Contents in This Month's Issue
• A Letter to Our Friends
• Current Exhibit: The Bird in the Textile Arts
• Featured Exhibit in our Museum Shop:
‣ Kuna Molas of the San Blas Archipelago
‣ The Shetland Lace Sampler of Cathy Adair-Clark of Windsor, Colorado
• Ongoing Exhibits: Worn to Dance—1920s Fashion & Beading
• Recently Sold in Our Etsy Shop: 1960s Citrus Sherbet & Silk
• Historical Textile Trivia: Powhatan's Map Habit/Mantle/Cloak; or Wall-Hanging
• New Products & Publications:
‣ Old-School Scissors and Futuristic Finger-Flashlights
‣ New Books at Lacis for the Holidays!
• Customer of the Month: Eran Inbar, Professional Outsider
‣ The Artist in His Own Words
• Classes at Lacis: Ribbonwork, Bobbin Lace & Irish Crochet
• Textile Arts Calendar: Upcoming Workshops, Lectures, & Interviews Online
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At Lacis, with the darkness of Daylight Savings Time descending, the increasing chill in the air, the occasional stormy weather driving us indoors, we all transition into an annual routine of more domestic activities—sure, retreating a little from the world, but also entering a happy state of productivity.
Autumn is when we embark on projects of cozy hats and sweaters and afghans for our loved ones, near and far, whom we wish we could embrace, but can only offer our affection and care to from a distance, in the form of useful, thoughtfully handmade presents. Every year, we happily anticipate seeing many such projects of yours: they warm your loved ones, but they warm our hearts. So keep them coming!
Speaking of finishing projects: the second part of Zoya Parkansky's Tambour Beading workshop in early October was an invigorating sight to behold. The students had used the time between the first and second sessions to practice and master their chain stitching, and look how beautifully they did!
Zoya's own pearl-encrusted lily design, executed with a tambour needle on black tulle. Take a behind-the-scenes peek at her beautiful inspiration board to see the historic dress that inspired this piece!
We're so inspired and encouraged by the enthusiasm of our Lacis students.
Máire Treanor's popular Clones Lace workshop is filling up quickly, as usual, and our returning instructors, like the masterful Lynn McMasters and the brilliant Catherine Scholar, are positively bubbling with the most thrilling ideas for new classes.
And that's why we're beyond excited to announce that a whole new roster of classes is currently in the works at Lacis!
You can look forward to future announcements regarding Beginning and Intermediate Tatting (tatted hearts for February, anyone?), Beginning and Continuation Bobbin Lace, more Tambour Beading workshops (due to high demand!)—fingers crossed—Vintage Millinery and Accessories classes...
We'll be posting all the new details as they develop, so stay tuned.
This month we have an abundance of curiosities to share with you all.
Let's begin with a well-preserved paper ephemera antique: "Metropolitan Magazine" from Autumn and Winter of 1897.
We invite you to inspect a few of its pages, including this remarkable selection of "Garments Suitable for Athletic Exercises and Outdoor Sports, including Gymnastics, Cycling, Equestrianism, Pedestrianism, Golf, Hunting, Fishing, Yachting and Bathing." Talk about versatility in your wardrobe.
This remarkable donation was made by Louise Toby, and sure to be most illuminating. Also, it was kept in many years in a paper bag from a now-extinct shop, which some of you Bay Area locals may remember—The Emporium.
(And for those of you who don't...)
As promised last month, these green silk shoes, embroidered with romantic pink flowers on the toes and long-tailed butterflies, were part of the Eugenie Candau donation.
And both of these pieces were part of the Lilienthal Family donation, a small part of which we described to you in October:
An ivory-colored silk Chinese robe with prominent, intimidating dragon pair motif, and an exquisitely detailed, hand-sewn cotton lawn dress, covered in stunning whitework embroidery.
As for this astonishing Normandy lace bed coverlet...! Here we see an antique lace sheet, painstakingly embellished with elaborate portraits of 15th-century European nobility, including Anne de Bourgogne. She was the daughter of a Bavarian duchess and the duke of Burgundy, and in 1423, was given in marriage to a son of King Henry IV of England.
Now, might this item represent a mere souvenir, a history lesson preserved in textile art—or a specially-commissioned, commemorative item intended to celebrate one's claims to ancestry, or establish one's claims to it?
