Lace is a fine open fabric made of textile or similar threads with patterns of holes. Although this would be the likely definition suggested by the dictionary this is but a small, visible part of lace. Much greater is its invisible, intangible part.
Every lace reflects the developmental path of its own or of other lacework techniques and the history of all influences and exchanges of lacemaking skills and patterns between countries. It contains the creativity of its makers who have given it a colorful range of styles as well as the creativity of its users who have embedded it with multiple meanings. The lace displayed in our exhibition has yet another significance: its threads, interlacements, and patterns symbolize invisible links between different time periods, places, and people.
The lace collection of the Slovene Ethnographic Museum is one of the largest in the country. Several objects are also displayed in the museum’s permanent exhibition, titled Between Nature and Culture, where they illustrate the basic typology of ornamental techniques. The present exhibition, which we have named InterLACEd, further expands this concept to include the multiple dimensions of our lace heritage and related issues. Each of its sections addresses this from a different perspective. The first one speaks about the messages conveyed by museum and private lace collections that can serve as a source of creativity and generate a feeling of belonging. The second provides an insight into the multiple connections and creativity based on our lacemaking heritage. The third section presents lacy structures as a medium for creative expression and potential heritage in the making. In order to complete such a demanding task we had to peek beyond the boundaries of our own museum collections and extend an invitation for cooperation to many individuals, groups, and institutions involved with lace.
The last section, which presents our newly acquired “laces with stories” as well as lace donated or loaned by our visitors, traces its steps back to the exhibition’s baseline message: lace is the material evidence of many common and private heritages that are co-created by all of us.