Beeralu lace weaving is an age-old Sri Lankan tradition that is now on the verge of being forgotten. Though this form of art is still alive in many villages on the southern coast of the country, it is an arduous process that takes skill, time and effort to bring to fruition.
Beeralu lace weaving, also known as bobbin lace making, is a lengthy practice. A weaver first needs to hand-draw the pattern of the lace on graph paper, after which the pattern is marked with pins, and wrapped around a lace pillow. Then, several lengths of thread are woven or braided with the help of wooden bobbins to create a finished piece of lace. Though this process takes up much more effort when compared to machine-cut lace products that can be produced in bulk and on demand, the authenticity and quality of Beeralu lace is unparalleled.
Watching Beeralu lace being made is a beautiful experience with more and more tourists finding it a privilege to bear witness to such an authentic practice. You can take a tour of many Beeralu lace making centers but at Tamarind Hill, Galle, the Beeralu is brought to you. You have the opportunity of sitting down with a weaver and watching her braid the thread, as her skilled hands weave in and out of the wooden bobbins. Not only would this be an incredible sight to behold but your donations to the weavers would contribute towards sustaining a dying form of art and eventually aid a struggling industry.
Though this art form has been fading over the years, it is now slowly raising its head once more with designer labels and businesses employing local women to produce authentic Beeralu lace. Much like batik or handloom, Beeralu is now making its way to the world of high fashion and hopefully has a fairly promising future ahead.