Main areas of work related to the Convention:
“Lace in Flanders” (Kant in Vlaanderen) treasures lace and lacemaking as an important intangible cultural heritage for Flanders, Europe and the World. The art of lacemaking is a valued craft with a long and important textile and social history. Starting simultaneously in Flanders and Italy in the early 16th C the craft has been passed down through the generations and has been, and still is constantly updated by designers and lacemakers . Despite industrialisation in the 19th Century this handcraft has spread throughout the world, and is still practised by thousands of lacemakers in many countries.
“Lace in Flanders” encourages and co-ordinates the study and the practice of all types of bobbin and needle lace, both traditional and contemporary. It stimulates contacts between lacemakers in Flanders and abroad in order to maintain and spread the old traditions, and to encourage contemporary creations.
According to its constitution “Lace in Flanders” aims to promote and co-ordinate the study, practice, and technical quality of bobbin and needle lace and related techniques, in both traditional and contemporary art creations.
Workgroups composed of highly motivated volunteers are active for the benefit of “Lace in Flanders”, its membership and stakeholders. To obtain its goals “Lace in Flanders” organises the following activities in both Flanders and abroad, covering a wide variety of topics concerning this valuable craft.
- History of lace and Lacemaking: “Lace in Flanders” maintains contacts with universities, research centres and lace experts in Flanders and abroad , aiming at extensive studies appertaining to lace history, and the spreading of the craft in various regions of the world. Reports of the research are published in a quarterly magazine ‘Filum’ which is sent to members.
The Organisation has a library, for the use of its members and researchers, with a large number of books and magazines relating to lace, lacemaking and other related topics.
- Education and Networking: “Lace in Flanders” is in contact with formal and non-formal educational establishments in order to revitalise the various aspects of the cultural heritage of lace. Lace Organisations are encouraged to provide courses and workshops for both adults and young people in order to spread the knowledge of the various and famous old Flemish lace techniques. Training programs in lace making techniques are organised for teachers, to guarantee the quality of the education provided.
Identification and conservation: many individuals, groups, churches and convents in Flanders own collections of valuable laces. “Lace in Flanders” is making a concerted effort to trace these collections, to support the owners with identification, cataloguing and providing information on storage, conservation and restoration.
- Contemporary Lace: Famous artists in contemporary lace are employed to lead workshops, courses and Lectures. Projects for contemporary lace design are provided to maximize the opportunity for international exchange and collaboration. Exhibitions of new creations are organised and have been staged not only in Belgium, but also in Barcelona, Spain; Kiskunhalas, Hungary; Minsk, Belarus; Vianen, The Netherlands and Cologne, Germany.
- Lace Museum: “Lace in Flanders” is managing its own Lace Museum in Sint-Truiden. The Museum was opened in 1970 in the historical building owned by the Ursaline Sisters. The Sisters have had a tradition of lace education for over a hundred years. In order to continue this tradition, and on request of the sisters “Lace in Flanders” provides lace education and workshops in this historical building. The museums display decorative lace pieces designed and executed by the sisters of the convent during the period of the revivs of lacemaking in the 1960s and 1970s.
- Communication: The journal ‘Filum’ is published four times a year containing many articles about the history of different types of lace and lace in other countries.
The non profit organisation “Lace in Flanders” (Kant in Vlaanderen) was founded in 1997 with the purpose of safeguarding the craft of needle and bobbin lace making and related techniques. The association has officially been acknowledged by the Flemish Government as a representative for lace and the craft of lace making and as such acts as its spokesperson.
"Lace in Flanders" is an organisation being led by highly motivated volunteers, mainly (but not exclusively) women, driven by a will to preserve this precious and historic tradition.
The Organization takes measures, through formal and informal education, to ensure the continuation and revitalisation of all aspects of lace and lace making, this includes identification, documentation, historical research, storage, preservation, conservation and promotion.
Needle and bobbin lace making, and various related techniques, are traditional crafts which have been passed on from generation to generation. The craft of lace making in Flanders has been constantly recreated by communities and groups in response to their environment, and their historical background, and provides them with a sense of identity and continuity, thus promoting respect for cultural diversity and human creativity.
‘Lace in Flanders’ is coordinating, optimising and stimulating many initiatives concerning the endangered intangible cultural heritage of needle- and bobbin lace making and the various related techniques. The organisation encompasses the academies, schools, centres, local organisations, and individuals interested in the traditional craft of lace making and its wide variety of aspects.
The organisation has competence to support the efforts which need to be made regarding the scientific studies of lacemaking and the improvement of the quality of the working techniques. It supports the academies, schools and associations promotes their activities at home and abroad.
“Lace in Flanders” organises exhibitions at home and abroad as well as lace contests for youth and adults for the promotion of lace as a creative skill. It organises workshops and lectures. Studies and research with respect to lace are supported and encouraged. Members and stakeholders are informed through the quarterly bulletin “FILUM”.
“Lace in Flanders” has officially been acknowledged by the Flemisch Government as a representative organisation for the intangible cultural heritage of lace, lace making and related techniques.
Safeguarding programmes are the core business of the organisation. Therefore “Lace in Flanders” co-operates with museums (c), experts (b), national (a), and international (d) organisations.
a) “Lace in Flanders”” operates in close contact with FARO. Flemish interface centre for cultural heritag (FARO. Vlaams steunpunt voor cultureel erfgoed vzw).
“Lace in Flanders” participates in national events such as ‘Erfgoeddag’ (Heritage day)
“Lace in Flanders” collaborates with the education department of the Flemish Government in order to set up programs for lace making courses for teachers in formal and non formal education.
“Lace in Flanders” co-operates with church communities, convents and private collectors of lace and advises them about storage conservation and cataloguing.
“Lace in Flanders” organises demonstrations with practitioners in order to promote the intangible cultural heritage of lace. “Lace in Flanders” organises also seminars for lace schools, organisations, groups and individual practitioners of the craft.
Information and news-letters are sent to stakeholders by e-mail.
b)“Lace in Flanders” has close contacts with experts from lace, textile and fashion museums such as Musea Brugge; Bruges, Vlasmuseum, Kortrijk (Flax museum Courtrai), Lace and Costume Museum, Brussels; MOMU, Antwerp.
c) “Lace in Flanders” has set up projects with museums in Belgium:
- National Flax and Linen Museum
- International Lace Contest for adults: ‘Linum’ 2004
- International Lace Contest for youth : ‘In space’ 2007
- Brugge Museum
- Seminar : Lace History, Lace as inspiration for design
d) “Lace in Flanders” has also set up projects with similar organisations in European Countries:
- Generalitat de Catalunya: Lace exhibition with contemporary lace from artists in Flanders (exchange program with the University of Barcelona)
-“Lace in Flanders” is in contact the centre for needle lace making in Kiskunhallas, Hungary
- LOKK - National Lace Organisation in the Netherlands)
- Forum Alte Spitze - Germany (Forum for Vintage Laces)
- “Lace in Flanders” is in contact with the Catalan Association of Lace makers and aims at organising an exchange program between lace makers of both regions, Flanders and Catalunia.