Or is it simply an ambitious lacemaker's project, perhaps, depicting royal figures in a bid to command a royal price? If we ever find out more, we'll be sure to let you know.
This month we were honored to receive the bequest of Mary Meier, great-great-granddaughter of Aaron Meier, one of the founders of the Meier & Frank department stores of the Pacific Northwest.
As you can see from the photos, the name has quite a storied past. Originally founded in 1857, it which would later become part of Macy's in the mid-1960s. (If you're curious, you can read about her grandfather, Julius Meier—he served as governor of Oregon from 1931-1935, seeing it through some of the darkest days of the Depression Era. And here's a cool vintage snapshot of Aaron and Frank together.)
Mary's special collection of household textiles included an embroidered linen table set, featuring a charming entourage of Renaissance-era musician figures (which came in a fabulous storage box, splendidly decorated with dragons straight out of illuminated manuscripts). In a surfeit of detail, each character is playing their own instrument and wearing their own distinctive European courtly costume.
Also donated by the Meier family was a large set of Hardanger-work pieces. Note the particular asymmetry present in these exquisite works on linen: it's not an indication that the finished pieces are in need of blocking, but rather, a testament to the fact that they were entirely, painstakingly, executed by hand. That irreproducible wabi-sabi factor, we feel, is an essential part of their inherent beauty. And look how gorgeously that length of embroidery is stored, rolled up like a precious scroll!
Well, that's it for this month, friends. Enjoy your autumn holidays—stay safe, cozy and warm—and give thanks.
As for us at Lacis, we take this opportunity to once more express our heartfelt gratitude for this close-knit community of textile-lovers. Fellow creatives and collaborators—collectors and conservationists—generous and civic-minded patrons who contribute their donations, in the interests of our shared material heritage and culture, here in Berkeley, California: all lovers of art, craft, and the applied arts: you are what bring this unique and curious place to life, and give it special meaning and particular significance. Your continued enthusiasm and support is a priceless gift. Thank you!
From right to left: Samantha Stephens, Aunt Clara, Endora, Cousin Serena.
Some Halloween fun for the Lacis weekend staff.
Study this piece closely—how many birds do you see? We counted at least 18.
Embroidered astrological panel depicting constellations
Early 20th c., India 
The bird in literature and on canvas has long held its place through all civilizations and all times.
The bird captured in thread and textiles is more obscure and less defined. Depicted by a single thread, a bountiful palette of threads, a thread following a hook or threads flowing in harmony through the bobbins of lace, the bird is captured by the hands of the creator.
This amazing presentation captures this spirit from Pre-Columbian Peru to the earliest of laces to a world of unbound wealth of thread, color and needle.
Let's play "spot the bird"! Hint: It looks like nothing so much as a very cute duck, floating on the water!
Give up? Here's an image with the "duck" enhanced. (Once you see it, you can't un-see it!)
Fragmentary gauze weave, Peru — Pre-Columbian circa 14th c. 
These beautiful examples of Mola are representative of a recent donation from Carolyn Stratton Darby Gragg, of Piedmont. They were obtained—literally—in the waters of Panama:
"We spent quite a bit of time there visiting while we were on our sailboat in 2008. We bartered for some of them with fishing gear, i.e. hooks, lines, buckets and with sewing and school supplies."
The Kuna people would navigate their small boats (dugout canoes called ulu) out into the bay of the archipelago, where Carolyn's own vessel was anchored, to make these trades.
A traditional art form of the Kuna people of Panama on the San Blas Islands, the Mola panels are part of their traditional costume, with matching panels worn on the front and back of a blouse.
The distinctive Mola employs a reverse-applique base using multiple layers of colorful fabric, with surface embroidery embellishments to complement the designs. Themes range from the purely organic to geometric, with the colorful local bird population as an obvious subject—a fitting tie-in to our newly-opened exhibit, The Bird in the Textile Arts. When you get a chance, drop into the Museum Shop to see eight of Carolyn's gorgeous Mola panels on display!
Can't get enough of these electrifying colors, and tales of ocean voyages, exploration and adventure? Blogger Mira Nencheva of The Life Nomadik extensively documented her time among the Kuna people, in writing and photographs—including about their aforementioned style of nautical trading and their Mola-making tradition. The University of Oregon's Museum of Natural and Cultural History has some nice Molas available to look at online, too.
