Designer: Constantinos Panayi
Embroidery is a symmetrical and harmonic, geometric or free pattern or representation made by hand on fabric using a needle or crocheting needle and thread or woven on a loom. From ancient times, embroidery was considered women’s work and was developed as a result of mankind’s need for nicer clothing and beautiful objects for daily use. The oldest embroidery known is from 15th century BC Egypt, a beautiful piece with colourful, symmetrical stitching. The art of embroidery particularly developed in the Renaissance period, especially in Venice, Genoa and Milan. In the Hellenic world there is a rich tradition of embroidery from the Homeric period. In Greece and in Cyprus, many women from the countryside are involved in embroidery, either on a professional basis or to meet the needs of their own homes, making embroidery one of the most significant contributions to our local art. Lefkara lace (lefkaritika) is renowned not only in Cyprus but abroad; the lace is characterised by the richness and variety of the patterns and it has very recently been included on the UNESCO World Heritage list. Leonardo da Vinci was a great admirer of Lefkara lace and, when he visited Lefkara village, he took a lefkaritiko cloth and donated it to the Duomo di Milano cathedral and it still adorns the main altar to date. The famous needle lace “fervoulite,” from Karavas, is well known, as are “pipilles” and “krosiedes,” the most common type of embroidery in many villages in Cyprus. The “fithkiotika” and “lefkonitziatika” multi-coloured laces are also well known, created when the cloth is woven on the loom. Unfortunately, however, with industrial development this local handicraft, that makes our lives so beautiful, is dying out.