Special Event: Tuesday 5 August

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Special event: Dr Consiglia Azzopardi, “From Craft, to Industry, to Art”.

7.30 pm Tuesday 5th of August at the Maltese Community Centre, Parkville

Dr Consiglia Azzopardi was born in Għarb, Gozo in 1946. She learnt Maltese bobbin-lace as a child, at home from relatives, and from the neighbourhood where the crafts were widely practiced on doorsteps, in alleys and in sheltered street corners.  ‘Bizzilla’ – as it is known in Maltese – became her favourite hobby until she graduated as a Primary school Teacher and then started to teach lace-making courses run during the summer holidays.

Teaching lace-making at the Girls’ Trade School, and later at the Gozo School of Arts, brought Consiglia into contact with lace-makers from the different villages in Gozo and Malta, who produced ‘pricking patterns’ from all over the Island.  Since 1995, she has been teaching Maltese lace at the University of Malta Gozo Campus. During this time she instigated a Certificate and a Diploma course under the auspices of the University. This created an opportunity to start collecting material and information, before it was too late, at a time when the lace industry was declining rapidly.

Meanwhile, a study of the history of Maltese Lace was undertaken.  At the University of Malta, she read for an M.Phil degree with the theme ‘Antique Maltese lace of the Time of the Knights 1530 – 1798’, and later for a Ph.D. researched ‘Maltese Lace of the 19th and 20th Centuries’.  From these studies, several stages in the development of Maltese Lace-making techniques were discovered. A profile of the promoters responsible for such renovation was formulated, and the main artists working in the field were identified. The role of the lace merchants and the network of trade in Maltese lace were revealed. All aspects were entrapped in the political, social and cultural life of Malta with special emphasis on Gozo.

Consiglia is the author of three books about Maltese lace making, namely:

Gozo Lace: An Introduction,

Gozo Lace Selection of Designs by Diacono, and

L-Istorja tal-Bizzilla fil-Gzejjer Maltin.

Her lecture is titled ‘From Craft, to Industry, to Art’

Dr Azzopardi will be speaking about the history of Maltese Lace-making.  She will discuss the tools of the trade and the various patterns used. She will concentrate mainly on 19th Century lace-making styles, greatly promoted in Gozo.  These include motifs in a Moorish design, called ‘Festuni’.  Strips of a sequence of these motifs, usually constructed in a round shape, may be sewn together to form all sorts of shawls, stoles, tops, bedcovers, etc.

The most common design of motifs are ‘star’, ‘flower’, ‘sun’, ‘palm’, ‘moski’, and the most important ‘Maltese Cross’.

Dr Azzopardi will be displaying some of her works on the evening.


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