Who the Lace House is about
The Lace House in Hegykő is the most beautiful testimony of a mother who embroidered all her joys and sorrows into her beautiful creations. The daughter of Istvánné Szigehty, born as Erzsébet Anda, created the permanent exhibition in memory of her mother. There are nearly 250 original Hövej laces in the house, all of them the work of Aunt Bözsi
“Hövej, a village in the Rábaköz region, known for its white embroidery, is my home village. I lived here for more than a quarter of a century, in the village where the women made the family's livelihood more secure with the money they earned from handcrafts. I was not yet ten years old when my mother first gave me a frame, a pre-drawn fabric, a needle and thread, and taught me to embroider. After my father's tragic death, I also became a "breadwinner" as a child. To my great joy, my first needlework was taken to the market and bought”. This is how Aunt Bözsi - born on 8 June 1929 – recalled the first chapter of her busy life. Little did she know then that needles and organza would be her constant companions for the rest of her long life, nor that she would become a Kis Bori Prize-winning folk craftswoman, twice an honorary citizen and a Master of Folk Art.
But let’s go step by step
Erzsébet Anda first sat at the frame as a child, first to help her widowed mother support the family, but later the joy of creating took over her fingers. She was born in Hövej, and as only those laces whose embroiderers were born in the village can be called Hövej today, this later took on a special significance.
"Those were the days when, on long winter evenings, sitting around the table by the light of a kerosene lamp, we sewed the most beautiful needlework with friends. By then we were working for the Cottage Industry Cooperative. The number of embroideries was growing, and new patterns were being created. The demand for needlework continued to grow, and we even made a large tablecloth for Stalin, which four of us embroidered. When I was twenty-five, I left Hövej, but I never stopped embroidering. While I lived in my home village, we usually embroidered pre-designed designs, but as time went on, I made the designs on my own" - wrote Aunt Bözsi, who died in 2021 at the age of 92, in her memoirs. The joy and love of needlework accompanied her throughout her life.
And what a life it was! The first love that took her from Hövej as a young woman to Agyagosergény, and which she did not leave, only for a short time afterwards. But after twenty months of happy marriage, she was left a widow with a little girl on her arm, but even in her years of pain and struggle, she still had the lace in her hand. She later found her way to her second husband, had a daughter and a son, but tragedy came back to her. Her son died shortly after his birth, her daughter died young and she had to bury her second husband as well. Perhaps fate wanted to make up for all the pain with her daughter Erzsi, who did her best to see her mother smile. It was her idea to organise the first exhibition, to enter the competitions and to create the Lace House. The feedback and the prizes inspired Aunt Bözsi to create more and more, and she never put down the needle until the end of her life.
In memory of this extremely hard-working, talented and loving woman, the Hegykő Lace House was established, which enriched the last years of Aunt Bözsi's life. Her pieces, preserved for decades, was brought together in one place, and some pieces of her art have adorned the homes of strangers all over the world. The Lace House is a tribute to her life by her daughter, but also a memento to all the mothers and grandmothers whose hard-working hands and smiles are unforgettable. The carefully restored house that is almost 150 years old, is also a guardian of a bygone world that many of us long for.
Visit us and see our permanent exhibition "From the swaddles to the eyelids", sit down for a few minutes and take a deep breath in the herb garden behind the house, where the breeze from the Fertő River makes the leaves dance...