The Lace that inspired it all!

The Lace that inspired it all!

Pag Lace is a miracle of Croatian folk art on the island of Pag

Lace is the ultimate achievement in textile art, an individual work of human hands made from flax, cotton, silk, agave, silver and gold threads. Its roots, as opposed to embroidery which comes from the East, are clearly in the West. The material is caught, by thread, into a small, firm construction and the architecture of air is created. The lace-maker works like a spider, interlacing the most imaginative stitches, the only difference being in that work lasts, while cobwebs may be destroyed by the wind.

It is interesting that in 1939 Pag lacemakers participated at the world exhibition in New York. The Pag lace-making school existed back at the beginning of the century and the person who deserves credit for the preservation of Pag lace-making is Austrian Natalie Bruck-Auffenberg. In 1911, she wrote a wonderful book Dalmatia and its Folk Art. She searched for the lost Dubrovnik lace all along the Dalmatian coast and, visiting the islands, discovered Pag lace. She bought Pag lace for herself, for exhibitions in Paris and an Austrian museum, and for the Archduchess Maria Josephine, Otto von Habsburg's grandmother. 

Only a few days after receiving the first lacy blouse from Pag, Maria Josephine arrived in the town. She was the first person to make an order to the old Pag lacemaking school. The orders from Emperor Ferdinand and the Romanian queen, Carmen Sylva, soon followed.  The same lace that was prized by emperors is still made today. The new lace- making school is led by Pag natives Neda Oroz and Urica Orlic. The production of lace, called teg by Pag women, is very painstaking work usually done with an ordinary mending needle. A solid background is necessary for making lace; usually a firm lace-maker s pillow. It is made without a draft or plan, which makes each piece of lace unique. Pag s lace-makers say that not even a computer could repeat the pattern they create each time.

First the circle is defined within which little holes are made several millimeters apart, and then thread is pulled through them. This is how the base for Pag lace is made it consists of eight thread sticks which are spread diagonally across the circle. When the base is ready, small circles and triangles (mendulice) are made from the center. When lace is created, it is firm, as though it has been starched. Pag lace, unlike the other well-known Dubrovnik and Lepoglava laces, can be washed without losing its firmness. Of course, Pag lace is expensive and is, for this reason, called white gold. 

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