History of Burano Lace

Production from the Roman era

From historical evidences it is sure that already in the Roman period a thriving textile production in Padua existed. During the Middle Ages, the leading of production was in Verona, while, Padua, was specialized in the production of flax and cotton. In the fourteenth century, an horizontal loom was introduced and it allowed to obtain the most soft yarns and fabrics with geometric patterns. The fabrics or finished goods in Venice such as: velvets, brocades and damasks, were primarily destined to the luxury market and were exported all over Europe until to reach the markets of Damascus and Constantinople.

History of Burano Lace

The lace was one of the most famous production. Since 1400s, the island of Burano and Chioggia was the seat of this production. The lace was applied on clothes, table cloths and sacred vestments. The fashion industry, until 1700s, required huge amounts, in fact, they were also applied on men’s clothing. At the end of 1500s, Doge Grimani Mariano’s wife, “Morosina Morosini Grimani” founded a school for lace at the Giudecca.

History of Burano Lace. With the fall of the Serenissima, the lace production went into crisis. It is now little used, and other centres of production have developed in Europe. The period of crisis lasted for almost a century. In 1872, by desire of Deputy Polo Fambri and Countess Adriana Marcello, a lace school was set up in Burano. In the same period also the mark of Burano lace came into life. In 1981, this school opened the “Lace Museum” where important drawings and documents are held, plus a hundred major productions ranging from XVI° to XX° century. Since 1995, with the introduction of the museum in the Venetian Civic Museums, it is possible to observe the techniques of manufacturing of lace.

Processing techniques

The processing techniques of lace are two: the needle and the bobbin lace technique.

The needle technique was developed on the island of Burano and it is not now almost in use; it is performed with a thin thread of cotton or silk without any support. By means of this technique, the fantasy of the lace worker was fully expressed and she could make geometric shapes such as flowers and animals.

The second technique, called bobbin lace was practiced in Venice, Chioggia and Pellestrina. It is a much faster technique and therefore less expensive. This process is performed with a drawing attached to the bolster, the work is performed through a network of wires which are held by small wooden bobbins, called bobbin lace, which are always even in number and used by twos. The number of bobbin lace used could be more than one thousand.