A lace-making school, which will
ensure the preservation of
traditional lace-making skills, has been reopened in Pag
|A lace-making school in the Renaissance stone town of Pag, on the island of Pag, has been operating for three years now. This town was designed by one of Sibenik s most famous citizens, Juraj Dalmatinac, the man made famous by his masterpiece, the Sibenik cathedral. It ensures the continuation of the centuries-old tradition of the widely known Pag crochet lace. Opened at the last minute, the school has halted the imminent death of the tradition, as only old Pag women used to do this work. The only lace-making school in Croatia represents a rarity in the world, and is situated in the original building that used to house the former Banovina lace-making school.|
|The beauty of Pag lace was presented to the public as early as 1880, after an exhibition organized by Father Frane Bulic, a famous Croatian archeologist who is best known for the first excavation of the remains of the ancient town of Salona, near Split. However, Europe knew about Pag as much esteemed lace a long time ago. Pag lace used to be sold abroad as Greek, Austrian or Italian lace, although it was always the same Croatian lace from the island of Pag, known as Pag lace.|
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. The diameter of a normal lace is 20 centimeters. Such lace costs from one to two hundred German marks. However, larger lace is made to order. A piece of lace-work with a diameter of 40 centimeters costs one thousand German marks. Lace-work even larger than this is made by special order for those who can pay for it. Despite its high price, Pag lace is always in demand. During the tourist season it is always sold out, while during the year large orders are placed. All of these are reasons explaining why the lace-making school has been reopened and that young women are being given the chance to learn this skill.
The Croatian Heritage Museum and Library is pleased to announce the opening
of its new exhibit :
Paska Cipka: Lace from 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
The first lace originated in the Renaissance when textiles focused on
simplicity and purity. Lace was an ornament of both men's and women's
garments. Pag's lace originated in the same period and is Geometric in form.
Lace making requires a needle, thread and backing which is a round or square
shaped hard stuffed pillow. Lace-makers of Pag did their teg (work) without
any drawings. Each woman used works from her mother and grandmothers as
example, adding a personal touch, something unique and special. Each lace is
a symbol of the anonymous, modest and self-sacrificing life of its maker.
The Croatian Heritage Museum is pleased to sponsor :
Neda Oros, from the Paska Cipka Gallery, Pag, Croatia.
Mrs. Oros will only be with us for our opening. She is bringing with her
many fine examples of this lace. There will also be items for sale. Please
plan to attend. We will also have taped demonstrations. These
presentations at 2:30 and 3:45. because space is limited reservations must
be made in advance to attend the presentations. Please call 440-327-9498
The exhibit will run from March 26th to September 30th , 2000. The museum
hours are Fridays from 7 PM to 10 PM and other hours by appointment. The
opening of this exhibit will be Sunday, March 26th from 2 to 5 PM in The
Croatian Heritage Museum located in the American Croatian Lodge Complex,
34900 Lakeshore Boulevard, Eastlake, Ohio. Also located in this complex is
the Dubrovnik Garden Restaurant. For Group Tours and further information
please call, Suzanne Jerin at 216-991-2310. Email address