Some of our Solamante woven straw bag designs have been decorated with bobbin lace, "Bolillo" as it is called in Spain. We like to think (and we hope that you do too !) that this traditional produced material both complements and enhances the natural beauty of the baskets.
In the old days there was a big tradition of lace production in Spain, particularly during the XVII and XVIII centuries when Spanish artisans were producing enough lace to be able to satisfy local demand and as well as sell their products to the rest of Europe. Unfortunately, the advent of the Industrial Revolution spelt the end of large scale use of this ancestral technique, a similar fate to that which befell virtually all other highly skilled European artisan production methods. Luckily in Spain there were then, and there continue to be today, local people who have preserved the techniques of bobbin lace production. Indeed, today there exist ,in a multitude of places, bobbin lace clubs whose members are delighted to share the wealth of their knowledge by teaching anyone who wants to learn these ancient skills.
For example, in the city of Valencia, from Monday to Friday in "La Plaza Redonda" (The Round Square - which is one of the most centrally located squares in the old town, close to the lovely Valencian Central Market) you can find a group of old ladies who are experts in this and other types of laces and knitting. They sit outside, to one side of the square, passing the time together, happy to be watched, photographed or conversed with by the tourists or anyone else who would like to take a photo. They're only desire is to do what they like to do and perhaps, along the way, do a little bit to promote the skills that they have helped to preserve
Making a fan
Traditional shops in the round square
They are not there to sell what they produce, for them the joy is all in the creation of something elegant, beautiful and original that did not exist before. They usually use their laces as gifts for their friends or to display in their houses because they don´t have anywhere else to show them off. As a matter of fact, they have petitioned the Valencian City Council for a place where they can stage and subsequently curate a permanent exhibition.
Bolilleras de la Plaza Redonda (Round Square Bobbin Lace Group).
So, if you are coming to Valencia for your holidays, we recommend that you visit the Plaza Redonda so that you can meet these lovely old ladies and see first hand how they work. Maybe they can teach you their skills and bobbin lace could become your next "DIY PROJECT" !. In the meantime, I hope that this photograph gives you an idea of what to expect, and of course, you can always have your Solamante basket bag close at hand for inspiration !!
Bobbin Lace Group working hard
Alambra woven straw bag, by SOLAMANTEFind our Alambra wicker bag here