|The Maltese Cross
ia a design Element that almost always identifies Maltese Lace. It was
inserted into the lace when Maltese lace became so popular around Europe,
it was frequently copied.
It can be found woven
into the lace (see below left)or as shown here in the fabric inset.
||Another way to identify Maltesse lace is the Cream colored silk used to make the lace or the very fat "wheat-ear leaves" shown below. Modern Maltese is now also made from cotton .|
The craft had been mastered locally by around the middle of the 17th century, but for the next 200 years it was mainly worked only by a small fraction of Gozitan women. Genoese lace makers were brought to Malta by Lady Hamilton, Lord Nelson’s consort, to help revive the industry in the early part of the 19th century. Maltese lace is a direct descendent of Genoese lace although it developed its own character, often including the Maltese Cross design.
Bobbin lace is made with a number of threads, ghazel in Maltese, each fastened to an elongated spool or bobbin. A pattern is drawn up on parchment paper and holes pricked to show where the pins should be placed to keep the linen threads in position while the lace is made. The parchment is placed on a cushion while it is worked.
Priests were also instrumental in encouraging the expansion of lace-making in Gozo during the 19th century. Before long, lace-making proved its worth as the product was sold to the Islands' upper classes and abroad. With their help, lace-making spread beyond a few families to become an island-wide industry. Examples of Maltese lace were sent to the Exhibition of Industries held in London in 1880.
Encouraged by increasing demand, the art of lace-making spread from mother to daughter and on to neighbours and friends. Before long, lace-making proved its worth as the product was sold to the Islands’ upper classes and abroad. The income made helped raise the standard of living for some families in Gozo’s mainly agricultural society.
In Gozo today, you may be lucky enough to glimpse women sitting outside their front doors working lace as the Island’s women did in centuries past.
Gozo lace: an introduction to lacemaking in the Maltese IslandsPLACES OF INTEREST:
by Consiglia Azzopardi
132 p: ill. including 72 prickings in folder at back.
DDC: 746.22 0945857 LC: TT800.A99
Melitensa Classification: MZX, FL
and the follow-up book:
“Gozo Lace – A selection of Bobbin Lace Patterns designed by Dun Guzepp Diacono (1847-1924)
by Consiglia Azzopardi
DDC 746-2220945857 LC:TT8900. Melitensa Classification: MZX, FL
The elegant Gozitan lace Leisa's Maltese Lace Page Maltese Lace ID Page Gozo.com BIZZILLA Lace Day Lacemakers of Malta