Petit motif (2006-01-01) by AlenconMobilier National, Manufacture des Gobelins, de Beauvais, de la Savonnerie
The Alençon stitch is a lace made by hand with a needle in linen or cotton thread.
The art of lacemaking was established in the Alençon region from 1665 onwards, under Louis XIV, thanks to Colbert's initiative to set up factories in the kingdom. This age-old technique was first practised by self-employed craftswomen, then by nuns, and in a lacemaking school supported by the Alençon Chamber of Commerce. It was passed on in a workshop based in Alençon (the Orne department), which has been affiliated with the Mobilier National since 1976.
>> Move around in the image using the arrows and your mouse to visit the workshop!
Petit motif (2001-01-01) by AlenconMobilier National, Manufacture des Gobelins, de Beauvais, de la Savonnerie
Unlike other French lace techniques, the Alençon stitch can only be done by hand.
It involves putting together an almost invisible combination of very small elements in ten successive steps.
Petit motif (2011-01-01) by AlenconMobilier National, Manufacture des Gobelins, de Beauvais, de la Savonnerie
Every lacemaker learns all of these steps in the course of her training, which is based on oral transmission and practical teaching.
Petit motif (1993-01-01) by AlenconMobilier National, Manufacture des Gobelins, de Beauvais, de la Savonnerie
The wealth of this expert knowledge led to the inclusion of the Alençon stitch on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity (UNESCO) in November 2010.
Mobilier national, département des collections - Muriel Barbier