Lazy days of summer, as the song says, have been few and far between this year in Belgium. Rains and cold have been the norm, but the Lace Days beginning today are happy and warm. Every year in August for four days, groups from around West Flanders come to the Halve Maan (Half Moon Brewery) and display their lace and do lace on their pillows for all tourists and locals alike. The lace displays, traditional and modern, are really quite awesome! Many, many people come and I am sure they enjoy one of the myriad Belgian beers after touring the lace exhibitions. The exhibition seems to get bigger every year; three floors of displays.
The exhibition begins with an evening reception, by invitation only, for all the groups displaying lace. Sisters rarely go out at night so I did not attend. One lace group is staying here at the Begijnhof and I was invited to demonstrate/sit with their group and do lace. This morning I upped my umbrella, carried my lace pillow safely protected in its rainproof bag, dodged a few hearty tourists also with rain gear and umbrellas and arrived at the brewery in the nearby plein/square and climbed to the second floor to my chair and pillow stand. A sister doing lace is of interest I guess so many people stop and ask me questions and then when it becomes obvious I am not Belgian, the questions continue. Today a journalist came by and took my photo and interviewed me, a very respectful young man with son in tow. We will see if I make it to the paper. Lace ladies are a wonderfully friendly and generous group the world around. Each wants to help you learn more about your craft and materials so it is a delightful atmosphere in which to work. I admit I lost my place once or twice in my pattern but no glaring errors to be ripped out so that was a plus. One lady stopped and commented how lace was contemplative and perfect for nuns. She gets it!