September 2013 – I have just returned from an amazing visit to Italy. I was invited to attend Bolsena Ricama in Bolsena, which is about 20 miles from Orvieto. When I googled it and saw that it was so close to Orvieto, I immediately accepted the invitation. Paula Bowen, who invited me, is Irish Italian and she and her husband Peter were the perfect hosts. Paula collected me from the Fiumicino airport and we did a quick whiz around Rome. The following day we did a proper tour of Rome again and saw all the key spots such as the Spanish Steps and a Roman Centurian on them, a famous fountain, Vatican City etc. We then returned to Sutri, 1 hour north of Rome where Paula lives and she showed me a magnificient ampitheatre in downtown Sutri which was built 3000 BC!!!!
Bolsena is the home place of Maria Vittoria Ovidi, who revived Orvieto Crochet lace in the 1970s. Maria V has been holding this weekend biannually since 1995. It was a beautiful venue for the weekend, which consisted of lace artifacts being displayed in various venues throughout the town. She commissioned a Polish Artist- Nespoon, to do lace art paintings at the entrances to each of the venues. Two Honiton bobbin lace makers Shirley and Mary from Honiton, UK, were staying in the same hotel as me and were displaying their lace veils and demonstrating in the same venue – a convent beside St Christina’s Cathedral. Another lace expert, Patricia Girolami, who was originally from the UK, but had been living in Italy for 22 years, was also staying in the same hotel. When she heard that I wanted to see Orvieto Cathedral and the lace makers on Lago Trasimeno, she said she lived in that area and would take me there! I was overjoyed, as I was feeling in the dark – coming to Italy to research Orvieto Lace, but not knowing how I could do it! Patricia also told me of another group that specialized in Punto d’Irlanda in Tuoro, on the shores of Lago Trasimeno. I hadn’t known about this third group. She later told me about other groups that make Merletto Orvieto, so I have to return in the future!:)
The Convent in Bolsena where we displayed our laces each day.
An Antique piece of Orvieto Lace, which was inspired by the piece work of Irish Crochet and by the sculptures on Orvieto Cathedral. It differs from Irish Crochet in the way the net background is ironed, giving it a 3 dimensional effect.
Ampitheatre 3000 BC in Sutri, where Paula Bowen lives. One hour North of Rome.
Nespoon and Mary Wardell at Nespoon’s painted Lace creation in Square in Bolsena.
Paula Bowen, my guide and hostess, while I was in Bolsena.
Máire and Paula at Paula’s home in Sutri.
1st prize at Bolsena Ricama in Honiton Bobbin Lace by Shirley
This beautiful piece of modern Orvieto Lace got second prize in a competiton on The Tree of Life.
Allessandra working on a fan in Orvieto Irish Crochet Lace. Allessandra learned from her aunt, who is the last surviving member of Ars Wetana.
Wedding dress in Orvieto Lace worked by Allessandra Polleggioni and her aunt who is the last surviving member of Ars Wetana. They spent two and a half years working on the dress!
Maria Vittoria Ovidi and Máire. Maria V revived Merletto Orvieto in the 1970s.
and is the hostess/ organiser of Bolsena Ricama.
Máire and Helene Laterre in Bolsena. Helene has become a regular student at Clones Lace Workshops and in June 2013, she taught part time. She has agreed to teach Picot Bigouden next year on a part time basis:)
Pesco Centre in Tuoro, where crocheters meet and sell their Punto d’Irlanda.
Some of the women watching Máire demonstrating her Clones knot in Tuoro.
Isola Maggiore on Lago Trasimeno, where the Punto d’Irlanda has been crocheted since 1905.
Anna Gabbellini who crochets and sells Merletto Isola Maggiore – Il Merletto a Punto Irlanda, – chatting to Patricia Girolami.
Máire demonstrating the Clones knot to Anna.
Máire and Patricia leaving Isola Maggiore, after a wonderful visit to the Island:)
Molto Grazzie Patricia!:)