"Punto in Aria"
and Punto in Aria are closely related needlelaces from Italy. The geometric
designs are easily recognizable to those who see these laces. Reticellas
were made in abundance from the late 1400's to the early 1800's. They start
with a fabric from which threads were cut and withdrawn. The remaining
threads form a framework upon which additional threads were stitched and
woven to form elaborate patterns. The original technique of Reticella marked
the transition between fabrics made lacy by cutting out and withdrawing
threads, and lac,e made stitch by a stitch without a substructure. The
early Reticella work has the threads withdrawn in only one direction. Later
work finds threads being drawn-out in both directions. Eventually so many
threads were drawn-out that the foundation became very flimsy and lace
makers devised a new framework without even bothering to use the original
foundation fabric. This was to be known as Punto in Aria, or "In the air".
the threads that remained, needle weaving is done using the buttonhole
stitch to form the designs. Most of the designs were worked around the
gridwork of squares with diagonal crossings. Early work is very geometric
and later wheels were introduced and the characteristic triangles with
inside ornaments of great beauty. As finer laces were introduced Reticella
Lace's popularity fell into decline but was revived when larger items like
tablecloths, were Reticella was often combined with embroidered linen.
An arrangement of alternating squares of cut work, embroidery and Reticella
were used to create wonderful effects.
Punto in Aria retains many of the characteristics of Reticella but also is able to go beyond the geometric framework. The lace makers devised a linen and parchment base for their work. This base consisted of two or three layers of fabric with the parchment pattern on top. The layers with then basted together. The pattern was then layed over with a gimp which was basted down through the pattern and layers of support fabric. When the lace was finished the basting stitches were cut between the layers thus leaving only the Lace.
from the constraints of the warp and weft design of Reticella, the ground
threads could be curved and doubled in any direction the designer chose.
The outlines threads were based on to the parchment pattern, usually in
pairs. These threads follow the contours of the motif and were couched
into position through pricked holes in the parchment. Some of the most
popular designs seen in Punto in Aria include human figures, animals, boats,
birds, urns, jewels, seaweed, scenes from the Bible, double headed the
Eagles, dragons, scrolls and flowers. But the same basic buttonhole stitch
was used to cover the outline stitches as in Reticella.
This picture shows a frame for making Punto in Aria. It is very unusual to find one of these frames. You will notice that the stitches on the top show the worked lace, and on the bottom, the work in progress.
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