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Thursday, 12 July 2012

Traditional Lace Work of Canary Islands

The first person whom I visit when I return to Tenerife each time is to visit my friend, Ana. She has been a great friend for a long time now and I have always seen her smile, does she frown ever? I doubt. Our mutual interest is Art and handicraft. I have spent many hours in the past making odd and ends creating art work and also painting in oils. She now owns a big store selling all the accessories of handicraft items. 

Ana has an art studio behind her shop, where she holds art classes to those who would be interested. Artists buy all sorts of art stuff from her store and she helps them how to use it. I go crazy when I see all the things at her store, there are paints, unfinished painting, sculptures waiting to be painted, stencils, art books, etc.

Her face brightened up as soon as she saw me. She shows me the latest trend in artwork and I am attracted by the lace work that is stretched tightly on the wooden frame.

Spain is famous for their lace work. Many tourists take back the souvenirs of this laced bed sheets and tablecloth with them. In the villages, lace days take place in the open air from March to December and the women can be seen seated at the tables demonstrating lacemaking techniques to the passerby.

Ana offers to teach me this art. A cloth is stretched on a wooden frame. The method involves drawing out the strings from the cloth in a certain pattern horizontally and vertically. Every lace is made up of lots of stitches, where you need bobbins to create a pattern. The stitch has to be tightened up so that it doesn’t look messy. There is a great sense of achievement when you see the finished product.

There are three main shapes – rectangular, fish or triangular and they are worked mainly in bobbin lace, especially Blonde and Chantilly, which is extremely fine. Motifs are mostly floral but expert make animals and landscape too. This requires lots of patience and concentration but the results are satisfying.

Ana shows me different books on lace making, tempting me to learn this art, I pick up the lace fan from the corner of her store and fan myself.

“If I have time I will come and learn from you” I tell her as I continue to study different designs in her books.

Mentally I make a note of making that beautiful tray from one of my own art work.


  1. That's a nice collection of lace work. :)
    How much time do they invest everyday?

  2. it depends on how much free time they have.... some cn do it all day.. :)

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