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Posts Tagged ‘lark rise to candleford’

Seen on Hyperallergic: “Left: Matthias De Visch, ‘Portrait of Empress Maria Theresa’ (1749), Musea Brugge – Groeningemuseum (© Lukasweb); right: Sleeve fragment in bobbin lace, Brussels region, Southern Netherlands, 1740–50 (© The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Lannoo Publishers).”

Did you ever read the book Lark Rise to Candleford about the old days in rural England? There are two aspects of the life I read about that have recurred to me often over the years. One memory from the book comes to me when I am fiddling with the car radio dial and finding almost too many choices for music. Back in England between the wars, people came from surrounding towns to hear one musician in one village play one instrument. I think it was a glockenspiel in the book, and being able to hear it was a big deal. Folks made a day of the outing.

The other memory is about the transition from handmade lace to machine-made. Today we know how glorious the handmade kind was. But women in the book wanted machine-made lace — they thought it was much cooler.

Today’s story is about the old kind of lace.

Valentina Di Liscia reports at Hyperallergic, “When the latticed fabric first appeared in the 16th century, says Kaat Debo, director of the ModeMuseum (MoMU) in Antwerp, ‘it was something completely new.’

,“ ‘Lace [was] originally intended as an open-edge finishing for clothing and interior textiles,’ … Debo writes in a foreword for the book accompanying the recently opened exhibition P.LACE.S – Looking through Antwerp Lace. The show explores the city’s role in the trade and production of lace across the centuries, bringing together historical fabrics, paintings, and archival documents to reveal how the delicate, weblike design became a staple of art, craft, fashion, status, and commerce.

“P.LACE.S is on view at the museum and at four sites connected to the history of lace in Antwerp. Presentations at the Plantin-Moretus Museum, which holds one of the oldest archives in the world on the lace trade, and the St. Charles Borromeo Church, home to a large collection of 17th- and 18th-century lace, illuminate the international lace trade and its local production, respectively. At the Snijders & Rockox House, where Nicolaas Rockox, mayor of Antwerp, displayed his art collection, the exhibition focuses on lace as a symbol of wealth and class.

The final location is the Maagdenhuis (Maidens’ House), a former orphanage for girls turned into an art and historical museum.

“Throughout history, lace has been primarily produced by women, and in the 16th century, the Maagdenhuis housed a workshop where they learned sewing and lacemaking. For the show, a film by Rei Nadal inspired by the aesthetic of Dutch 17th-century paintings follows three young girls who lived at the orphanage and made lace. …

“[The MoMu] presentation highlights industry innovations, like 3D printing and laser cutting, that are changing how lace is produced and worn — designers including Iris van Herpen, Azzedine Alaïa, and Prada are all using new technologies and mediums to reimagine the possibilities of the enduring fabric.

“ ‘This ambitious project tells the extraordinary story of the emergence of lace as a new luxury product at the beginning of the sixteenth century, and of the prominent role played by the city of Antwerp: a story of extraordinary professional skill and craftsmanship, technology and innovation, international trade and enterprise,’ writes Debo. ‘It is also a story of girls and women who played an important role not only in the creative process and the production of lace, but also in the commercial activities of the international lace trade.’ ”

More at Hyperallergic, here. You can see some beautiful pictures there.

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You have heard of “slow food” and perhaps “slow money” (a loan with a long time to pay back) and other efforts designed to help us reduce the often meaningless haste of modern life. Well, Cousin Claire has been posting news on Facebook about another slow movement that is sure to intrigue you, Slow Textiles.

Says Slow Fiber Studios on its About page, “We are founded on a simple intention: to offer real-world insight into the multifaceted and holistic practice of textile-making. Slow Fiber Studios™ offers dynamic, hands-on field study programs in diverse areas of the world where textile culture runs deep — India, Mexico, Japan, France, Italy, and on. We believe the best way to understand a philosophy is to see it being lived.”

Here is a description of a 2012 offering: “Special opportunity to travel throughout India with Yoshiko, who has been exploring this country for over 30 years (lived in Ahmedabad in 1983/84 on an Education & Culture Fellowship and frequent 3-month residencies spanning 3 decades). Yoshiko will introduce her friends in India who are involved in welfare, community empowerment, and cultural sustainability projects.

“Tour Highlights: natural dyes, organic cotton cultivation, handloom weaving, khadi, biodynamic farming, architecture, local food and religion, contemporary art and design educational institutions, museums, solar energy development, hand spinning and weaving wild silks and Tibetan wool in Himalayan communities.” More here.

How well I remember the wistful feeling I got in reading the book Lark Rise to Candleford when the beautiful handmade lace was spurned as soon as the factory-made came in. There is something to be said for speed and efficiency, but also something to be said for craft.

Photos: Slow  Fiber Studios

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