Lace-making was a tradition in Luba Krejci’s native Czechoslovakia, but enthusiasm for the craft waned in the twentieth century. Krejci sought to reverse that trend by creating fresh lace designs like this one for others to produce. She intended to revitalize the disappearing art form by inspiring new interest in it.

The serpentine lines between the female figures in Four Seasons reflect a sinuous style seen other examples of Krejci’s large scale lace-like, needlework compositions, like Morpheus, that she made herself. In many ways, these textiles defy definition, although she preferred the term nitak, a Czechoslovakian play on words, which best translates as fiber work. The dreamlike forms seen in her nitak were personal, poetic expressions of Krejci’s own imagination.

While creating her nitak constructions, Krejci never used a cartoon, rather, she let her designs develop organically on a set of foundation yarns wrapped and stretched onto a frame. Using a tapestry needle, Krejci introduced yarns of varied weights and thicknesses, in all directions, pulling those scaffolding yarns together in some areas and apart in others, to form a web of motifs, which were usually anthropomorphic in shape despite their grid-based origins. Both her traditional lace designs and her nitak designs are highly prized in museum collections around the world.

Carly Lewis is currently earning an M.A. in the History of Decorative Arts and Design at Parsons. She has a B.S. in Textile Design from Philadelphia University and is focusing her studies on gender issues in regard to textile design practices in the 20th century.

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