It was almost 6 o’clock in the afternoon, and while I was walking around the narrow streets of Offida, a small Italian village in the Marche Region, an illuminated shop window in a small street suddenly called my attention. There was an old lady inside making Bobbin laces and she stared at us with curiosity. My instinct said that I had to go inside, since I felt that the old lady had a lot of interesting things to talk me about.

Offida - Bobbin laces

It was a really small shop that seemed like a lobby of a house, and the walls were decorated with framed Bobbin laces, some of them seemingly invaluable. This was Rosina’s tiny kingdom, where Rosina, an 80 year old woman has been making Bobbin laces, a kind of lace typical of this region, since she was 10.

Rosina working with Bobbin Laces in Offida

Proud of her work, she told me that it is very hard to learn working well with Bobbin lace, and although she has been doing it work for 70 years, she wouldn’t be able to make many of the pieces exhibited in her studio. She told me that her grandmother also had a small shop and the money her grandmother gained by selling these laces was enough to provide for the whole family, not like nowadays.

Bracelets and earrings made with Bobbin laces

She also told me in a somewhat sad voice that she doesn’t have any daughters, only sons, and they have not got married. Hence, she can’t pass the secrets to another member of the family. The cultural tradition in our family of making Bobbin laces in Offida will die out with me – she said in a resigned voice.

Bobbin Laces - Offida

Afterwards, she grabbed an album that contains a photo of all the Bobbin laces made by herself, and she explained how long it took to make the different items. She showed me a black shawl that she had been working on for 4 years, the value of which is too high to be solved.

Black shawl of Bobbin lace

Embroidery made with Bobbin laces

Rosina brought me back in time to my childhood, when I was regularly observing my grandmother, while she was embroidering. It’s a shame that little by little many of these cultural traditions disappear, and it’s a privilege and honor to have the possibility of listening to histories told by people like Rosina.

In the end, I leave you an interview video that I grabbed, where Rosina tells us about her life and the cultural tradition of Bobbin laces in Offida.

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