Happy are the lacemakers

By / 22nd of July, 2014

SOME 300 delegates from 18 different countries across the globe gathered in South Australia this week to discuss the ins and outs of traditional bobbin and needle lace, including a talk on Edwardian lace unmentionables.

The lace aficionados were in Adelaide for the 16th OIDFA World Lace Congress, a bi-annual meeting of the French organisation held for the first time in Southern Hemisphere and only the second time outside of Europe.

The big drawcard of the event was a workshop by Dr Consiglia Azzopardi, a renowned Maltese lace expert.

Her input on a privately owned collection of rare Maltese lace brought one delegate to tears, as it provided the final piece of research she needed to complete her PhD.

Local artist Alvena Hall presented the first of three lectures, documenting her career as a contemporary lace artist, emphasizing the influence of the South Australian landscape on her work.

Rosemary Sheperd, a specialist lace curator at Sydney’s Powerhouse Museum and lace historian, presented a lecture on the history of bobbin lace.

She drew comparisons between early bobbin lace techniques and traditional Aboriginal methods of net making and basket weaving.

A ‘Design a Wine Label’ competition resulted in some innovative lace designs with winning entries from Hungary, Russia and the US.

The prize for best Country Display went to Ireland for the innovative way in which they presented their work. 

Several ongoing exhibitions opened across Adelaide in conjunction with the congress. 

Lace: The Art of Adornment is showing at the Art Gallery of South Australia and showcases the gallery’s collection of bobbin and needle lace spanning a period of more than 400 years. The display will run until February 2015.

The Migration Museum of South Australia is showing Lace Journey to South Australia, which illustrates how the tradition of lace making came to Australia with migrants from Europe and beyond. It includes contemporary works and demonstrations by members of the Lace makers Guild and is on until September.  

Cavalcade of History and Fashion, a museum without borders based in Sydney, brought their unique collection of Edwardian garments to the Royal South Australian Society of Arts gallery. It included dresses, underwear and accessories featuring hand and machine made lace.

Cavalcade President Helen Parsons presented a lecture exploring the history and development of Edwardian lace undergarments.

According to Christine P Bishop, member of the OIDFA Organising Committee, the congress was a huge success and international delegates had high praise for the knowledge and expertise of their Australian counterparts.

The next OIDFA Congress will take place in Ljubljana, Slovenia in 2016.

Images & Media

  • 2014 World Lace Congress in Adelaide.
  • 2014 World Lace Congress in Adelaide.
  • 2014 World Lace Congress in Adelaide.
  • 2014 World Lace Congress in Adelaide.
  • 2014 World Lace Congress in Adelaide.

Lace in South Australia:

Embroidery Museum

Lacemakers Guild of SA