Interview: Julia Evseeva, Director of the Museum of Lace, Vologda, Russia

With the 2nd International Lace Festival “Vita Lace” starting on June 26th, LaceNews is most honored to talk with the Vologda Museum of Lace director, Julia Evseeva.

LaceNews:  Thank you so much for the opportunity to talk, and congratulations on the 2nd Vologda Lace Festival! Do you have a plan to hold future events at regular intervals? It has been three years since the First Festival.  How many people attended the first Festival, and how many do you expect this year?
Julia: Our lace festival is to be held once in three years. Surely, we understand, it is rather big interval. Now we are thinking to organize it every two years. This year on 26-28th June there will be the II International Lace Festival. The first one was in June, 2011. It was a joint festival devoted to lace and flax as well. There were about 500 registered participants of the first event and about 1000 guests additionally. This year the situation is almost the same. But mostly guests from more regions of Russia are expected.

LaceNews: Please, tell us something about the Vologda Museum of Lace.  How was this concept developed?  Is it the success you hoped it would be?
Julia: The Vologda Museum of Lace was opened in 2010. It is one of the newest museums in Russia. It took about 4.5 years to restore the building of the future museum and create the exposition and everything inside. Our museum is devoted to the most famous handicraft of the Vologda region – art of lace-making. Among all Russian lace-making centers Vologda is notable for its large-scale lace items and bright artistic images. Vologda lace became a symbol of all Russian lace long ago. The Museum of Lace is situated in the historical centre of Vologda nearby the Vologda Kremlin. It occupies two-storeyed building constructed in the first half of the XIXth century. The main attraction of the museum is its central exposition consisted of eight big halls and gala gallery. There the best lace items are shown: elegant clothes, delicate covers, curtains, tablecloths. They look like real lace pictures with various plots and characters. In the museum one can see the biggest lace snowflake in the world 3 m in diameter or fairy-tale birds of human height. There are also unique lace items with soviet symbols and  such  images like tractors, airplanes and parachutes created in lace that tell about time of fast development of industries.

LaceNews: Does the museum concentrate on lace only from Vologda, or do you have exhibitions from other lacemaking areas in Russia? How about lace from other countries?
Julia: The Museum of Lace organizes new exhibitions additionally every three months. And coming to the museum you can get acquainted not only with Vologda lace but also with some European lace handicraft – there were French, Italian and Croatian lace exhibitions and lace from Denmark and Finland is in turn! The Museum offers various excursions for children and adults and with demonstration how to make lace as well! The lace-maker can show and explain to visitors how the Vologda lace is born and you also can try to do it and feel like a lace-maker.  Our museum souvenir-shop and a lace café are also available for the visitors. They are designed in a modern style like the whole museum and have the same unique atmosphere of touching to beauty and fashion. And yes, the Vologda museum is one of the biggest among the lace galleries in the world. You won’t find anything alike in Russian capital cities – Moscow or St. Petersburg.

LaceNews: Can you please tell us something about yourself as the museum director?
Julia: I am the head of the museum from the very beginning. I worked on its project together with other museum workers (this work was started in 2006). I am not a lace-maker but I love lace with all my heart. Lace-making is some kind of a miracle for me and may be that is why I do not start learning how to weave lace myself. But I am going to be a lace-making student, I do not loose hope!

LaceNews: We know that lacemaking in Russia is very important,  however we do not know much about the activities themselves. Of course the Snezhinka factory is famous, but are there organizations for the amateur lacemaker? Are there ‘lace days’ like those held in Europe where lacemakers demonstrate to the public?  Are there well known blogs or discussion groups on the internet for lacemakers?
Julia: There are organizations of amateur lace-makers in Russia, mostly these are associations. But this movement when lace-makers are united some how still does not develop in Russia. The Museum of Lace in Vologda is doing this work as well – we try to organize our lace-makers in the Vologda Region.

LaceNews: What do you see in the future for Russian lace?
Julia: In Russia there are some firms and workshops that produced lace made by hand. They work with difficulty from time to time. It depends on the regions. They will be able to work and develop in the future if they have support from the government as most of them have now. It is a big question but as for me I do not want handmade lace can be seen  in the museums only. It should be alive!

LaceNews:  Thank you again for the opportunity to talk, and the entire lacemaking community wishes you great success with the festival!
Julia:  Thank you for your questions!

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2 Responses to Interview: Julia Evseeva, Director of the Museum of Lace, Vologda, Russia

  1. Joepie says:

    A thoughtful and thought provoking interview. It makes me realise how lucky we are with our clubs, societies and guilds.

  2. Janis Savage says:

    Congratulations to Vologda on building the Museum of Lace and the Lace
    Festival. The chairlady of our Pretoria Lace Guild is currently on a lace tour to the Vologda Festival and I can’t wait for her return to hear all about it.

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