In Trentino, a trade school for lacework existed in Rovereto in the 19th century, while in Trento this skill was taught in convents. In Alto Adige, the production of bobbin lace was concentrated in Merano, Bocenago, Val Sarentina, Valle Aurina, while examples of 19th century lacework are on display at the Bolzano Civic Museums.
Ever since it was founded in 1874, the school at Cles (TN) has equated lacework with painting, and the training of its students has focused on an eye for beauty and perfect technical execution.
Lacework requires research, study, creativity, and good taste. With a solid grounding in tradition, modern lacework is more current and responsive to contemporary tastes and lifestyles. Coloured cotton, linen, and silk yarn, in addition to gold and silver threads, were used to give lace items a modern, original touch.
Bobbin lace is a longstanding tradition in Predoi (BZ). At the end of the 19th century, several local women were sent to Vienna to attend lacework classes, in order to try to open up new economic opportunities in the face of the terrible recession that had hit the area following the closures of local mines. Upon their return, they passed down the art of lacework to local women and girls. The first state school for bobbin lace was established in 1908, although it experienced uneven fortunes and closings between the two world wars. Later on, thanks to the establishment of the “Scuola del tombolo Predoi” association, numerous courses were offered, and are still available today. The courses teach both ancient and modern bobbin lace. Linen threads are traditionally used, but cotton is also acceptable.
At the beginning of the 20th century, Javrè (TN), which was under Austrian administration at the time, was chosen to host one of the “Imperial Schools of Lacework” that Austria had been opening in order to give local women an income opportunity by teaching them, free of charge, to make bobbin lace and then helping them market their wares. When these formerly Austrian schools were assimilated into the Italian school system, the one in Javrè was recognized as a “Royal School of Lacework”. It enjoyed uneven fortunes, but its activity continued over time, thanks in part to the support of local administration. The school closed for good in 1990.
Currently, thanks to the relentless commitment of local cultural associations, an attempt is being made to re-focus attention on this typical style of lace and its history. The “Al Filò dal Lundì” of the Javrè Cultural Society has revived traditional bobbin lace while adding a modern twist by incorporating new designs, materials, and ideas.
A renowned lacework school was active in Luserna (TN) over a century ago. It is said that many of the most sumptuous clothes worn by 19th century noblewomen where woven by the skilful hands of the women from this small town, where Cimbrian is the native language. Unlike other lace items made with a single thread and the help of a needle or crochet, this type of lace is made by weaving an unlimited number of threads.