Monogram van Annelie van Olffen
In memoriam Annelie van Olffen-spikermann
Deceased February 8, 2023. Annelie was born in 1936 in Stettin, now Poland. At the end of World War II, the Spikermann family had to leave Stettin and moved to a village near Schneeberg. Through a friend she came into contact with bobbin lace. That she wanted to learn too. Because she hadn't learned it as a child, the teachers were very skeptical if she would succeed. She succeeded and in 1950 she was admitted to the education at the Barbara Uttmann Schule in Schneeberg. In addition to Schneeberg lace, lessons were also given in other laces, such as Torchon, Idrija, Milanese, Valencienne, Duchesse and Mechelsen lace. She has completed the complete 4-year education to become lace teacher here.
In 1963 she came to the Netherlands through her marriage. There she devoted herself to interest people for lacemaking. Fortunately, she was not alone in this. Her first book “the Technique of Bobbin Lace” was publised in 1980. ("De Techniek van het Kantklossen", 1ste druk 1980, Cantecleer bv, ISBN 9021307391). Sometimes this book is called in de lace-world "De Bible Of Bobbin Lace. It is an honorable description for a wonderful handbook that appeared at the time.
The documentation and the introductory lessons included have lasting value.

Cover of the book De Techniek van het Kantklossen

Only 3 years before Zus Boelaars published a book with lessons for bobbin lace “Kantklossen, slag voor slag”. This book was completely different than Annelie’s book. Zus Boelaars' book was based on the Belgian way of learning how to make bobbin lace, while Annelie’s was based on the method she had learned in Schneeberg. There it was important that the lace could be made quickly and efficiently, with as few bobbins as possible. In the Netherlands and Belgium, complicated patterns were made with many bobbins. People may have thought that a lot of bobbins makes the most beautiful lace. But a very good result can also be achieved with far fewer bobbins. For example, the Schneeberg lace may seem simple, but the opposite is true. For some pieces you have to think and use all your creativity and inventiveness to achieve the most beautiful result.
Contrary to what was customary in the Netherlands until then, Annelie started teaching the Guipure in her method of learning bobbin lace. Because this requires fewer bobbins, certainly in the beginning, it is simpler, but you get a very good basis for the other laces.
Together with Lia Baumeister, she has been very important for the development of the Schneeberg lace in the Netherlands and abroad. Her book about Schneeberg lace was published in 1987 and has certainly given Schneeberg lace more fame in the Netherlands. A true ambassador in the lace world.
Annelie has been a member of OIDFA almost from the beginning, 40 years. Although in the recent years we seldom saw her on the lace days, she remained a member until the end. Annelie turned 86 years old. We thank Annelie van Olffen for contributing to the popularity of bobbin lace in the 1980s and 1990s.
This article was published in a short form in OIDFA Bulletin 2 of 2023.

© Gon Homburg.4-01-2024