Queen Penelope threatened by the suitors, promised that she would contract a new marriage only after completing the shroud for Laertes (Ulysses’s father).
Penelope, who embodies the symbol of cunning and feminine fidelity, during the night used to unraveled the woven fabric (which was made at day), so that the work never ended. In this way she could kept her promise for 20 years to not marry another man, and to wait faithfully for the return of her husband Ulysses.
In Gozo, the island of legends and myths where Ulysses seemed have lived for a while
with Calypso the nymph, I met my Penelope, Alda Bugeja.
Alda Bugeja is a woman of a kind and a real treasure of Gozo!
She is the modern Penelope who keeps alive the love of the old tradition and
the mastery of the wonderful art of weaving!
Alda is the weaver of the Gozitan hystory, some of the patters she design on her cloths reproduce the old drawings found on the neolitic pottery. Entering in her Studio is like entering in the heart of the weaver secrets, it is so fascinating!
“Weaving is the oldest craft in the Maltese archipelago” – she explains us.
“As early as prehistoric times the Maltese weavers were famous for their craftsmanship and for many centuries weaving remained an important industry in our islands”. Every family had its loom and every member of the family gave his share of work in this craft. Men planted and harvested cotton, children helped in washing the local sheep’s wool and women worked on the looms“.
Alda started familiarizing with the loom when she was just five years old, mirroring her mother she learnt slowly slowly this beautiful art.
We can see her in the picture below washing the wool by hands not so many years ago.
Her skills and her devoted dedication to the hand weaving brought her to be awarded “for her outstanding performance in the craft sector” with the prestigious National Award for Achievement in Industry on the 2nd November 2000! Lately she won two other prestigious Awards in the year 2014.
Support Local Artisans and Artists
You will captured by the intricate patterns on the colourful fabrics that she transforms in stunning rugs, blankets, curtains, bedspreads, wall panels and much, much more!
Alda can really weave any project you have in mind and the beauty to support a local artisan and artist like her it is explained by her beautiful words: “when you buy something by us, you receive back love“!
“Creativity connects you and settle your mind”
She lovingly looked at me and she said: “Flora, you can actually settle your mind only when you do something creative. Because throught creativity your mind is connected to the source of everythingand with the people you are weaving something for and you don’t even realize that time flies while you are at the loom“.
“If they see it, they do it”
Again, she wisely answered me: “Well actually the young generation does what is expose to. If they see it, they do it, however unfortunately now children do not connect that much with people as they are spending their times on mobile and tablets and even parents they don’t take notice of them. My mission is to let children and adults alike to come and see, to get in touch with this tradition, to feel the fabric and to try to weave too!“
Traditions can be passed to the new generation if we let them see them, if we let them participate.
Hand woven articles for your home and customized clothes
You will find a wide range of designs and items for your home in different sizes and customizable on your preferences. I loved the clothes in cotton and local sheep’s wool.
Featuring below Alda’s son and his fiance wearing outfits woven for them by Alda in cotton for their pre-wedding pictures.
I tried myself too a lovely coat (I couldn’t resist) and Alda told us that all her cloths and items are washable in the washing machine and surely durable.
Alda Bugeja is waiting for you with her sweet assitant, Minnie, to show you the hystory,
the process and the beauty of the Gozitan traditional weaving art!
For more information about Alda’s Studio, creations and initiatives please find her on FACEBOOK or call her at (+356) 79552907.
Find below the map. A quick tip. It is very easy to get to Alda’s Studio. It is a 5 minutes walk from St Francis Square to Vajringa Street towards the Augustine Church, then proceed to Don Gwann Bosco Street and then straight to D. Pawl Micallef Street.
Alda's Bugeja Gozo Weaving & Creations Studio
From St Francis Square take Vajringa Street towards St Augustine Church.
Take Don Gwann Bosco Street and proceed to D. Pawl Micallef Street.
Here is at number 16, Alda Bugeja’s Studio.