In house no.17, Carrer Marede Deudels Dolors, just a few doors down from where I stay, you can hear click-clacking sound of these wooden bobbins being twisted into beautiful patterned edging. Bobbin lace making in this area also called Bolillos Puntos Pañuelo is a speciality of the village of L'Arboç that has been produced for hundreds of years. Maria Rafecas spends three hours a day on the so-called' pillow' that looks more like a pony's back covered in acupuncture torture device, or those wooden bobbins also reminds me to perm curlers in a hair salon. There is a drawn pattern underneath the lace to guide the twists. Maria is cheerful and talkative, she offers me coffee as I sat next to her drawing and seem surprised when she found out I take my espresso solo (or as they say in Singaporean, Kopi Gau). We spoke no common language. I used my flash cards on her and she wrote some of her answers while animatedly telling me what she thinks. It's frustrating to not be able to converse with her, while in a strange way we connected and understood each other. As David Sedaris once said, we seem to tolerate people who don't speak the same language more, as if they are nicer and better people. Understanding each other through language while aids common understanding, also comes with the burden of classifications and assumptions as we get to know more.
At the end of the sketching, she kept double checking that I am definitely not interested to get paid for the postcard painting I gave her. This was the highlight of my day today, it was wonderful to draw her as she worked on the lace, to see a very traditional art preserved right under your nose is such a gift.