonstration. Like you said though with anything--check the times.

A Cuban In London said...

How interesting! :-) My daughter would probably enjoy that experience. Many thanks.

Greetings from London.

Sarah said...

Ah, I think my mother would like this a lot. It's beautiful to hear that this is an art that continues. A lot of lace is made by machines now; sigh.

Amy at Ms. Toody Goo Shoes said...

I missed this when I was in Bruges. Would have been interesting to see.

Charlotte Klein said...

Omg, what a delicate and beautiful craft. Loved this post and these pictures. Thanks, Rachel :) I wish I had the chance to see this while in Bruges, too.

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