Cultural heritage

Idrija Lace Festival

17. 06. - 19. 06. 2022

Idrija

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Festival idrijske čipke

Mestni trg 2 SI-5280 , Idrija

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For centuries the town of Idrija has been associated with mining and lacemaking as its trademarks. The Idrija Lace Festival has presented works of Idrija Lace (idrijska čipka) since the early 1980s. Every June lacemakers show their creations in the streets of Idrija, lacemaking competitions and exhibitions are organised, and thematic lacemaking workshops are held. It is also possible to buy technical equipment for lacemaking and to view exhibitions of other folk trades and crafts.

This vivid festival is accompanied by the international lacemakers’ gathering, workshops, demonstrations, competitions, concerts, and outdoor parties.

Due to health crisis in June 2020 a virtual festival takes place online.

Background

The second oldest and largest mercury mine in the world (closed in 1995) has shaped the lifestyle and local economy of the town of Idrija for centuries. Bobbin-lace making was introduced into Slovenia from the Czech and German lands of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy more than 300 years ago; the first mention goes back to the year 1696. Idrija gradually developed its own techniques and design patterns. In 1876 a lace school was established and its activities achieved European dimensions. Lace from Idrija was exported worldwide the same as mercury. During the last decade the Municipality of Idrija has encouraged the establishment of the Idrija Lace brand, supported by the Interreg programme of the European Commission although the Lace Festival kicked off already in 1982.

Programme

During the festival a national lacemaking competition is held for children and adults, leading to the presentation of the Ivanka Ferjančič Award, named after the first teacher (1850–1879) of the Idrija Lace School, who greatly influenced the growth of lacemaking in Idrija. The award was initially supported by the Culture 2000 programme of the European Commission as part of the Land of Lace project with partners including the Provincial Museum of Gorizia – the Museum of Fashion and Applied Arts, Italy; the Museum Rauma, Finland; and the Idrija Municipal Museum, Slovenia.

Exhibitions are held mainly at Gewerkenegg Castle in Idrija, the main seat of the Idrija Municipal Museum, and the central exhibition in 2010 sums up the role of lacemaking for the local community in the past – Wealth for the Rich, Blessing for the Poor. Each year the festival also features exhibitions of international lace (e.g., Belgian Bevern, Hungarian Halas lace, Estonian lace). Collaborations with fashion designers and students are also encouraged (e.g., the exhibition Lace: Tradition in the Modern World in 2003 by the Department of Textiles, University of Ljubljana).

Klub Swenak

Idrija

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Klub Swenak

Pot Svetega Antona 40 SI-5280, Idrija

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Klub Swenak, located at the outskirts of Idrija, was established in 1997 and functions within the framework of the Idrija Student Club. The venue hosts concerts of alternative music by established and upcoming artists (Broken Lock, Ana Pupedan, New Wave Syria, and others), theatre plays, shows, lectures, dance and art workshops. It regularly hosts the traditional Club Marathon, organised by Radio Študent (RŠ).

The name of the club comes from a modification of the Slovenian word for “pigsty”. It is inherited by the building’s interesting history: under the Italian government they used it to breed pigs for the army, later for supplying the nearby psychiatric hospital.

Film Theatre Idrija

Idrija

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Filmsko gledališče Idrija

Trg sv. Ahacija 5 SI-5280 , Idrija

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The Film Theatre Idrija (Filmsko gledališče Idrija) is housed in a small-scale Baroque building in the old town centre of Idrija. It was built as a theatre house as early as 1770, and considered to be the oldest such building in Slovenia. The construction of the Miners’ Theatre House was financed from voluntary contributions by the mercury mine employees.

Due to reconstructions in the 20th century the interior no longer resembles the former Baroque theatre. The cinema hall is now run under the auspices of the Idrija City Library and Reading Room and is a member of Slovenia’s Art Cinema Network. Along with a very diverse list of films screenings, the programme occasionally also includes theatre productions, lectures and music concerts.

Background

Operating since around 1500, the Idrija mercury mine used to be one of the largest mercury mines in the world, which consequently meant the town was of some regional importance. When the mine was at the height of its development in the mid-18th century, Idrija was given town privileges and constructed numerous public buildings. Among them was the Miners’ Theatre House, its construction financed from voluntary contributions by the mercury mine employees and nowadays usually considered to be the oldest such building in Slovenia (though the provincial capital Ljubljana had managed to acquire its own, slightly larger theatre just a few years earlier).

In the years that followed, various travelling German and Italian theatre groups most commonly appeared in the Idrija theatre, but after 1850 an increasing number of performances were in Slovenian language. The establishment of the Idrija Dramatic Society in 1889 was of a particular importance for this shift. Nevertheless, in 1905, the stage was removed and the building became the town’s fire department headquarters. In 1913 it was renovated as a theatre again, but was closed down only a year later to be used as accommodation for prisoners of World War I. It was renovated once again in 1920 but turned into a storage facility three years later.

After some further lively history, the building was reopened in 1952 as a local cinema, and then further subjected to quite some modifications. In 2001 it was declared a cultural monument of national importance and as of 2015 run by the Idrija City Library. As of 2012, the building is considered a part of mercury mining heritage and as such is featured on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Programme

Film Theatre Idrija runs a very wide-ranging film programme that includes art cinema production as well as films for children. Additionally, it runs a strong programme of documentaries of Slovene origin, often accompanied by presentations by its creators and protagonists. It also runs a series of films that relate to mountaineering and climbing, organised in collaboration with the Mountain Culture Association.

The venue is used to screen the programme of animated films run by the Animateka International Animated Film Festival and is also one of the venues of the Deuje babe Festival and the Idrija Lace Festival.