Burano lace maker Venice lagoon

Burano Lace

Burano lace is a well known handicraft of the Veneto region. In this post you find the experience of a woman that, with passion, works in a tradition of her island. Hence her name is Sandra Mavaracchio and the island is Burano in the lagoon of Venice. Therefore, just below, you can read her introduction:

“The Burano lace is living!”

Raped by the frantic race to the enrichment of unscrupulous traders. And who in recent decades have with intention almost in total supplanted the original lace with “copies”. Most of all, cheaper without quality and coming from Far East countries. Hence left on the back burner by often deaf politicians in listening the cry of pain. Therefore, of an art with almost one thousand years in agony. But I am convinced about a golden path to the revival of the Burano lace. And it is to teach, first, the processing technique to the younger generations.

Burano art of lacemaking

At the present days, the Burano art of lacemaking is alive thanks to the ladies, no longer young like me. Hence for passion, they continue to produce refined lace both inspired to the tradition. And also with the development of new designs. As a result, the goal is to enter into a global market. A market that, perhaps due to the global crisis that has invested it in the 2007, revalues the quality instead of the quantity. In conclusion, It’s my intention to exploit the best offer from the global process to rediscover the lace of Burano. Hence I am conscious of the fact that “history is life’s teacher”. And most of all we need the cooperation of the institutions. In order to have protection, procedures and substantive guarantees. As a result, for an art that has been the pride of Venice for centuries.

The history of the  Burano lace

It seems like they imported the know-how from Byzantium during the thirteenth or the fourteenth century. As a result, in the lagoon the lace making process takes place immediately. In fact the first reliable written records that talk of the lace dates back to the mid-fourteenth century. Hence in 1414 a noble lady works to protect and spread the lace. Which in the fifteenth century, follows the fashion of the moment. And her name was Giovanna Dandolo, wife of the Doge Pasquale Malipiero.

As a result, we found laces in sacred vestments, on blankets and sheets and on the altar decor of the Serenissima countless churches. Also on curtains and pillows, on bridal dresses and veils.  As well as on lapels, collars and cuffs. Up to the ornament of the house with tablecloths, doilies and strips for different furniture.

Burano lace around the world

However, the fame of lace maker ladies and their works of art spread quickly throughout Europe. In fact, Richard III in 1483, during his coronation as King of England, shows a dress adorned with Venetian lace. Hence we know the favor that the Burano lace meets at the French court. Where queen Catherine de Medici was not lacking day without showing some new piece of her endless collection.

The laboratories in the lagoon of Venice

The fame of the lace grows fast thanks to the construction of laboratories. Such as the Santa Fosca district, promoted by the dogaressa Morosina Morosini. As a result, she was the wife of Marino Grimani. Hence the aim is to reproduce and to enrich in Buranello-Venetian style the lace coming from the Orient. Under the guidance of the teacher (mistra) Catherine Gandin, this laboratory includes more than a hundred lace makers. Who every day they create real works of art.

The know-how

As a result, the Serenissima does not create schools or brotherhoods for the needle workers. And often even prohibits the direct sale by subduing the ladies art of lace to men arts of “Marzeri”. On the other side, it is concerned about the European interest. Most of all, Flemish and French that try to imitate style and elegance also counting lace makers at court. Therefore, it prohibits the export of the “know-how” lace art. Hence, the consequences are severe sentences. That reach even jailing and killing family members of the lace makers that export the art.

It was an extraordinary success of needle laces in the women’s and men’s fashion of that time. As well as in the furniture. And also, the religious institutes made an industrial production in Venice. For the needle they choose Burano, where all women knew how to do the lace. Of course working in teams specialized in individual points that they assembled at the end. In conclusion, the lace industry dresses and embellishes all the most important European courts. As a result, until the fall of the Republic by Napoleon.

Mrs Cencia Scarpariola

Without Mrs Cencia Scarpariola the Burano lace would be just in the memories of our past. First of all, she was a teacher of the lacemakers. And also the true manager for the lace revival of during the end of the nineteenth century. Hence the Lace-School of Burano, where Mrs Cencia teached, dates back to the 1872. Most of all, made thanks to Paolo Fambri that was a deputy of the newborn Kingdom of Italy. And also with the patronage of Queen Margherita. As well as the passion of the Countess Adriana Marcello. As a result, the aim was to revive the Burano lace production in a time of economic crisis for the island. In conclusion teaching the young ladies a gainful employment.

The students start the school at an early age, and there were various classes and levels. Most of all, the technical side of the school was to the quality production. Hence, rediscovering the ancients points and models, and introducing some variants to embellish the lace.
Therefore, due for the economic crises, like also the world wars and the unbridled industrialization, the art of lace fails. As a result, the school closes its doors in 1973.

The challenge

Today the Lace School is inside the Civic Museums. And lives not so much by the lukewarm interest of the institutions. But by the work of lacemakers “survivors” who give lace art demonstration. Hence, the challenge is to relaunch the lace of Burano teaching the technique to the younger generations. Of course, in the hope that the institutions will take action to protect the quality of the product. As Because the “Buranelle” even know how to work with needle and thread. But it is necessary to make a qualifying and rewarding profession from all points of view.

Private visit Burano Lace - Lagoon of Venice

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