Lefkara lace, from Cyprus, has become a fascinating subject of study for me the last couple weeks, ever since Elissa sent me photos from her Cyprus adventures. The other day, I showed you a few brief bits of Lefkara lace, hoping to whet your appetite for the subject, too. I think what fascinates me most about the technique is that it strikes me, too, as a combination of Italian needle lace and Hardanger, with a little Schwalm thrown in along the edges. The Venetian influence on Lefkara lace is easy enough to understand, as Venice had administrative control of Cyprus some 500-ish years ago. Sources seem to be in conflict over whether Venice brought the lace technique to Cyprus, or Cyprus sent it back to Venice. I’ll have to do a little more research on that one!
What I do know is that along the narrow streets of this little town, once there was a booming lace industry. Ladies worked in the sun outside their homes and shops, and they passed their skills down to the next generation. In the 1930’s, and with the dawn of World War II, this all changed.
Today, in Lefkara, there are still some lacemakers and shops that sell the lace. There are also organizations striving to keep Lefkara lacemaking alive by marketing the embroidery to people around the world via the internet. One such organization is called the Lefkara Handicraft Center, and on their website, you will find further information about the history of the technique, what’s going on with it today, the ladies who still make Lefkara lace, and also how to buy Lefkara lace goods (table cloths, table runners, and so forth).
The ladies who make Lefkara lace often work together on large pieces, or they specialize in certain parts of the lace-making process. Right now, a group of ladies is preparing for the Papal visit to Cyprus later this year, by working together on a cloth for the Pope. Evdokia is one of the lace makers. She’s the aunt of the lady who runs the Lefkara Handicraft Center website and cooperative. My “correspondent in the field” (Elissa) was able to work with Evdokia to learn a little bit about Lefkara lace-making. What an opportunity!
The cloth above is the piece being prepared for the Papal visit. The linen is a cream color with white threads for the embroidery. Once upon a time, the linen used in Lefkara lace was produced on Cyprus, but now they use a sturdy Irish linen. Common colors used for Lefkara lace are cream, white, and a natural / brownish color.
This is the edge of the same cloth. It’s quite beautiful!
Next time we visit Lefkara lace, I’ll show you some close up photos of the different motifs used in the lace making process.
Have you ever heard of Lefkara lace? It’s something that I would like to learn more about, but resources are somewhat scarce. If you have any ideas or any input on where to find information on the subject, please leave a comment below and let me know!