In the beginning was the thread...

Spindles as paintbrushes

Italiano (Italian)

It seems impossible to be able to paint with thread or rather, to be able to do it with lace, indeed in embroidery there is the “painting stitch” which recreates, through the skilful use of particular stitches and a variety of colored threads, the effect of the brushstrokes on the fabric .With lace the matter is more complex given that you don’t work on a pre-existing base and everything develops through the weaving and crossing of threads stopped by pins and the color change can be challenging. No less important is the fact that the making of lace is linked to precise and orderly rules and techniques, requiring a project and design that leaves no room for improvisation.

What technique does not allow, fortunately imagination, artistic flair and passion allow. These are the conditions that have allowed Bistra Pisancheva to create true masterpiece landscapes with thread and bobbins. 

Bistra is a master lacemaker who was born and still lives in Sofia, Bulgaria. She graduated in cultural anthropology presenting a thesis on “Lace: cultural technologies and social practices” in which the work of the lacemaker is presented through the eyes of interpretive anthropology, also making it a doctoral topic.

A solid cultural base alongside a solid traditional path, a pinch of necessity due to contingency but above all the need to experiment have led to the development of the technique which is leading her to travel across half of Europe to share it.

I wanted to meet her, get to know her and attend her introductory seminar on the processing of the works she creates, with great appreciation from expert lace makers who are open to new horizons of lace processing.

I deliberately spoke of “introduction” not because Pisancheva is stingy with indications regarding the execution of the work but because being able to express herself with this technique is neither easy nor obvious and is extremely subjective.

There is the need to completely detach ourselves from the rules to which we strictly adhere, to order, to precision, to a certain regularity of workmanship that, especially in the torchon, we are used to follow; leaving ample space for creativity and imagination not separated from the “new” rules and instructions that Bistra generously provides during her lessons.

My personal feeling was that of working alongside a great artist in the moment of the creation of her work who describes and comments on the phases of her work out loud. A macroscopic example that came to mind, as I am a lover of the Impressionists, was like being next to Monet while he painted his famous water lilies and commented on the choice of a certain color and described the brushstroke to create a certain effect.

The result of this experience was the creation of a small “thread painting” that I proudly created following her instructions, the desire to make it known as much as possible in Italy, also through this article, the invitation to come to Rome at the start of the new year for a series of lessons and, why not, a personal exhibition.