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Yelets Lace
October 27, 2009 20:43

Yelets Lace is a famous Russian handicraft of bobbin lace woven from bobbin threads of brown, white, yellowish, black or grey colours. The centre of the handicraft is Yelets town of the Lipetsk Region. Lace-making sprang there in the late 18th century, and in the 19th century already Yelets gained the lead in lace producing in Russia. Yelets craftswomen wove measured lace, kerchiefs and collars.

Yelets lace is peculiar for its finesse, gracefulness, and harmonious contrast of fine floral and geometrical patterns against delicate openwork background. The patterns are based on chains of diamond-like shapes with various fillings (flowers, bugs, etc.)

The traditional old Yelets lace was also peculiar for its twin weaving technique. Local dwellers mastered the lace craft in the early 19th century at a private manufacture owned by Protasova in Yeletsk.

From the mid 19th century it spread around to numerous nearby settlements and villages and became especially wide scope in the late 19th century. Lots of then fashionable black silk triangular headscarves were laced at that time.

An association of lace-makers existed from 1921, and the Yelets Union of Lace-Makers was established in 1930. During the Great Patriotic War the Yelets handicraft ceased due to the military occupation and had to undergo a hard period of recovery.

The year 1960 saw the foundation of the Yelets Enterprise of Artware (artists P.G. Petrova and V.I. Grigorieva). The present-day production association Yeletsk Lace is located in Pishchulino Settlement of the Yeletsk District.

Yeletsk laces are finer and lighter than Vologda laces. The plain weave of Yeletsk laces varies in density and width and often switches over to openwork lattice. Combination of different densities of weaving within the same elements creates an effect of the light-and-shadow play and relief shape.

Big piece-works of Yelets lace are peculiar for the composition of the central area consisting of separate elements – rosettes or square shapes, which, rhythmically repeated, correspond to the ornaments used at the edges and make a stand out boldly against the dense lattice of the background. Sometimes the lattices in one and the same ornament can have different patterns, combining coupling and twin techniques. That is one of the expressive features of the Yelets lace. The lacy lattices of Yelets are also typical for motifs of snowflakes and frosty tracery, which are also often associated with white laces of other lace-making centers of Russia.

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Tags: Russian Arts and Crafts Russian Lace Lipetsk Region Russian Souvenirs  

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