On the other hand


On the other hand

50 years of lace education at the Academy

In 2023, the lace department of the Municipal Academy of Fine Arts will celebrate its fiftieth anniversary. From April 29 to September 10, the students will take over a room of the Taxandria Museum to demonstrate that bobbin lace developed into a creative and innovative art form during that period.


Since the beginning of the 17th century people have been making bobbin lace in Turnhout. Different variants developed from the Old Flemish lace technique, all of which were practiced in our city.

In the 19th century, the great demand for high-quality lace led to the establishment of lace schools and workshops where children learned the handicraft from experienced lace makers. They worked for a lace office or trader and thus helped to increase the family income. The dealers sold the pieces to larger offices in Antwerp, Ghent and Brussels so that the Turnhout lace was widely distributed, also internationally.

After the Second World War, the demand for lace fell sharply and the lace schools closed their doors. In 1972, the Municipal Academy of Fine Arts expanded its range with a lace department. This is how lace work evolved from labour to hobby.


Inge Deleu teaches all possible lace methods at the Turnhout academy. Based on these basic techniques, the students are encouraged to creatively experiment with materials: bobbin thread, linen, metal thread, even three-dimensional. They draw and make their own designs based on feeling. The results are therefore very diverse: from a silhouette to a triptych to a tree trunk with lace.

With 'On the other hand', the students of the academy prove that the lace craft of yesteryear has evolved over fifty years into a textile art form that is gaining more and more popularity.

With work from

•   Elke Vandormael

•   Fabienne Goetschalckx

•   Griet Van Nijlen

•   Linda Esch

•   Lutgart Van Nevel

•   Marie Thérèse Ameloot

•   Peter Maes

•   Sabine Van Heupen