It’swinter in Venice, gusts of wind and snow cover the city in a quiet blanket. The long canals, whimsical bridges, and cobblestoned alleyways become slowly peppered with snowflakes that gently create a lace-like pattern as they scatter on the ground. In this long, wet winter, without the usual buzz of curious tourists, of singing gondoliers, or of ruffling pigeons, the city becomes a peaceful and quiet haven. Nearby, the small island of Burano also silently sparkles under the fresh snow.
Producing Burano Lace is one of the most ancient Venetian crafts, a tradition that has been preserved in its original form up to present day. The first mention of this intricate lace comes precisely from this small island, in the 15th century. Yet the real fame of Burano lace arrived about a century later in the 1600’s, when European noble families began to use it to adorn their clothes and homes.
On the day of his coronation, King Louis XIV of France wore a gorgeous lace collar, which looked strikingly impressive worn upon with his royal cloak. The craftsman behind this Burano lace collar worked on it painstakingly for no less than two years. In fact, working Burano lace is highly time-consuming, a difficult and laborious task that requires tremendous patience, skill, and experience because every part is manually “air-stitched.” This type of workmanship was coined “Punto in Aria” literally “Stitch in the air.” This specific characteristic distinguishes stitching Burano lace from any other type, as this creates light, elegant, and airy pieces that can be considered works of art.
Today not many masters of this art remain. They work on the island of Burano in the studio of Martina Vidal, where a simple needle and thread are used to create exquisite table linens, clothes, wedding veils, and fans. Martina Vidal lace still uses the same stitching technique that was used in the 15th century, preserving the tradition that has made this particular lace become known for its superior refinement and delicate elegance.