Saturday, November 9, 2013

Aemilia Ars Needle Lace DVDs

DVD no. 1

Four days before I left for Italy in September, I received an email from Bianca Rosa Bellomo of the Associazione Culturale "I Merletti di Antonilla Cantelli" in Bologna. She was putting the finishing touches on a couple of Aemilia Ars needle lace DVD instructional videos that the Associazione had made in collaboration with the Nuova S1 publishing house and there was provision for subtitles in English - could I check over her translations?

Back of the DVD

We worked right up until the day before I left on English subtitles for both DVDs. The first one covers the basics of Aemilia Ars needle lace and includes the printed patterns for a lavette cloth with a border and a rose motif (48 minutes long). The second covers the same basics of Aemilia Ars needle lace and includes a printed carnation motif design (35 minutes long).

You can check out the DVD trailer on YouTube, be sure to change the settings to 1080pHD for high definition quality:

When we met in Bologna a week later Bianca Rosa told me all about how the Associazione's idea came to fruition and the incredible work involved in making the DVDs. She described all the things you never think about like the music selection, typography and the best camera angles. They were hoping to have the DVDs ready for the (then) upcoming handmade creativity exhibition Abilmente in Vicenza the weekend of October 17, 2013. Unfortunately I was unable to get to the exhibition but Bianca Rosa performed acrobatics in order to get me my copies of the DVDs before I left Italy for home.

I was going to Ferrara to visit some friends and I emailed Bianca Rosa to tell her that I had to change trains in Bologna and that I would be thinking of her as I passed by her city. She responded that she'd meet me on the platform. Now, the Bologna central rail station has recently undergone massive improvements and it's huge! There are many entrances and exits to the platforms and great confusion can happen. The morning I left Florence for Ferrara there was a freak rainstorm and flash flooding which resulted in many of the local trains being cancelled due to damage along the tracks and huge delays with the trains that were running. Suddenly the half hour I had to change trains in Bologna became 5 minutes. I hit the ground running from my arrival platform in search of my (by now almost deserted) departure platform and upon arrival at the top of the stairs I didn't see Bianca Rosa anywhere. My train rang the bell that it was departing and I had to jump on immediately. When I arrived in Ferrara I contacted Bianca Rosa to apologize for leaving her hanging around the station for an hour wondering what had happened to me and we resigned ourselves to the fact that we would not see each other again before I left Italy at the end of the week.

Bianca Rosa however is a very determined lady for which I am profoundly grateful. She called my friend in Ferrara later in the day to say that she'd looked up my return train to Florence on the internet and even though this time I didn't have to change in Bologna, the train would still stop to pick up passengers there. She asked what carriage my seat was in and said she'd be waiting on the platform right where my carriage would stop and that I should jump down for a second and get the package she had for me.

It all seemed so simple.

My train left Ferrara on schedule and the rain had stopped. Five minutes outside of Bologna I got up and went to the doorway of the carriage to get ready to jump down at the station. All the lights in the train went out and we came to a dead stop. We sat there on the tracks for 20 minutes. Early evening in late October in the countryside of the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy means no lights in the darkness. I had returned my borrowed cell phone and therefore had no way of communicating with Bianca Rosa. I will admit that I thought about Harry Potter and the Dementors while we sat there on the tracks in the darkness. Luckily Bianca Rosa waited and when we finally arrived at the Bologna station, I jumped down, thanked her profusely and jumped back on the train instantly. I was afraid that it would leave right away as we were now behind schedule. I ran back to my seat with my parcel and looked for her out the window but she was gone. The train sat in the station for another 15 minutes. I thought about the little mini-visit that we could have had instead of that last panicked hug. Well, enough about my adventures, you're thinking: tell us about the DVDs!

DVD no. 2

Of course I couldn't watch them until I got home to Canada but I can tell you that they are worth all the acrobatics done to get them! They are priced very reasonably for the amount of instruction there is and if you're like me and have been fumbling around with Aemilia Ars needle lace on your own at home, just watching the execution of the lace and observing the way the piece is held, the usage of the thumb and the movements involved will be a great help to you.

Been struggling with those picots? Now you can see exactly how they are done. I really like the graphics and the way they illustrate which parts of the lace you are watching. Even with the sound off and no subtitles, it was very easy to see what was happening. The assembly of the support system is shown as are the various steps to changing threads when you run out in a wide variety of positions (eg. during filling stitches, during structure construction, while executing support stitches, while executing a petal, an arch and other motifs), detaching the lace from the support system, attaching the lace to fabric, attaching the fabric to the support system and many other interesting and valuable tips and tricks.

The Aemilia Ars needle lace DVDs are in PAL2 format which means that they won't work on your DVD/TV combination at home in North America but I watched mine without a hitch on my Macintosh computer - I can't tell you if a PC can do the same but I know that there are programs which allow you to view European formatted DVDs, best to inform yourself first if you have any doubts.

At the moment, the Aemilia Ars needle lace DVDs are only available directly from the publisher Nuova S1. I have talked to them and they are looking into shipping costs to North America and the possibility of accepting PayPal as a form of payment, I will update you when they get back to me. Lacis in California distributes their books but doesn't have the DVDs - you could try contacting them to see if they can bring the Aemilia Ars needle lace DVDs in for you. Please let me know if you are successful, so I can spread the news to others!

Ordering update can be found here.


  1. Ma che avventura! Mi sono proprio divertita a leggere.
    Ora si che diventerai una esperta a fare i pippiolini ;o)

  2. Thank you for this information. I am ordering both and the shipping for two is 22 euro, I am very excited because those picots are giving me a hard time :)

  3. I received the DVDs Friday 12/06. It took about 3 weeks.

    Personally, I am pleased with the purchase. Sometimes I feel I learn better through visual demonstration than trying to learn from pictures. Perhaps I am not as familiar with the stitches? I don't know.

    The DVDs are so easy to follow and very well done --- for those that learn best that way. I am pleased and thank you for bringing this to my attention.

  4. Thank you for letting us know how long the shipping took and I'm so glad you find the DVDs useful - I'll pass along your comment to the ladies of the Associazione Culturale I Merletti di Antonilla Cantelli.

  5. Would like to know how Robert viewed the DVDs. On a PC? Mac?

  6. Armida, I've played mine on my iMac and my mom can play hers on her PC - hope this helps!