Sections of the Shetland Lace Sampler of Cathy Adair-Clark
This generous donation of decorative textile artworks from Cathy Adair-Clark is a tour de force of talent and devotion to the world of needlework, specifically her world of knitting and Shetland yarns: "I fell in love with Shetland sheep and their fleeces, and that has ruled my life since 2007."
The magnificent Shetland lace sampler she constructed in 2012 is 8 feet by 6½ feet, comprising 67 different fleeces of yarn, all hand-spun by Cathy herself. We also have her personally compiled tome of sketches available for your perusal, with each motif and its pattern, along with sources and progress reports, all passionately and fastidiously documented.
Now open for tours by appointment!
• Masks are required for all individuals
• Tours are $3.00 per person and must be reserved in advance—calling us at (510) 843-7290 is best
• Tours can be scheduled for Monday, Tuesday or Saturday at 1:00 PM & 3:00 PM
• Tours have a (2) person minimum & (10) person maximum
• For Museum Members and their guests (4 max), tours are free!
• Please note that the second-floor gallery at this time is only accessible via stairs
Almost 100 years ago, with the dawn of the Jazz Age, life changed dramatically for women in America. Suddenly the 1920s woman could vote, drive, spend her own money, smoke and drink in public, cut off her long hair, expose her calves, forgo her corset and—perhaps most iconic of all—she could dance.
The most iconic pastime of the 1920s was dancing in nightclubs and speakeasies. Here women and men could freely socialize to the rhythm of Hot Jazz.
That rhythm is most clearly made visual in the image of the flapper, with her (relatively) short dress, which sparkled in the dim lights, given heft, form and movement by the innumerable beads sewed to its simple shift-shaped form.
These dresses, like the Jazz Age itself, were never destined to last. With the weight of the beads continually testing their union with the fragile silk, their eventual collapse was inevitable, as evidenced by the beads abandoned on the dance floor when the party was over.
This is why, though the dresses remained the quintessential symbol of the times, so few of them remain today. By attentive restoration, we have been able to present examples of these dresses as they appeared when they first shone, as well as fascinating examples of dresses in different stages of construction process.
From the collection of LMLT; conceived of and curated by the LMLT staff
Running from November 16, 2019—Extended end date TBD
How incredible is this 1960s pillbox hat? We got such a kick out of it! It's lavishly dressed in goose and coque feathers—the wildly daring, energizing color of orange sherbet—and proudly Union Made in U.S.A. If it doesn't instantly bring to mind the ultra-classy fashion icon Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, let us help you with that. (You're welcome!)
We also sold an ultra-mod "Pat de Mimi" label short shift dress, constructed with the prettiest raw silk and a Mandarin collar. Groovy, huh? These cutting-edge '60s fashions just hit different in 2021. Follow our Etsy shop and find a fab midcentury modern piece to call your own!
This hauntingly beautiful, staggeringly proportioned royal artifact is made from several deerskins (two? four?), and features shell beadwork with circles that map the balance of power among the Native American societies of the Chesapeake tidewater region circa of the early 1600s, not far from where Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Indians shared a certain seminal autumn harvest feast.
There's just something about a massive piece, constructed of leather, sewn together with sinew, and embellished with thousands of tiny white shells, that really commands your attention.
There's some dispute about what this gorgeous piece is, exactly. As mentioned above, its enormity is staggering—over seven feet by five feet!—and while non-Native descriptions would have it be called a mantle, a cloak, or, in adorably archaic early Modern English, a "habit", nowadays there's argument for it being, in fact, something like a tapestry in function. Either way, we found the deer and wolf figures surrounding the central human-shaped deity (or is it perhaps Powhatan himself?) particularly haunting.
This precious object—whether wall-hanging or garment—lives far from its place of origin by the vast estuaries of the Chesapeake Bay ("Chesapeake," to the Susquehanock, meaning "great shellfish bay"), at the Ashmolean Museum, the University of Oxford's museum of art and archaeology, founded in 1683.
It was possibly a gift from Powhatan to King James I. That makes sense given its assertive aesthetic qualities. For many viewers, it may have an overwhelming air of foreboding, like a harbinger of cultural crisis and calamity. The fact that it resides in England to this day speaks volumes.
