This handmade doily worked in Idrija lace represents a longstanding tradition in the cultural heritage of Slovenia. Located in western Slovenia, Idrija, famous for the second largest mercury mine in the world, operational for over 500 years before it ceased operation in 1994-1995, is also a renowned lacemaking centre. It is thought foreign workers and their families from Germany and Czechoslovakia brought with them handcraft skills which the wives used to supplement low wages, consequently beginning a tradition in lacemaking that has survived for over 300 years.
Until the beginning of the 20th century, the Church was the greatest consumer of Idrija lace. However, the Ministry of Trade in Vienna understood the cultural significance of lacemaking and established the Idrija Lace School which has been operating continuously since 1876. Lacemaking is included in the curriculum and the school also offers adult education classes.
The importance of lacemaking in the cultural life of Slovenia is recognised by the annual Idrija Lace Festival which attracts large crowds and includes many contributors, exhibitions and competitions designed to showcase artistic and technically accomplished pieces.
Today, the name 'Idrija Lace' is a registered trademark representing over 300 years of Slovenian history, tradition and creativity. Idrija lacemakers are gaining worldwide recognition as outstanding practitioners of their craft and lacemaking is now becoming popular in Slovenian towns that had no previous tradition of lacemaking.
Krivec, Rajmund. Idrija: A heritage of mercury mining and lace making, www.-fl.ijs.si, 2007 retrieved 15/11/2010
Skaarhog, Kaspar. Idrija lace - beauty created with needle, bobbin and thread,, www.slovenia.si, 2009, retrieved 15/11/2010
Idirja lace, A history written in thread, www.muzej-idrija-cerkno.si/razstava/sprehod-eng, retrieved 15/11/2010
W. Circosta 2010