Dentelle de notre temps




Dentelles de Notre Temps: Elena Holéczyova, Tchécoslovaquie

by Pavol Michalides, 1973, Dessain et Tolra, Paris. ISBN 2-249-27025-2

This book describes the background and work of Slovak art lace maker Elena Holéczova. It includes an “Hommage” chapter in French (15 pages and I confess I haven’t read it all) followed by 1½ pages of summary in English. The major part of the book is devoted to illustrations in black-and-white or colour of Elena’s unbelievable output of art lace. Born in 1906, she studied in the School of Fine Arts and Handicrafts in Prague, graduating in 1926. Her creativity was astounding: birds, butterflies, flowers, people, buildings are juxtaposed, sometimes as individual items and sometimes, perhaps more frequently, connected by ground and edgings to form panels. The largest of these is said to be 300×300 cm!

It is obviously not an instruction book, but absolutely inspiring. I have it from the Australian Lace Guild NSW Branch library and would recommend it to other branches.

I found it particularly interesting as the Powerhouse Lace Study Centre has on display a couple of small pieces “Studies for Popluska” made by this artist in 1977, though unfortunately no image of the completed work seems to be available online. Because of its presence in the collection, information is available on the Powerhouse website at

where Rosemary Shepherd describes the background of the art lace movement leading into Elena’s work.

Elena was not only a remarkable lacemaker, but also a playwright, stage, costume and textile designer, film script writer and actor. Despite all these additional activities, she was largely responsible for the revival and evolution of Slovak folk lace into creative art lace.