The Idrija lace: Creating napkins, jewelry and other unique products

Darja | Live the World

November 23, 2022

Slovenia is full of unique traditional crafts, each having its own rich history and a place of creation. The small town of* Idrija, located in western Slovenia is the home of the Idrija** lace or Idrijska čipka, named after the place itself. This tradition of bobbin lace-making is known all over Slovenia and is considered to create a wide range of some of the most beautiful home-made* products from simple napkins to jewelry and even parts of clothing.

The beginnings of the Idrija lace are not precisely known, but it is supposed that this craft has a long history reaching back more than 300 years when it was brought to the Slovenian territory from German and Czech lands. The first products created were mostly intended for the decoration of churches, parts of clothing and homes of wealthy farmers. The tradition of the Idrija lace was easily preserved and kept alive until today as the mothers taught their young daughters the process of lace-making and different patterns that are typically used. The craft became very popular in other nearby towns like Žiri, a traditional town with its own variation of bobbin lace-making. Since more and more people were interested in lace-making, a school dedicated to the creation of the Idrija lace was established in 1876, that is still open nowadays.

The technique of the Idrija lace is truly unique, as it consists of traditional patterns that are typical for the town of Idrija and its surroundings. Some of these patterns have original Slovenian names, that have been preserved through the long history of dedicated women and girls creating beautiful home-made products and keeping the tradition alive. If you are interested in fascinating traditional crafts when visiting a new country, then you should also consider learning something about the suha roba - a woodcraft creating home-made products known all over Slovenia.

The Idrija lace holds a special place in the hearts of the local residents, so special that there is a festival being organised here each year to honour this important craft. The Idrija Lace Festival (Festival idrijske čipke) occurs sometime in the middle of July each year and lasts for two days. There you can learn everything about the history and lace-making itself, as well as enjoy the various exhibitions and products being presented. This festival also offers interesting workshops, competitions, concerts and outdoor parties right in the centre of the town.

The products that are being created by the makers of the Idrija lace are truly unique and suitable for everyone. The napkins can serve as unique decorations or souvenirs, and different types of jewelry can make a nice present or be proudly worn by yourself. These are just a few examples of many bobbin lace-making products that you will discover while getting to know this traditional Slovenian craft.

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