Archeologist and Art Historian, Museum for Arts and Crafts, Zagreb
ČIPKE NAŠE – DRAGULJI NAŠI : ZLATA ŠUFFLAY I POČECI AUTORSKOG OBLIKOVANJA ČIPKE U HRVATSKOJ
OUR LACES – OUR JEWELS: ZLATA SUFFLAY AND THE BEGINNINGS OF ARTISTIC LACE DESIGN IN CROATIA
Journal 4/5/2008/2009 (Museum of Applied Art), pages 73-84
746.2(497.5) ; 746.2:929 Šuflej 3.
Abstract (original language):
Autorica u članku daje prikaz životnog puta i rada Zlate Šufllay, prve hrvatske dizajnerice autorskih nacrta za čipke. U tekstu je opisan njen rad na mjestu učiteljice i voditeljice čipkarskih tečaja u Lepoglavi i u Varaždinskim Toplicama, potom rad na mjestu kustosice zbirke tekstila u Muzeju
Key words: (original language)
primijenjena umjetnost, tekstil, čipkarstvo, čipka na batiće, Lepoglava, Varaždinske Toplice, Muzej za umjetnost i obrt, Zagreb, dizajn
There are only few titles in Croatian art history which treat applied art women artists – in particular when textile applied art is concerned. Lace is by definition a textile product linked to female handcrafting. Significant female creators who were fashioning textile, utility items, clothes and accessories also engaged in making designs for laces and/or in making laces. Zlata Sufflay was one of the first recognized creators of lace designs who also made laces. She was a woman of many gifts: teacher, lace designs creator – artist, lace maker, historian and theoretician of lace making, museologist and writer.
Zlata Sufflay was born in the village of Jesenje in Hrvatsko Zagorje region in 1873. She got her elementary education in the monastery of Ursuline nuns in Varaždin and in 1893 she graduated from the Teacher-training school led by Sisters of Mercy in Zagreb.
She spent one year teaching in villages of Zagorje region, and then was reassigned to Lepoglava where she worked as teacher and head of lace making course from 1894 till 1897. Her lacemaking course followed given programmatic foundations and she was gradually introducing her own lace designs, which she called – laces by Zlata Sufflay.
After Lepoglava she was reassigned to Varaždinske Toplice where in the period from 1897 till 1913 she worked as teacher and head of the Professional lace making course. Since Varaždinske Toplice was a tourist resort, she organised making and selling of laces as a tourist souvenir. She often engaged in field researches focused on collecting information on traditional textile handcraft. However, due to her feeble health condition she moved to Zagreb, to the Museum of Arts and Crafts. After she left Varaždinske Toplice the lace-making course in that place came to an end.
In November 1913 she began to work as curator of the textile collection in the Museum of Arts and Crafts. During her service in the Museum she both created designs for lace patterns and made laces after them. She then divided the lace patterns into nine maps. These works were results of her endeavours to establish common Croatian lace as creative assessment based on researches and interpretation of motifs and ornaments taken from the traditional textile handcraft. Besides Croatian laces, she used her own designs in making other South Slav and Balkan origin laces: Serbian, Macedonian and Albanian. Inspiration for these laces she found in historical researches of her brother Milan Sufflay and in folk songs, myths and legends. She worked in the Museum of Arts and Crafts until she retired in 1926.
During her service in the Museum she researched the Lepoglava lace making tradition and published series of articles on the subject. Her most significant publication is The Croatian Traditional Lace in Home and on the Altar (Hrvatska narodna čipka na domu i na oltaru) self-published in Vienna in 1918. The book offers a historical survey of development of Croatian lace as well as of Lepoglava lace making and advocates original Croatian lace making as an item which should find its place in every Croatian home and on every altar.
Significant part of her activities was dedicated to participations at many exhibitions in the country and abroad. The most important one was the Exposition Internationale des Art Decoratifs et Industriels Modernes held in Paris in 1925 where she was awarded silver medal for her lace A Fan.
During her retirement time she was most active in writing and publicising which allows for her opus to be divided into papers dealing with lace-making and those in the domain of religious and literary fiction titles, which she published under different pseudonyms. She was also engaged in establishing the Croatian Lace-Making School in Varaždinske Toplice. She almost succeeded in realization of her project but the World War II spoiled her plans.
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