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: A 1950s Bathing Suit & 1920s Dress
• Historical Textile Trivia: Witches' Hats
• New Products & Publications: Selbu Patterns, Frisian Whitework, and Embroidered Butterflies
• Customer of the Month: Roz Ritter
• Classes at Lacis: Ribbonwork, Tatting, Bobbin Lace, Irish Crochet, and Tambour Embroidery
• Textile Arts Calendar: Upcoming Workshops, Lectures, and Interviews Online
Join our museum | Sign up for our newsletter | Contact us
Don't miss out on the ribbon flower workshop next weekend—
only one week away!—where you, too, can master the vintage ruffled edge,
and apply it across a multitude of contexts. Imagine the possibilities...!
Hello, lovely Lacis friends! It's been an endless flurry of activity this month for us here at the Museum, and now we're happily welcoming Fall—with its cozy knits, autumnal color palette, and the Halloween costuming season—with open arms.
There's been an exciting new development in our future class schedule: we will be honored by the return of Máire Treanor, longtime Lacis friend and lace crochet instructor from Ireland—coming next Spring!
Irish Rose Garden by Máire Treanor
This piece was exhibited in our April 1 - July 30, 2005 show,
Irish Crochet Lace: 150 Years of a Tradition.
Once again, Máire will lead a most stimulating multi-day Irish crochet workshop, taking place April 20—23, 2022 (that's Wednesday through Saturday).
All you need to know is the very basics of crochet: the chain stitch, single crochet, and double crochet. You'll learn how to make so many pretty, organic floral motifs: the small rose, the large wild rose, shamrock, vine leaves and grapes... If you've ever been lucky enough to see an Irish crochet garment, you'll know exactly how uniquely stunning this kind of lace can be.
Only a $50.00 (nonrefundable) deposit will be required to hold your place, and you can do either all four days for $300—or alternatively, pay $200 for any two days. And of course, for current LMLT members, as well as any returning students of Clones lace, there will be a discount of 10% off. Now, these workshops of Máire's have always filled up quickly, so if you're intrigued, read more and don't miss out!
As far as this past month's classes, we had great fun hosting Patrice Krem's "Delightful Daffodils" ribbon workshop, as well as Part One of Zoya Parkansky's "Tambour Embroidery."
Our Lacis students always astonish and impress us with their dedication to learning new textile arts skills. They already have great plans for their gorgeous, sculptural ribbon daffodil structures as well as their newly burgeoning bead- and sequin-embroidery prowess. So adventurous!
We love to see such newly galvanized artistic spirits, exhilarated by their increasing savvy in new techniques. No doubt they will continue to embellish and beautify the world with their inspired creations.
And, of course, for generously sharing all their hard-won expertise and skills, we heartily thank our teachers, Patrice Krems and Zoya Parkansky. We can't wait to see Zoya and her students back again at the beginning of this month for the second session of their Tambour Embroidery intensive, and Patrice for her vintage ruffled flowers workshop.
In the Museum donations department, Sukey and sister Andrea Lilienthal have been periodically making some generous gifts to Lacis over the past few months. Since they were young, their family has had quite a significant collection of Asian textile art on display in their home, such as Buddhist kesa cloths (meditation robes) hanging as tapestries on the wall.
We were unsurprised, then, to discover that the Lilienthal family is highly artistic; it is probably due in part to the influence of growing up surrounded by such storied, inspiring pieces. For eight years, Sukey, for example, was the Development Director at the Crowden Center, a music-centered private school for children in Oakland, while Andrea has an incredibly striking paper art and sculpture practice, with her various works shown in galleries in New York City.
One of their contributions to the Lacis Museum collection included the item shown above. It's a luxurious antique Chinese winter robe of sea-green padded satin. It elicited audible gasps from us as we inspected it, so gorgeously constructed inside and out. Just take a peek into the sleeve—it's embroidered on the inside, presumably for the exclusive delectation of the wearer. (And, perhaps, whoever may have dressed—and undressed—them?)
