Watch: The Coronavirus makes its way onto a Maltese traditional lace festoon

Two days away from International Lace Day, a group of people gathered at the National Museum of Ethnography, at the Inquisitor’s Palace in Vittoriosa, to work traditional Maltese lace.

Anyone under the impression that traditional lace is on the decline, quickly rules this out when observing the passion, ability and diversity among those who possess this talent.

Anna Maria Gatt, who is the curator at the Inquisitor’s Palace and also a lace researcher, said that the history of lace is testament to important elements about the culture of the Maltese during different epochs of history.

“It also reflects the era to which a particular costume belonged. For instance, as we are seeing here, in order to recognize the style and what it is made of, of course you’ll have to look at photos, postcards to be able to compare the period,” said curator Anna Maria Gatt.

We asked how handmade lace differs from machine lace: “Machine lace is also beautiful because it is a craft in itself but of course when you look at handmade lace, you see the differene, one is a manufactured production and the other is made very slowly. ”

The Dominican Father, Tonio Mallia Milanes, said that his love for lace was inspired by his mother. He is working a piece of lace for his own mother and told us that this helps him relax and be more organized in his thoughts, especially when he is struggling with his priesthood duties and in his work as an educator.

When you start learning to make the designs yourself and you try to be more creative, it’s not so limited because it’s an art, so you can consider it a work of art because you can make figures. I once worked on a madonna,” said Father Tonio Mallia Milanes who has been working lace for 16 years.

We also met a police officer who started learning this trade because he wants to pass it on to his daughter. Today was his first lesson.

“In future, when my daughter grows up, I’ll encourage her to take up this hobby, which is slightly differently to today’s hobbies where kids are stuck to their computers,” said Mariano Bonello.

His teacher, Marica Camilleri, is a veteran in this craft. She said that the Covid period served the purpose of becoming more creative in this art.

“We see a lot of traditional Maltese lace in festoons, festoons of the Maltese cross, the star and the sun. So I said now that we are going through this period, why not make a Covid-19 festoon, in the way I imagine it. I found his pictures on the internet and I decided to make a mask with a coronavirus festoon, “said Marica Camilleri who teaches lace.

The organizer of the event, Anna Maria Gatt said that in Malta there are more than 200 people who work lace and she wants more people to be enticed into learning the art of bobbins so that this art and craft can survive and continue to be passed on from generation to generation.

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