Ways to document lacemaking

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Every piece of lace we make tells a story.  Recording that story can enrich our lacemaking experience and play an important role in telling our lace history.

Lacemaking is labour intensive, painstaking, and repetitive, and the intimate nature of the process creates a deep connection between the maker and the piece of lace.

When we add this emotional connection to the physical documentation of a piece, we create a meaningful chronicle of our time and place in history – for future generations.

Old images of bobbin lacemakers intrigue me.  When I look at the old images, I want to know their stories; I want to know the when, what, and where of their lacemaking.  I study the old photographs to figure out their surroundings and I wonder about the bobbins, pillows, and tools and especially, what was happening in their world while they were making lace.

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We need to show how historically important our own lacemaking is.  Whether we choose to make traditional, contemporary, or subversive statements in lace, it is all part of a bigger story.   And we need to document that story – as we go.

Documenting lacemaking can be as complicated or as simple as we wish it to be.  You can choose to do it digitally and store it in the cloud with software programs designed to document collections, or you can do it the old-fashioned way with a scrapbook or album.

While my lace blog is probably a first step towards digital documentation, my old album still gives me the most pleasure and that is what I would like to share with you today.

I use an album with archival standard pockets and papers – to protect my lace and memories for future generations.

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I prefer to document my work in an album because I want to capture the joy of the entire process and I want all my practice pieces, samples, flops, and photos, to be part of my lace story.

I use a template to record the details of every piece of lace that I make.  The template includes details like:

  • lacemaker
  • place
  • lace type
  • pattern
  • publisher
  • number of bobbins
  • thread
  • start date
  • finish date
  • collection

In addition, I add things like receipts, research, and photographs of the process.

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Most importantly, I add a short statement and story about the piece – to reflect on the process and to provide context of time, place, daily life, and state of mind.

My lace documentation may not be as heroic or significant as the Bayeux Tapestry, but I believe memories are among the most precious of all treasures and a lace album will one day be part of the family history and it will leave a trace of an existence.

Here are a few examples of pages and stories from my album.

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The Internet gives us access to the world’s biggest photo album or scrapbook, namely, Pinterest – a real gift for image hoarders.   If you want to have a look at my Pinterest picture collection of bobbin lacemakers click on: https://www.pinterest.com/letslace/bobbin-lace-makers/

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Thanks for visiting my blog and Pinterest page.  I will see you in two weeks’ time!

5 thoughts

  1. I enjoy your reading your blog and I am impressed with your recording skills. I wish I had done that as I often rummage about trying to find evidence of something I had made. Even if I had appropriately stored just the pattern or pricking.

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    1. I use paper that is acid-free and lignin-free. But also speak to you local framer about best quality acid-free paper for conservation purposes (archival standard).

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