Filé Embroidery History

History and Tradition
The name “filé” has its origin from the french word “filet”, meaning net and, in fact, it is an embroiment over a net of threads. Threads above threads that involve complex processes of execution and improvement through this long historic period of transfering from generation to generation, people and countries.
Although some link the origen of this technique to the ancient Egipt, the origin is also linked to certain areas of the Iberic Peninsula, and this craft can be found in certain areas of Portugual (such Minho), and Italy (such as Pistoia), reaching the colonial Brazil where, possibly, was included in a reforming education of catolic schools, which taught crafts for women.
Similarly to its establishment in the Iberic Peninsula, in Brazil this technique was exercised in areas where fishman community were established at the lagoons and coastal areas.
The technique then, crossed the coastal territories and the lagoon-estuarine ecosystem Mundaú-Manguaba, added with the inheritance of the arboriginal culture of materials and art of weaving straw and building fishing instruments and other tools using vegetable fibers. With the establishment of the public education at indigenous schools, and also with the intention of integrated education, many career training where provided to women, including laces and embroiments.
Santa Luiza do Norte for example, a settlement from the sixteenth century, was one of the first areas producing this type of craft to supply the Colony internally; also Marechal Deodoro, a settlement in which the religious missions where installed, the increase of knowledge included, apart from praying and reading, laces and embroiments.

The culture of the filé embroiment was formed along the years of history from this mix of people and their own techniques, developing to the form that we know nowadays.


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the historical Filé Embroidery Map.

Click on the map to view
the historical Filé Embroidery Map.

Our Lady of the Conception Church, Marechal Deodoro, Alagoas.

History and Tradition
The name “filé” has its origin from the french word “filet”, meaning net and, in fact, it is an embroiment over a net of threads. Threads above threads that involve complex processes of execution and improvement through this long historic period of transfering from generation to generation, people and countries.
Although some link the origen of this technique to the ancient Egipt, the origin is also linked to certain areas of the Iberic Peninsula, and this craft can be found in certain areas of Portugual (such Minho), and Italy (such as Pistoia), reaching the colonial Brazil where, possibly, was included in a reforming education of catolic schools, which taught crafts for women.
Similarly to its establishment in the Iberic Peninsula, in Brazil this technique was exercised in areas where fishman community were established at the lagoons and coastal areas.
The technique then, crossed the coastal territories and the lagoon-estuarine ecosystem Mundaú-Manguaba, added with the inheritance of the arboriginal culture of materials and art of weaving straw and building fishing instruments and other tools using vegetable fibers. With the establishment of the public education at indigenous schools, and also with the intention of integrated education, many career training where provided to women, including laces and embroiments.
Santa Luiza do Norte for example, a settlement from the sixteenth century, was one of the first areas producing this type of craft to supply the Colony internally; also Marechal Deodoro, a settlement in which the religious missions where installed, the increase of knowledge included, apart from praying and reading, laces and embroiments.

The culture of the filé embroiment was formed along the years of history from this mix of people and their own techniques, developing to the form that we know nowadays.


Our Lady of the Conception Church, Marechal Deodoro, Alagoas.

Explore some pieces with Filé Embroidery