CECOP – CICOPA Europe, The European confederation of industrial and service cooperatives published the below article about the “Koperattiva Ghawdxija tal-Bizzilla u Artigjanat”
The “Koperattiva Ghawdxija tal-Bizzilla u Artigjanat”, is a cooperative that consists of 16 members, who are all women. They are lace-makers, living in Gozo, and provide the local market with high quality hand-made lace, which is usually sold in shops for tourists.
The women not only earn an income from their hand-made lace they sell, but also get psychological and physical health benefits, including stress reduction. Hand-made lace can be therapeutic and enhances relaxation.
The women’s cooperative was set up in Gozo in 1996 with the purpose of maintaining the name and the standard of real Maltese lace. Over the past decade, this lace co-operative has built up a personnel composed of the best lace-makers in Gozo. All of them have graduated from a course which is run by the Lacemaking Programme at the University of Gozo Campus.
The cooperative specializes in individual projects made to order and designs that are tailored to the customers’ tastes. The size of the items produced varies from small doilies, table mats of all shapes and sizes to large table-cloths, silk shawls, veils in white or black, wedding dresses, flounces for liturgical vestments and church laces, amongst other products.
Besides lace-making, the cooperative exhibits a lace collection, with modern and new designs, which have been produced using a traditional technique. The cooperative also facilitates contact with other lace-makers from abroad, so that they can share their experiences and designs. It is also keeping the lace-making trade alive and the trade is being passed from one generation to another.
The members are ageing and in the near future they hope to be able to launch a campaign to arouse interest amongst young people to encourage them to become members of the cooperative. To date, the young people are not very interested in lace and nor do they have the time to work on it. The cooperative members are now also thinking about getting children involved in lace-making.
For more information, please visit: www.malteselace.eu/Lace_Coop/Lace_Coop.html