The lacemaking teachers who are in charge of the organised formative process yearly teach around 450 children aged 6 to 15 years at school departments in Idrija, Sp. Idrija, Cerkno, Ledine, Godovič, Črni Vrh nad Idrijo, Podkraj, Vipava and Col. Their students are taught the skills of Idrija bobbin lace, drawing and reading international colour code, as well as drawing their proper patterns. Along with children and youngsters, the school also educated various groups of interested adult individuals and is active both home and abroad. Through different promotional activities and projects, it collaborates with Slovenian and foreign lacemaking centres.
In school, lacemaking carries an important educational function: it encourages precision, patience, logic and fine motor skills, while providing students with social interaction, socializing, and group dynamics.
The idea for the Threads of Art project arose when we asked ourselves how to offer our student a way of teaching that will be different from the established practice of teaching lacemaking. How to bring students closer to the lace so that they will establish a different relationship to it; so that they will collaborate, socialize and develop creative thinking while searching for artistic and technical solutions to lacemaking?
With this in mind, we decided to invite artists living and working in the area where children learn lacemaking in order to explore and identify the possibilities of integrating lace into various artistic techniques together, which would also generate the awareness of the importance of preserving cultural heritage and nurturing a positive attitude towards it.
The entire project from the idea to the exhibition lasted for two years; two years of collaboration, exploration, material- and pattern testing, and searching for solutions. It gathered 98 students, 8 lacemaking teachers and 10 artists who kindly responded to our invitation and took on the challenge. These were Nande Rupnik, Svetozar and Lea Živković, Danilo Jereb, the Art Section of the Cerkno Pensioners’ Association, Silva Karim, Breda Čuk, Mateja Ocepek, and David and Polona Ličen.
The project resulted in eight different stories, eight perspectives, fields of art and art techniques that all feature Idrija lace produced by our students and their lacemaking teachers. In some of the works, Idrija lace, made following the patterns that the students drew themselves, plays the main role, while in others, it plays the part of the artist’s muse.
The Treads of Art exhibition was first shown at the Idrija Municipal Museum as the central exhibition of the 2019 Idrija Lace Festival. The artworks were then given permanent placings on visible positions in the environment in which they were made, representing the good practice of work, collaboration, and connectivity to be followed also in the future.
Project Head: Meta Gregorač:
»As a teacher of pattern drawing, I teach at every department of the Idrija Lace School. The idea of a project that would connect every department in a single exhibition represented a true challenge. I had to act as a liaison between the artists, the students and the teachers; guide, teach and direct the students in designing and drawing the patterns; participate in forming the final form of an artwork; and, finally, design an exhibition that would reflect and represent the idea, the collaboration, and the enormous amount of work every participant put into the project. I think of my work as a challenge and as a mission: to transfer knowledge and passion to preserve the cultural heritage, and to do so in a way that students find interesting and creative. Even though lace and its place in everyday life are changing, this art remains alive, desired and valued. I firmly believe that by transferring knowledge and a positive attitude towards it onto the younger generations, lace will continue to tell its story and challenge us in yet unimaginable ways.«
Author: Meta Gregorač
Photo 1: Department Vipava; teacher Katarina Mlakar and artists David Ličen and Polona Kunaver Ličen. Photo: Meta Gregorač, Idrija Lace school.
Photo 2: Department Idrija; teachers Aleksandra Pelhan and Dragica Česnik and artist Nande Rupnik. Photo: Meta Gregorač, Idrija Lace school.
Photo 3: Department Idrija; teachers Aleksandra Pelhan and Dragica Česnik and artist Nande Rupnik. Photo: Meta Gregorač, Idrija Lace school.
Photo 4: Deoartment Črni Vrh; teacher Anka Jamšek and artists Svetozar Živković and Lea Lampe Živković. Photo: Meta Gregorač, Idrija Lace school.
Photo 5: Department Col; teacher Anka Jamšek and artist Silva Karim. Photo: Meta Gregorač, Idrija Lace school.
Photo 6: Department Ledine; teacher Meta Gregorač and artist Mateja Ocepek. Photo: Meta Gregorač, Idrija Lace school.
Photo 7: Department Podkraj; teachers Jožica Klanjšček and Metka Fortuna and artist Breda Čuk. Photo: Meta Gregorač, Idrija Lace school.
Photo 8: Department Spodnja Idrija; teacher Dragica Česnik and artist Danilo Jereb. Photo: archiv of Idrija Municipal Museum.
Photo 9: Department Cerkno; teacher Stana Frelih and Likovna sekcija Društva upokojencev Cerkno. Photo: Meta Gregorač, Idrija Lace school.