The winter of 2014 saw crushing blizzards hit Slovenia and cover most of the country in four inches of ice, dismantling power lines and leaving hundreds of thousands without electricity or warmth in their homes. Many individuals were left stranded deep in the countryside without any contact with others for days, most notably a group of miners from the town of Idrija who were left to fend for themselves when their camp got snowed in. After shivering their way through three days on little food, they began to lose their sanity and it is said that just as they were approaching total despair. Several of the group encountered an odd spiritual being known to locals as Gozdna Vila – or in English: the forest fairy.
For centuries the townspeople of Idrija have spoken of mysterious encounters with this fairy; she is said to appear to those who are in the lowest form of health and her presence is famous for reinvigorating their minds and giving them hope. She glows a brilliant white and is a source of light for those in darkness.
A local woman, Vera Velikajne, created this impression of the Gozdna Vila using the special Idrija lace technique. The design, measuring two metres long, was formed by using white cotton thread and metal wires, so that the shape of a body is visible.
Photographer Matevž Kocjan captured her beauty while walking in the woods.
designer: Marita Wrong
handmade: Vera Velikajne
written by Tom Matthews
Idrija Lace Festival - Night exhibition of our handmade Idrija Lace designs in a miner's glass house named Rastlinjak.
mentored by prof. Vera Sešlar Založnik
blacksmith: Miha Krištof