Whatever its truth, the Ashmolean's sentiments are ones with which we can wholly agree: they describe the mantle as totally "unique with no known parallels. It is beautifully constructed, and the design executed with precision. It represents a major investment of artistic skill and labour, and must always have been prized." In the eyes of all you craftspeople—particularly the leatherworkers, embroiderers, and beaders among you—that much, at least, is manifestly obvious and patently uncontroversial. This work of art is a complicated monument to many things: great craft is one of them.
3¾" Embroidery Scissors with Floral Design
Let us guess. You like tradition. You like to stitch. You enjoy the aesthetic of antique scissors, but you don't want to compromise on the guaranteed sharpness and functionality of new ones. Well, these sharp little floral-decorated embroidery scissors have an old-school look. They come in a moody dark pewter finish. They measure a wee 3¾" high. And come entirely in plastic-free packaging. We don't think it gets any sweeter or smarter than that.
1½" Finger Light
The nights are growing longer, but don't sacrifice your knitting or crocheting time due to a poor lighting situation! These dazzlingly bright LEDs are worn on the finger, and with a hook-and-eye-tape loop, they're so comfortable and light, you'll forget that you're wearing them. This is perfect for you insomniac night owl crafters, magpie gadget addicts, and lock-picking cat burglars out there.
La Dentelle: Dans L'Art Contemporain by Blandine Pouzin
Soon to be available at Lacis is the French title from Un Dimanche Aprés-Midi ("A Sunday Afternoon," creative publishers par excellence), La Dentelle: Dans L'Art Contemporain ("Lace in Contemporary Art," exactly our cup of tea).
Written by Blandine Pouzin, an author who has previously expounded on the "virtues, secrets and flavors" of olive oil—though that book, too, is in French—this gloriously produced tome explores "artistic expression in lace through the works of 30 international artists," including Kaethe Kliot, the original founder of Lacis.
Piecework (Winter 2021)
This winter's PieceWork magazine contains a deep dive into the concept of closures—"closures of all kinds.
"Collectable or common, stoic or whimsical, the buttons, pins, laces, and zippers connecting sections of a garment offer an opportunity for embellishment as well as function.
"On another level, closure means an end; historically, some textiles were employed to ferry individuals through transitions. Fabrics and embroidery were used to mourn a death in a family or nation. A bride stepping from childhood to married life might have worn a veil of white lace or vibrant red silk depending on where she lived. From lacings to the ladders of social change," asks PieceWork, "what does 'closure' mean to you?"
They've also recently wrapped up their three-part series on Safe Storage: Protecting Historic Needlework at Home, which may be of interest to all our fellow vintage and antique textile lovers. If you're the steward responsible for some special textile treasures for any length of time, we urge you to take a look in case there's anything you might have missed.
There were way too many amazing new books this month to try and fit all into one newsletter!
Check out these impressive and smart new titles!
This past year, we would occasionally be visited by young Eran Inbar from Israel, eclectic embroiderer and professional outsider. He initially came to check out our selection of freestanding embroidery frames. (Always experimenting, as you'll soon see, our Eran is.) He had a quiet, unassuming demeanor, but his gentle presence could be felt in other, subtle ways, even after he had gone.
Compelled to investigate this mysterious fellow further, we were thrilled to discover that Eran has a beautifully unique vision and body of work, and we wanted to share some of it with you.
Eran's works are diverse, but taken as a whole, they are all recognizably him—undeniable, magnificently complex parts of him. They encompass a wide-ranging spectrum, visually, from the chaotic-organic to anatomically accurate, realistic representations of human—usually male—figures.
Through all these experiments, Eran has developed a sort of visual language of his own. We love what he does to Rolling Stone Magazine covers, and his trio of red-eyed bunnies embroidered on blue striped ticking, for example. But the most wonderful thing about Eran Inbar? He recognizes the beauty that lies on the underside of the embroidery frame. His evocative embroidered works radiate with his own palpable sense of wonder and appreciation for the beautiful, the different, the beautifully different.
We know you're intrigued by Eran's work and want to know more.
Read about the artist in his own words.
with Patrice Krems
Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021 — 12:30 PM to 6:00 PM
$55 + $20 kit fee (payable to instructor)
This versatile ornament is often seen on the clothes of the 1910s and 20s—learn to fashion wired ribbon into stunning cabochon roses and add an instant splash of vintage panache to an ensemble!
