Haute-Loire is one of the cradles of bobbin lace. And the city of Le Puy-en-Velay is also recognized as an important center for the manufacture of handmade lace. The origin of this craft dates back to the middle of the XNUMXth century.

Velay lace: a bit of history…

Already attested in Velay in the XNUMXth century, the production of lace declined for some time in the XNUMXth century, following a ruling by the Parliament of Toulouse prohibiting it. The Jesuit Jean-François Régis having contributed to its recovery, was consecrated patron saint of lacemakers.

Lace flourished again under Colbert, when the institution of the young ladies of instruction or “béates” was founded, who notably taught the art of lace-making to young girls. After the vagaries of the Revolution, lace experienced a new boom in the 1860th century. So much so that in the 130.000s, there were 300.000 lacemakers in Haute-Loire for XNUMX inhabitants!

After 1900, hand lace declined, in competition with mechanization. But thanks to the efforts of Théodore Falcon, who created a factory in Craponne-sur-Arzon with up to 1400 workers, and who went in search of lace from all eras and encouraged designers to renew themselves, the reputation of the lace-making centers of Craponne and Puy-en-Velay is known throughout the world. With the creation of Departmental conservatory of handmade lace and Lace Teaching Center bobbin, Velay lace has endured.

For the preservation of the lace-making know-how of Velay

Created in 1974, the Bobbin Lace Teaching Center pursues two essential missions: maintaining tradition and practice through teaching and safeguarding the lace heritage.

Over the years, the center has acquired an international reputation and its correspondence courses, followed all over the world, make it a reference in terms of training.

Showrooms allow you to discover a remarkable collection of old and contemporary, regional, national and international lace. Exhibition of lace-making equipment, trades and bobbins from different countries.

As for the lace conservation workshop, it is attached to the general administration of the Mobilier National, under the supervision of the Ministry of Culture. The National Workshop is responsible for maintaining the techniques of bobbin lace: laying out, actual lace, finishing and assembly.

A prestigious workshop since its creation in 1976, it produces pieces of high artistic quality on contemporary models: tablecloths, napkins, handkerchiefs, doilies, sheets... which are part of the Mobilier National collections.
These pieces are presented to the public during exhibitions in the Atelier or in exhibitions in France and abroad.

Many establishments perpetuate this tradition and pass on this know-how

Au Museum of lace factories in Retournac, a lacemaker welcomes the visitor to discover a universe of beauty, history and technicalities.
The Hôtel de la Dentelle in Brioude exhibits its most beautiful collections of old lace and its contemporary polychrome Cluny creations.
The Bobbin Lace Education Center in Le Puy-en-Velay offers lessons on all lace-making techniques and exhibits its collections.
The National Lace Conservatory Workshop in Le Puy-en-Velay is responsible for maintaining bobbin lace techniques. He creates pieces of high artistic quality on contemporary models.

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