What a lovely treat it must have been, having a secret to wear, or to privately share, according to the dictates of one's heart and discretion... Clearly it belonged to a person accustomed to a certain level of comfort, opulence, and mystery in their attire.
This fabulous object piquing your interest? We thought it might.
Christie's has a little collector's guide for these kinds of Chinese robes—
go on, give it a little read. It's fascinating.
Here's a tantalizing preview of what will be coming next month: among other textile treasures, longtime Berkeley resident and Lacis neighbor Eugenie Candau donated to us her collection of colorful Mola panels (coincidentally, not unlike the ones we currently happen to have on display)—a towel dated from 1929 that someone presumably took as a souvenir from a Pullman train car ride —women's clothing dating from the 1890s, 1920s, '30s and '50s—and many beautiful (and some fascinatingly unfinished) pieces of handmade lace.
Pictured above are some detail shots of a pair of gloriously multicolored Tehuantapec embroidered velvet pieces Eugenie obtained in Oaxaca. We found the black velvet ground splendidly soft and plush, and the rainbow-hued rose motifs extravagant, and breathtaking.
However, next month, keep an eye out for the Chinese embroidered heels of green silk, as well as a densely embroidered tapestry from Uzbekistan: they're spectacular, and we can't wait to photograph and share them with you.
And in the realm of customer projects, we've been especially blown away as of late—remember, this is only a tiny sampling of what our immensely talented friends have been up to!
To begin with—look how beautiful and poised our visitor Lucille looks in these earrings she designed. They're adorned with semi-precious, carved green stones that strongly resemble jade and Victorian-style brass stampings that depict cupids playing lutes. These types of stampings are a favorite element that she likes to feature in her work—and she sources them from Lacis!
Lucille loves to make jewelry, ever since childhood. And it's actually something of a team effort: her clever sister supplies her with a great bounty of costume jewelry that she hunts down at garage sales and thrift shops. Lucille then samples from and remixes these finds (which are, of course, of highly variable quality, and being vintage, in varying states of condition) until they're transformed to her liking.
It just goes to show that one's outfit can be quite simple and casual—say, for a day of walking around town, running errands, visiting your favorite textile craft supply shop—but with addition of just one unique, tastefully chosen piece, you'll make a rather more sophisticated impression.
We admire your stylish flair for jewelry-making, Lucille. (Not to mention your sister's secondhand-shopping savvy!) Keep up the great work!
Erika Van Walden has recently returned to California after a long stay in Fiji, where she studied sewing and shirtmaking. She's a total sweetheart and self-acknowledged old soul who dresses with great commitment in a gorgeous 1940s style. Even her hair—as you can see—is a 1940s 'do!
Erika is mad skilled and talented. She made the dress and snood you see above! And she used a Lacis netting shuttle, no less! How cute is that?? Erika, you're a shining example of that WWII, can-do spirit, and such a gracious lady. We salute you.
The lovely Alexis Berger, who does glassblowing and makes the most inspired, deliciously macabre jewelry, stopped by and kindly gave us a progress updated—on what she'd done with the black crochet trim she bought from Lacis—take a look at the hem of her skirt! Isn't that just ideal? And with those bloomers, too... We love your aesthetic, Alexis! We just love that beautifully dark style that you explore in your art—and embody with every fiber of your being. It's just rad.
And look what the brilliant Paloma did! Along with their partner, they run a super-cool, meticulously curated shop called, awesomely, Baba Yaga. Their inventory includes the choicest of vintage things, as well as completely redesigned pieces. And on occasion, they do us the great honor of upcycling vintage Lacis items—like this plain white scalloped-edge collar, to which they added the blue Petersham ribbon and killer mirrored scorpion graphic—utterly transforming it into something completely new and special. (Perfect for the upcoming spooky season of the Scorpio, no?? Be still, our hearts!)
Truly, the brilliance and creativity of all our Lacis friends acquaintances knows no bounds. It is always such a joy to discover their art, and to help provide them with materials and supplies. Lacis friends, you inspire us, and we're your biggest fans. Carry on the good work.
Until next month—kind regards, friends—
Your friends at Lacis
Silk embroidery, China
Mid-20th century 
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.
