New & now
The art of Maltese lace making: Could sewing bizzilla return as a school subject?
#Bringitback

Jillian Mallia

Maltese traditions and trades are at the heart of our culture, but unfortunately, some are in danger of dying out if they aren't somehow passed on to the next generations. One nostalgic local recently pointed this out in a public Facebook group, and well, the reaction speaks for itself.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by КРУЖЕВНОЙ №1 (@kruzhevnoy_1) on

For those who have no idea what we’re on about, bizzilla is Maltese lace making that requires a great deal of patience (and sewing needle jabs) to make. This was done by weaving thread with bobbins to make tablecloths and clothes, among other things. Nowadays, the dying trade is sold as souvenirs.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Giulia Orsi (@giuliaorsi_costume) on

The person who posted asked whether the local trade of sewing the beautiful bizzilla patterns should be taught in schools, even at primary level. And locals were quick to comment about the situation.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Sarah Farrugia (@sarah_whereto360) on

Many agreed that it would be a good step to take, because a lot of such trades are dying out and it would be a shame if the next generation doesn’t pick it up. Some also pointed out that other trades should also be taught, and not just the art of bizzilla, also suggesting to delve into the history of each craft. This history lover is already intrigued.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Maria Degiorgio (@campanellino88) on

Many of the locals who shared their thoughts said that they remember learning such crafts back in the day, and that it would be a shame for them to die out. Others, however, felt it shouldn't be forced on children, and believe it would be better if they chose to learn it themselves, out of their own interest. Because like any other subject that is forced, they'll end up hating it (hello physics, I’m talking ‘bout you).

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by КРУЖЕВНОЙ №1 (@kruzhevnoy_1) on

One local remembers her grandmother passing on the trade to her, pushing her into the deep end straight away, teaching her a difficult weave known as the brimba (spider). She remembers telling her grandmother it’s a difficult task, to which her very Maltese nanna would respond, “It’s best to learn the difficult parts first, because then the easy ones will be a piece of cake.” Wise words, granny.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Ta Tuta (@ta_tuta_island_living) on

Do you think sewing bizzilla should be reintroduced into schools? We think it could be a cool idea to learn about different parts of our heritage that have been around for centuries, and a little hands-on work is always fun!

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Marina (@marzena.mackowiak) on

18th November 2019


Jillian Mallia
Written by
Jillian Mallia
A book lover, writer and globetrotter who loves exploring new places and the local gems that the Maltese Islands have to offer. An avid foodie and arts fanatic, Jillian searches the island and beyond for the perfect settings to write about.

You may also like...
New & now
New & now
The term ‘drag queen’ is pretty well known (thank you Ru Paul’s drag race!) but how about ‘drag king’? Well, it’s about to get a whole lot more popular as Malta welcomes award-winning show Joan!

Jo Caruana
New & now

Martina Said
New & now

Kristina Cassar Dowling