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Centre for the preservation of narrow-knit lacing, Omodos

The idea for the creation of the Centre belongs to the Cyprus Handicraft Services of the Ministry of Commerce, Industry, and Tourism.

The Service, in collaboration with the Church Committee and the Community Council of Omodos, tracked down, studied, and recorded the way of making the narrow-knit lace and organised a Centre for the Preservation of Omodos’s narrow-knit lace (“pipila”).

The importance of founding the Centre is great. It is a part of a remarkable collection of lace specimens and aims to preserve traditional folkloric art / craft, the making of lace, and our cultural and historical heritage and to promote to the young -especially the young women – the contribution of Omodos’s women to the development of this type of home-made handicraft.

It is not only a traditional craft, passed from mother to daughter and from grandmother to granddaughter, it is also a kind of artistic sensitivity of the cultural tradition, a style that is deeply rooted in the souls of Omodos’s women.

Today, the -newly formed -Centre for the Preservation of narrow-knit lacing is housed in an oblong room of the Monastery’s north wing, which was previously used a cell for the monks. Its operation started some time ago, both locals and foreigners being able to visit it and admire the famous narrow-knit laces.

Some remarkable items of narrow-knit lacing are kept in the Centre, more than a hundred of them, which are only a part of the rich collection of specimens that the woman of Omodos has, intending to give them to her children and grandchildren.

The contribution of the country women of Omodos

The woman of Omodos received the Centre’s creation and the news about it with great love, eagerness, and pride; most of these women (the so-called “pipillarenes”) offered part of their creation, which they took out of their cabinets where they kept them so as to give to their children as marriage portion, either for free or as a loan.

Each of them offered different designs and sizes so that the showroom would be more beautiful and exuberant.

Surely, the countrywomen of Omodos are praiseworthy and deserve warm-hearted congratulations for their vivid interest and the love that they showed for the creation of the “Centre for the Preservation of narrow-knit lacing”.

The housewives of Omodos, apart from housekeeping and the hard work they offer -next to their husbands -in the vines, spend their free time making the handmade “pipila”.

So, when one is visiting Omodos, that one will observe the village’s women -formerly both young and old, now mostly the old ones – gathering, where there is sunshine during the winter and in the most shadowy part of the neighbourhood in the summer, with a needle in one hand so as to make the renowned, traditional narrow-knit lace.

In this way they contribute to the improvement and completion of the country family’s needlework, offering their beautiful, handmade, embroideries to the visitors.

Even today several women, more than 60 of them, use the artistry that characterises them and their industriousness, and -I believe -will continue to make these one-of-a-kind works of folkloric art in the future.

However, we invite today’s generation -especially the young women -to start learning how to make the narrow-knit lace that the older generations created and bequeathed to them.

This is why training young women is of the outmost importance. Our European course, the challenges of our times, and the necessity of harmonising the countrywoman of Cyprus with the Common Agricultural Policy make the intensive preservation and revival of folkloric tradition and art necessary.

Such training takes place through the programs of Cyprus Handicraft Services (of the Ministry of Commerce, Industry, and Tourism) and of the Agricultural Home Economics (Department of Agriculture).

At the same time, it is believed that the research of Omodos’s lacing -and of Cyprus’s lace in general -must begin being done by expert researchers and historians, becoming a part of a wider research on the recent material civilisation.

Only then we can move forward, if we return to our homeland’s tradition and experience its genuine characteristics.

Editing of text: Panayiotis Socratous

Secretary of ecclesiastical committee

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