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.
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 1:00PM & 3:00PM
• 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
This month, Sarah, who bought a stunning black 1950s suimsuit, wrote:
This vintage bathing suit is AMAZING. Beautiful condition for being so old, and fit perfectly on my curvy figure. I also love that my purchase supports a museum. Will absolutely buy from this seller again. 5 out of 5 stars
Thank you so much for your kind review, Sarah! We are so very pleased your gorgeous swimsuit suits you so well. It sounds like its fashion label—Perfection Fit by Roxanne—really keeps its promises...
And Joanna kindly wrote—about the dress shown above—:
Words fail me at how perfect this dress is. Fits like a glove and the condition is more than exceptional. I love its off-black/brown shade and the styling. 5 out of 5 stars
Thank you for taking the time to write us these positive reviews, Joanna and Sarah!
Sending such unique and delicate textile treasures as these through the mail, sometimes to very far-distant strangers, can be a little nerve-wracking. It means a lot to us when our Etsy friends let us know their things arrived safely, and that they're enjoying them! And it always makes us glad to see these pieces going to good homes.
One of the most common and convincing explanations of the origin of the witches' iconic conical hat has been that of the alewife's traditional costume. (Alewives, or brewesses, were women who made beer at home.)
• The 2-foot-long (0.61 m) black felt conical hats discovered on the mummified Witches of Subeshi (from the 4th or 3rd century BCE).
• The somewhat conical, pointy-tipped, almost Phrygian-looking Jewish hat from medieval times. By anti-Semitic papal decree in 1215, adult male Jews were compelled to wear this as a form of instant identification whenever leaving the ghetto.
• Along similar lines: Quaker caps and anti-Quaker prejudice? But... Quaker hats aren't conical in the slightest, so that's a little bit of a stretch.
Don't forget, Lacis Museum Members receive 20% off of books purchased in our Museum shop!
Selbu Patterns by Anne Bårdsgård
Selbu lies close to the heart of Norway's long, narrow geography—and knitting has a place close to Selbu's heart. The coat of arms for the region will confirm this: it's a design of three "selburoses," a geometric floral shape you'll frequently find in this book. All of these patterns are striking in their simultaneous simplicity and complexity: they dazzle the eye, in the high-power contrast of black-and-white, too...
Also, you should read this Object Lesson in The Atlantic, The Star of Norwegian Knitwear: it explores other dimensions of the motif, in Norwegian history, its economics, its folk craft and cottage industries, its national identity.
FRISIAN WHITEWORK: DUTCH EMBROIDERY FROM FRIESLAND
by Yvette Stanton
Where is Friesland, you ask?—Why, it's a coastal province in the north of the Netherlands, of course.
And what's Friesian whitework? Well, it employs white linen thread, on a material of fine white evenweave linen fabric. And the motifs—kind of geometric, blocky, and pixelated—mainly run along thick bands of design. (If you like the Minecraft aesthetic, you'll like this style of embroidery.)
Actually—quick history lesson—these running bands of motifs were thin until about 1600, and got steadily thicker over the ages. We like the examples that include simple little animals and alphabet letters the best. When you learn Frisian whitework, you'll not only learn some Dutch history, but you'll also be picking up on some fun vocabulary: terms like "stopwerk" (drawn thread work)—which, if you stop to think about it, makes so much sense.
THE ART OF EMBROIDERED BUTTERFLIES by
Jane E. Hall
This book is not what it seems from its mere title! Look closely at that cover... Jane actually observes real butterfly species very closely and creates embroidered, three-dimensional, to-scale-sculptures of them.
Have you ever wanted a butterfly specimen collection, but the thought of a pin through a butterfly produces feelings of guilt or queasiness for you? The answer is simple: conjure up your own butterflies, from needle and thread. No insect needs to be harmed.
Jane Hall's designs are everything. Painstakingly detailed, delicately colored, ultra-pretty, deeply inspiring. Embroiderers of nature, butterfly and natural history lovers: do not forget to take a peek into this book the next time you drop by the shop.
