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'Lace Is My Life and I Love It' Interview with Igor Beros Croatian Bobbin Lace Maker

On our lace journey, we will stop this time in Croatia.

In Croatia, bobbin lace has a long history. It dates to the renaissance time. Croatian lace was influenced by western countries, especially by Austria and Germany. Croatian lace was thicker, (traditional material was flax thread), with organic patterns of different shapes. Very interesting in the history of Croatian bobbin lace is that contrary to the rest of Europe, where the production of lace was done exclusively by nuns and novelty, production was done by peasant women in the countryside. Knowledge was passed from generation to generation. This is the most important fact about Croatian lace. It was not just a high-class symbol but was available to everybody. This is a reason why lace has such a strong link to Croatian culture. No wonder that lacemaking in Croatia was classified as Intangible World Heritage by UNESCO.

But let me introduce to you a young talented lacemaker IGOR BEROŠ who lives in Croatia capital Zagreb. I could not resist and ask Igor how lace became part of his life.

As a little boy, I loved to watch my grandma while she was crocheting, weaving, or embroidery. It amazed me how beautiful things she could create. It was like magic. I was fascinated by her creations.

After elementary school, we moved to Zagreb. My fascination with traditional craft grew stronger. I attended different workshops, but none of them was about bobbin lace. Actually, I did not know too much about bobbin lace at this time.

But then I came across an Italian lace magazine. This moment I remember like it was yesterday when I saw a drawing for bobbin lace. It looked so difficult to me, lines, dots, colors. I was puzzled about how somebody can do that.

But in my nature is to try everything and never give up. I thought I have to try this, I must. In our modern age, YouTube has the answer to almost everything. I found a tutorial on how to make torchon lace. This was it. I followed the instructions, and my first lace was born.

Later on, I came in contact with Austrian bobbin lace teacher Renate Guggi. She taught me more complicated and intricate patterns.

Also, I attended more workshops here in Croatia and traveled to lace festivals in different European countries. I wanted to learn more about the history of bobbin lace, about the difference in bobbin lace making in different European enclaves. I am more oriented towards traditional lace. I do a lot of research about the history of lace. I love to reconstruct old laces, and also I am a lace collector. You can see lace became my passion. Lace is my life, and I love it.

Maybe because torchon lace was my first attempt in bobbin lace making, it is my favorite technique. I love to work on torchon lace because it allows me to use so many different grounds, gimp, I can combine it with tape lace and much more. It is perfect not just for advance lacemakers but also for beginners.

I like to design my own patterns. It is fun to create something modern. It brings me pleasure and satisfaction.

Currently, I teach courses about the history of lacemaking in Croatia. Also, I organize workshops where I teach bobbin lace. In the courses for beginners, I start with tape lace, and then I continue with torchon. Tape lace is easy for beginners because they do not have to use many bobbins. And they will not get scared by 50 or more bobbins.

Every day I try to learn something new about lace. I am not interested just in bobbin lace, but also in other different lace techniques like needle lace, filet lace, Armenian lace, and many more.

I hope you enjoyed reading Igor’s story. Is it not interesting how people connect with the lace and lace becomes an integral part of their lives.

I must say something more about Igor, and he is co-creator of group Men making lace and organizer of men making lace festivals. But this story is for another time.

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