The third session of an international conference on lace was held in Gozo over the weekend. This conference is part of a Leonardo da Vinci programme under the European Commission’s Lifelong Learning Programme.
The Wistin Camilleri Gozo Centre for Arts and Crafts (GCAC) is participating in this project together with other institutions coming from Belgium, Italy, Germany, Spain and Slovenia. Malta is thus being represented in a project which is intended to compare different methods and techniques, used by different cultures, within the participating countries with special reference given to the insertion of lace in fashion design up to the times of World War I. In fact the project also includes the reconstruction of old garments with hand made lace insertions. Another objective of this project is that of the development of a colour coded design scheme which will result in the standardisation of lace designs originating from different countries. Thus these designs will be more easily deciphered and will allow for the works to be executed in an identical manner.
Twenty-eight participants representing the European countries partners in this project, attended for this conference. They joined their Gozitan counterparts comprising lace teachers and participants who attend courses at the GCAC, during a short visit to Gozo. Discussions focused on matters relating to Lace – wealth for the rich, blessing for the poor while details regarding the progress achieved up to now in the creation of the colour coding design scheme, were also relayed at this meeting.
The Hon. Giovanna Debono, Minister for Gozo, addressed all the participants as she inaugurated an exhibition of lace items executed by them. The Minister explained how such events give strength to the investment effected through the building of a new extension to the GCAC. The added facilities provided through this project are permitting more Gozitans of all ages to participate in the various courses organised at the centre. Moreover, these facilities, together with the commitment and endeavours of all those involved, are resulting in added tools with which the GCAC is generating a creative and innovative activity, besides fostering intercultural exchanges. Thus, besides serving as an instrument through which old traditional crafts are kept alive, it is also proving to be a means by which modern methods are techniques are being promoted. This in turn results in better education and vocational training for the benefit of human resources on Gozo. A fashion show featuring Gozitan models wearing garments with hand-made lace insertion was also organised for the occasion.
Meanwhile, a group of students who attend courses at the GCAC have recently returned from a short visit to Temse in Belgium. They were accompanied by Mr Joseph Attard and Mr Charlie Camilleri, respectively Head of school and teacher at the GCAC. This signified an exchange visit following a short sojourn in Gozo by a group from Artofil School in Belgium.
During this exchange trip the Gozitan group visited the Textile Department within the Art Academy of Temse where Mr Camilleri delivered lessons on Papier Mache. This subject has been missing from the Academy’s programme for the past 50 years. They also visited the Textiles Department within the same Academy, which is renowned for its expertise and particular techniques used in the manufacture of products from sheep’s wool.
As a result of this visit to Belgium, the Heads of the Belgian Academy and the Gozitan Centre agreed that an exchange programme is to be set-up in collaboration with the Ministry for Gozo. Through this programme, students from both centres, will be given further opportunities to learn and develop their artistic talents through sharing of expertise, techniques and suggestions. This will also contribute towards innovative vocational training.