A hand-made table cloth (or a sheet, or a handkerchief) is distilled time. Hours and still more hours of searching for the exact stitch, the appropriate work, the correct warp. Concentrated patience, extreme precision. A never-ending task, capable of demoralising anyone. Anyone, that is, who is not a hand embroiderer from La Palma.
Embroidery is one of the ensigns of La Palma’s handicrafts. From the hands of the embroiderers, genuine works of art are born. Each one is unique for the quality of its workmanship, and the time employed in its creation. The most common technique in the repertory of traditional island embroiderers is richelieu, which coexists with realce (raised work) and punto perdido (“lost stitch”). Richelieu-type embroidery is usually done on white or beige fabric, and is recognised by its loops joining one motif with another, in a harmonious sequence. In realce embroidery, the motifs are filled in so that they acquire relief. As regards punto perdido, stitches are superimposed creating different colour intensities in order to reproduce, preferably, floral motifs. The items produced include all types of household linen, such as sheets, table-cloths, towels, napkins, or cradle bedding sets. But garments are also offered, such as skirts, bodices, handkerchiefs, blouses or elements of the island’s traditional costumes.