Describe your profession, with details on products, services, expertise and know how.
My name is Olga Demetriou and I am 52 years old. My craft is Lefkaritiko Lace which I started learning from the age of 6 years old and I practice this craft for over 30 years now. I currently work at the Cyprus Handicraft Service.
Coming from Lefkara, home of Lefkaritiko lace, the craft was passed to me by my mother and grandmother which was a tradition and a way of life/culture in that area. So, from the age of 6, I started learning from my family Lefkaritiko. We begin by learning basic skills like how to hold the needle and how to pass it through the linen. This craft like most crafts needs time, patience, and persistence to acquire the necessary skills that can help making a creation from start to end. I can say that attending lessons for the first steps of Lefkaritiko Craft is a must in order to learn the basic skills. Geometry is a very useful knowledge for creating beautiful geometric shapes.
What materials do you use? Where and how you purchase them?
The materials are the linen where we create on it the lace and the “demise” linen thread and can be found in Cyprus or can be imported from Ireland (linen) and France (thread). These materials are sustainable.
What is your “ideal” client’s profile?
The main target market are tourists and they can find authentic Lefkaritiko Lace creations all around Cyprus, provided by the Cyprus Handicraft Service and of course at the village of Lefkara.
Lefkaritiko is for sure a piece and a representative of the local cultural heritage in Cyprus and especially the village of Lefkara. This craft is recognized by UNESCO as a cultural heritage and there are several ways that is tried to be preserved.
Describe the techniques, the tools and the materials you use in your work.
First of all, you decide what piece/product you will create and upon that decision you create the perimeter of the piece. Next you insert the design you wish for example:” potamos”, “finikoto”, “margarites” etc. The three colors of Lefkaritiko are White, Beige and Brown. Upon finalization according to the technique of your preference we create the Frame of the piece.
The main tools are needle, the thimble, the scissors and the embroidery pillow. Some are very old because they are passed from generation to generation, but someone can also find new ones.
And what about innovation, what are the changes since you started? Do you use new materials, tools, or processes in manufacturing and marketing? What is the impact of innovation on your performance? How could your profession be even more innovative?
Innovation cannot be integrated in the traditional Lefkaritiko production because the technique and colours are set. If something deviates from the original specifications, it stops being a Lefkaritiko lace.
What is your message to younger generations who might choose your profession?
As mentioned, this craft is recognized and preserved by UNESCO as an important cultural heritage of Cyprus. For this reason, younger generations are encouraged to learn this craft and keep the tradition for the future. Based on good marketing, their creations can generate sales and profit.