Agava plants can be found in abundance on Croatian soil, especially in coastal areas where they are traditionally used as outdoor decoration. Yet, there is another usage for them, and most people are unaware of it. Although it takes a lot of patience and skill, it is possible to use them as material for lace making.
On the Croatian Island of Hvar, which is unofficially known to be a hideout for numerous international celebrities, one can find an old convent belonging to Benedictian order. This Catholic organization was founded almost 1500 years ago, and its members are often guardians of old crafts. They arrived to Hvar coasts in mid-17th century, voyaging from the neighboring Island of Rab. Today, Benedictine community is responsible for maintaining the tradition of agava lace making and the ornament can even be considered a symbol of the island itself. The custom is more than a century old.
The very process of crafting an agava lace is very delicate, and comes with hours of concentrated work. It involves drawing a thread from the fleshy plant leaf, after which it is processed and formed into distinctive shape of the lace. Nuns of Benedictine order have to use numerous tools in order to make a perfect item, but the final result never disappoints.
If you are visiting Hvar and seeking an original souvenir, don’t look much further than traditional agava lace. It will always remind you of visiting this Croatian destination, and its story will be an interesting topic once you come home.
Learn more about Hvar on our Destinations Page.