Continuation Bobbin Lace Workshop
with Eva Gergely
Saturday, November 13 — 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM
Designed for those who have already taken the Beginning Bobbin Lace class, as well as anyone else who is familiar with the basic motions and stitches of Bobbin Lace (Whole Stitch, Half Stitch, Linen Stitch). You will learn how to combine the various stitches and create simple patterns, motifs, grounds and spider stitches; as well as the basics of Torchon Lace and Idrija Lace, and how to use a crochet hook for basic joinings.
with Máire Treanor
April 20—23 2022 — 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM
$300 for all 4 days (or $100/day with a $200 minimum)
Learn to make Irish crochet lace! Students just need to know how to chain stitch, single crochet, and double crochet. You'll learn how to make the sumptuous, wildly organic motifs that comprise gorgeous Clones lace: the small rose, the large wild rose, shamrock, vine leaves and grapes...
Máire Treanor completed her degree in Irish Studies at the University of Ulster, and was employed by Irish World as a development officer when she discovered the lace of Clones, Ireland (located in the Border Region). She's worked hard to revive the tradition since the late '80s, authoring the book Clones Lace: The Story and Patterns of an Irish Crochet (republished by Lacis in 2010) and teaching Irish crochet all over the world.
with Zoya Parkansky
Saturday, Sept. 18 & Oct. 2, 2021 — 10:00 to 5:00 PM
Well, Zoya, you've done it again.
Beginning Tatting & Beyond
with Kevin Baum
Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021 — 12:30 to 4:00 PM
Did you miss out on our latest series of tatting classes? Not to worry, we have plans for more in the pipeline! Keep an eye on our Facebook page or request to be put on the waitlist so you'll be the first to know.
Are you promoting an educational textile event,
and you'd like to see it posted in a future Lacis Newsletter?
Contact us, and let's see if we're a good fit!
• November 6: The Making of "Patrick Kelly—Runway of Love" with curator Laura Camerlengo. Don't miss the incredible Kelly retrospective at the DeYoung: this updated exhibition features almost eighty fully accessorized ensembles spanning 1984-1990
• November 13: Annual Textile Bazaar is a unique event—held at St. Mary's Cathedral in SF—hosting a mix of vendors who offer a wide range of textiles, jewelry, and home accessories from the creative community around the world and from the Bay Area. (And as if that wasn't enticement enough, admission and parking are free)
• November 24: Underwear and Nightwear with Amy Hare
• December 1: Caring for the Royal Collection with Caroline de Guitaut
• December 1: From Page to Frame, wherein Dr Susan Kay-Williams (the RSN's Chief Executive) will interview some ranks of the talented authors of the RSN, including Emi Nimura, a tutor at the RSN's satellite school in Japan and author of the RSN's definitive guide to goldwork
Lacis friend Cassiane Mobley is a local English country dance and vintage ballroom instructor!
Check out her YouTube videos for much Jane Austen-related edification!
• From #VirtualJaneCon2021: "A Regency dancer analyzes Jane Austen's ballroom scenes"
• Regency Dancing in Bridgerton: Cassiane explores the popular dances of Regency London
And here's one more event for you Regency lovers!
• December 2: Global Fashion in the Age of Jane Austen is a free Zoom webinar wherein fashion historian Hilary Davidson talks about the Indian textile trade and influences of eastern fashion in English Regency dress
The Lacis Museum of Lace and Textiles is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation. We are a unique legacy museum located in Berkeley, California. We host a wide range of hands-on workshops, several galleries of rotating exhibits, and our Museum Shop carries an extensive supply of vintage goods, craft- and costume-related books, and needlework supplies.
Our purpose is to:
• Preserve lace and textiles of all cultures from all periods
• Provide a resource center for research and documentation of these objects
• Educate and disseminate knowledge of lace and textiles
For just $25.00, you can become an official, card-carrying Lacis Museum Member for a year—and enjoy exclusive benefits! Get your membership via our Etsy shop, or alternatively, contact us in a number of other ways to join this vitally important circle of Lacis friends. We thank you for your support!
• 10% discount at our Etsy shop for purchases over $50
• 20% off books purchased at the Lacis Museum shop
• Free museum admission for you and up to (4) guests
• Special invitation to show openings
• Class discounts
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The Lacis Museum of Lace & Textiles
2982 Adeline St.
Berkeley, CA 94703