The thousand-year-old history of Puy-en-Velay has also been written with a bobbin… Puy lace is an ancestral know-how but which remains in the era of time. This handling, this very special sound when the threads intertwine on the tile have made Puy-en-Velay an important center for hand lace manufacturing. Listed as French intangible cultural heritage, Puy-en-Velay lace is, along with Calais lace and Alençon lace, a marvel of designer know-how.

the lace-making know-how of Puy-en-Velay!

There are skills that must be cherished, preserved, praised! Puy-en-Velay lace is one, like a memory you don't want to let go of. These afternoons spent brooding in the villages where the lacemakers then took out their tiles and settled in the street in the summer. To the sound of the clicking of spindles, chatter, songs...

Some claim that, throughout the Middle Ages, the town of Puy-en-Velay, the departure point for Saint-Jacques-de-Compostelle, which had become a major pilgrimage town, attracted large crowds, including merchants and peddlers. It was the latter who introduced lace to Velay and taught the basics.

Lace can be learned!

The cobbled streets of Puy-en-Velay hide many secrets. There is one that can now be learned. Indeed, the Bobbin lace teaching center perpetuates the lace-making tradition and practice.

If you are feeling creative, the Teaching Center offers different training courses, apprenticeship or discovery courses, to learn or perfect the art of lace. Puy lace is an art, also listed in the Inventory of French Intangible Cultural Heritage.

The Bobbin Lace Teaching Center also offers exhibitions to showcase its works.

38 to 44 rue Raphaël
43000 Le Puy-en-Velay
Calculate my route

THE NATIONAL LACE CONSERVATORY WORKSHOP

It is with the mission of maintaining and perpetuating the know-how of bobbin lace at a level of excellence that the Atelier Conservatoire National de la Dentelle du Puy-en-Velay was created in 1976. It continues to make exist a tradition of high technicality through the development of lace with contemporary designs.

Attached to the National Furniture Administration, the establishment welcomes lacemakers who enrich the national collections and are placed in prestigious places (contemporary art exhibitions, high places of the Republic, etc.). They illustrate the vitality of the art of lace in the 21st century.

visit the workshop:

Opening hours from January 02 to December 31, 2024
Tuesday Open from 14 p.m. to 15:30 p.m.
Wednesday Open from 09 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.
Thursday Open from 14 p.m. to 15:30 p.m.
Open all year, except public holidays.
Tuesdays and Thursdays: 14 p.m. to 15:30 p.m.
Wednesdays: 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

Other slots by reservation during school holidays.
lace-du-puy-en-velay

The Velay gallery of the Crozatier museum presents the lace collections in the exhibition DENTELLES DU PUY? FROM CLICHÉ TO MODERNITY !

This exhibition illustrates how Puy lace, from cheap productions for export to royal pieces, from street models to contemporary creation, from hand to mechanics, has constantly modernized to remain a major player in lace in France today.

Puy lace is not one, but plural. For 400 years, the lace-making center of Haute-Loire has been renewing itself to respond to the crises which have often weakened its existence, and to satisfy the whirlwinds of fashion. Manufacturers, merchants, designers and “the people of lacemakers” have always evolved their practices to adapt to the market.

The Crozatier museum also presents a beautiful collection of lace works and very interesting sample books which you can discover by browsing its aisles.

History of Puy lace

from the legend...

Popular tradition has it that lace was born in Puy-en-Velay under the hands of a young embroiderer, Isabelle Mamour. It was on the occasion of the Great Jubilee of the Annunciation in 1407 that the Bishop of Puy requested the ornament of a mantle for the statue of the Virgin Mary.

Wanting to compose a unique and exceptional work, Isabelle decided to interweave threads into a shuttle and attach the shuttles with pins... obtaining a fine and transparent dress for the black virgin, carried in a procession through the city. She thus created the first lace tile.

to historical reality

According to historians, the origin of lace dates back to the middle of the 15th century. Its commercial growth began in the 16th century when the nobles took up this fashion. Titles of nobility were judged by the volume of lace one wore. In all the houses in the region, women spent their evenings making Puy lace renowned for its finesse and creativity.

The lacemakers worked “on their own”, at home, for a significant financial boost at the time. Wholesalers provided the models and threads and the lace tracing was returned after manufacturing. Due to its exports, lace employed 80.000 people in the 173th century and Le Puy en Velay had XNUMX merchants at that time!

Puy lace and its lacemakers
Luke Olivier

The institution of the blessed

A pious young woman namedAnne-Marie Martel noted in the 1665th century that the lacemakers of Velay devoted themselves body and soul to their know-how and sometimes neglected the education of their children. In XNUMX she created the congregation of the Béates (from Latin beata Blessed) and founded assembly houses in hamlets and villages whose mission was to look after children, ensure their education and train lacemakers.

Today, even if most of the houses of the blessed are abandoned, some can still be visited, such as the assembly house of Loudes.

an appellation for puy lace

This regional industry continued until the 1920s, when the first mechanical lace looms appeared in Velay. In 1931, the Civil Court of Puy-en-Velay sanctioned these local uses and judged that the appellation “PUY LACE” is exclusively reserved for lace made by hand using bobbins handled by the worker.

This provision will serve to designate the quality, ancestral know-how and tradition of bobbin lace from Puy-en-Velay.


lace-du-puy-en-velay
  • The tile : It is a square cushion on which we place all the equipment. On the upper part is the drum; it accommodates the cardboard or model of the pattern to be executed. The glass-headed pins are used to fix the linen thread on the tile and to respect the outline of the lace to be executed.
  • The spindles: Their function is well defined. The vellav spindle is a small turned wooden instrument, 8 to 10 cm long and elongated in shape. The head holds the linen thread when stopped. The spool or spindle is the central part which is used to store the wire; finally, the handle is used to hold and direct the spindle.
  • Pins: They are used to stop the thread in order to follow the design stitched on the cardboard. They therefore hold the wire crossings in place. They are more or less fine depending on the size of the thread. In the past, they were made of copper or brass because these materials did not rust and did not stain the lace. Then they were made of stainless steel with a multi-colored glass head, and today this is the most common model.
  • The box : He's the boss. The boxes are the supports for the drawn models grouped in sheets of approximately 10 models and classified by degrees of difficulty.
lace-du-puy

What is raw material?

Lace is made with silk thread, wool, gold or silver thread but especially with linen or cotton thread.

LACE EDUCATION CENTER

Opening hours from January 01 to December 31, 2024
Monday Open
Tuesday Open
Wednesday Open
Thursday Open
Friday Open
Saturday Open
Sunday Open
Monday to Friday: 9 a.m. – 17:30 p.m.
Saturday: 9:30 a.m. – 16:30 p.m. (July and August: 9:30 a.m. – 18 p.m.)

Showroom hours:
Monday to Friday from 9:00 to 17h
Saturday 9 a.m. to 30 p.m.
(in July and August Monday to Friday 9:30 a.m. – 18 p.m.)
Sunday and public holidays by reservation
only (10 people or more): price €3,50
• Closed: 1/05, 14/07, 15/08, 1/11, 11/11 and 25/12.

PRACTICAL TIPS

Where to buy Puy lace?

The shop at the Fuseaux Lace Teaching Center offers lace creations. Many downtown boutiques and souvenir shops also carry them.

Who invented lace?

Tradition has it that lace was born in Puy-en-Velay under the hands of a young embroiderer, Isabelle Mamour.

Is Puy lace certified?

Since June 2015, Puy-en-Velay lace has benefited from an IGP, protected geographical indication.

Was this content useful to you?