Traditional Maltese crafts make up a huge part of this tiny island’s rich history, traditions and culture. Most date back several centuries, and although some are unfortunately a dying art, there are many people and artisans who are keeping the tradition alive and a lot make awesome souvenir gifts.
Here are six Maltese crafts you need to know about.
1. Lace-making aka bizzilla
Bizzilla is one of the oldest traditional craft and is often linked with nobility. Maltese lace is very sought after, can often be sold at auctions or is sometimes worn by people high in society such as the clergy.
It is often made with Spanish silk but the inclusion of the Maltese cross into the lace pattern helps make this craft local AF.
Still one of the most beloved and popular traditional crafts on the island, lace-making is very big in certain areas like the sister island of Gozo.
The art of Filigree consists of weaving together fine threads of gold or silver to create ornate motifs or intricate jewellery.
Although you can buy ready-made filigree all over the island, watching it being made is satisfying AF!
Weaving is one of the oldest Maltese crafts dating back to the prehistoric times. It involves interlacing threads to create fabric used for clothing, rugs and other products.
It is a lost art in modern times, but there are a handful of locals who are keeping the tradition alive by hosting workshops and demonstrations.
The Maltese clock consists of a wooden case (relating to that other wood-making craft that is arkett) and comes in many different sizes. It was mostly found in the homes of the super rich centuries ago.
These clocks are usually heavily decorated with gild or hand-painted flower patterns. Nowadays, real Maltese clocks are a collector’s item but replicas can be found around the island.
5. Glass blowing
One of the Maltese crafts that hasn’t really died down is mouth-blown and hand finished glassware, usually bursting with colour and still adorning home interiors all over the islands.
Many tourists love to not only watch glass-blowing, but also participate as a way of getting immersed in Malta’s culture. The process begins involves melted coloured beads which are blown into a shape.
The objects you can make are endless such as drinking glasses, vases, bowls, candle holders and more. Interested? You must check out the Mdina Glass Blowing Factory.
6. Crib building
Although cribs (known as presepji in Maltese) may only appear during the Christmas period, crib making is a highly popular craft and people start prepping from the summer period. A grotto or a large traditional crib are usually the ones that are made.
Cribs are a strong part of Maltese tradition and you’ll see many plotted across the island during the festive season, shown off with great pride at exhibitions or competitions.