Lace and the Sea (Venice)

FROM The man in the front seat / May 6, 2014

Venice as a city or more exactly Burano, one of its islands, is renowned for its association with “punto di aria” or needlepoint lace. Althought the arrival of the lace can be traced back to Cyprus that is still no reason to not let a bit of legend make it even clearer.

The story goes that a sailor, leaving his fiancée on Burano set out on a voyage only to shipwrecked on an area that was inhabited by mermaids. Bewitched by the mermaids beautiful looks and voices, the rest of the ship’s crew leaped into the water. Our sailor however with love in his heart resisted the temptation and lure of the mermaids song.

The Queen of the mermaids, touched by his devotion, shook her tail and whipped up a crown of sea foam, which became solid and became the bridal veil for the sailors distant betrothed. Later, the young girls of the island copied the veil with a needle and thead introducing the lace for which the island id known for today.

Although legend there is also some truth in the tale, of Burano lace being connected with the sea, for its complex stiching and weavings derive from the techniques used for making and repairing the fishing nets. A task in days gone by done predominantly by women.

Lace and the Sea (Venice)
Venice. Lace making on the island of Burano
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