Alençon Lace, a UNESCO Immaterial Cultural Heritage Project

In 2020, this technique is celebrating its 10th anniversary of being listed in UNESCO's intangible cultural heritage, looking back on its history and its designs.

By Mobilier National, Manufacture des Gobelins, de Beauvais, de la Savonnerie

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.

Credits: Story

Mobilier national, département des collections - Muriel Barbier

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
Google apps