Richmond-based textile artist Roz Ritter has been a Lacis friend and cohort for a very long time.
We love her embroidery and fiber arts concepts, and seeing the steadily developing arc of her work as it evolves. For example, for the completed piece pictured below, called "Tapestry of Secrets," you can see the original vintage slip from Lacis, pre-embroidery (upper left), and in the beginning stages of the work (upper right).
With each painstaking stitch, Roz continually draws inspiration from her family. For example, her paternal great-grandmother, Rose, was a seamstress in Franz Joseph of Austria's summer palace. And her father, Lew, was a Beverly Hills haberdasher to the stars.
Yet the work we feature here is dedicated with profound and evident love to her mother. It is a vintage silk slip Roz selected at Lacis, and proceeded to slowly, steadily embellish with some gorgeous embroidery, including an original poem, and a most tender, heartfelt portrait of her mother, Ethel (1909-2001).
3-Petal Flower with Vintage Ruffle Edge
with Patrice Krems
Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021 — 12:30 to 5:00 PM
$55 + $20 kit fee (payable to instructor)
Learn how to make this exquisite vintage 1920s-inspired, hand-gathered ruffled edge three-petal flower with leaves and a bud using thread for the stamens. This dramatic floral adornment is perfect for milliners or anyone looking to elevate their accessory game to the next level.
Beginning Tatting (and Beyond)
with Kevin Baum
Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021 — 12:30 to 4:00 PM
In this class you'll learn the double stitch, which all shuttle tatting is based on. After that comes rings and picots, and then connecting them. This is a multi-level class, so if you need a refresher or would like to further your tatting skills, this is the class for you!
Kevin Baum is an accomplished tatter and teacher with many years of experience. He's taught classes at both Lacis and the San Francisco School of Needlework and Design.
Elevate Your Embellishments
with Kim Van Antwerp
Saturday, Oct. 23, 2021 — 12:30 to 4:30 PM
$40 + $56 kit fee (payable to instructor)
This new class will offer an opportunity to create an eye-catching, one-of-a-kind sampler using special embellishment materials! You will be initiated into the world of Shrinkets plastic, a plastic that can be shaped into ruffles, cups and saucer shapes. Shrinkets provide the perfect canvas for velvety rich color and fine detail when used with colored pencils. They're lightweight, colorful, and catch the light like stained glass. What more could you want in an art material?
Kim Van Antwerp is internationally recognized for her work with wool, beads and body ornament. Her work has been published in various books and magazines, and she has taught both needle felting and bead weaving at venues across the United States. Read about her artistic inspiration and process in this interview from 2019 with SparkleSwap, an online beading community.
with Patrice Krems
Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021 — 12:30 to 6:00 PM
$55.00 + $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!
with Máire Treanor
April 20—23 2022 — 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM
$300.00 for all 4 days (or $100/day with a $200.00 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 sumptuously, 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.
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!
• October 17: IOLI Lace Lecture Series presents: "Lace from the the Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection" with Maeve M. Hogan, discussing the curatorial vision of the Lynn Mecklenburg Textile Gallery
• October 16: Beyond the Warp and the Weft: Ikat Textiles of Savu Island, East Indonesia with Geneviève Duggan
• October 23: To Teach and Inspire: The Julia Brenner Textile Collection exhibition at the DeYoung debuts, with a dazzling array of 18th- to 20th-century printed textiles
Manufactured by H. R. Mallinson & Company, Designed by Walter Mitschke, Dress fragment: "Paradise Valley, Mount Rainier," 1927. Silk, complex weave, cylinder printed. Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Gift of Mrs. Gustave Brenner, 55237.7
• October 6: Contemporary Embroidery Design with inspired textile artist and designer (and gifted math student—and Harvard business school alumni—) Devi Vallabhaneni
• October 23: The Work of Professional Embroiderer Jenny Adin-Christie, of Derbyshire, England, who trained at the Royal School of Needlework, at Hampton Court Palace. Jenny's talk will provide a unique insight into the now-extinct form of apprenticeship training and follow the life and career of a professional embroiderer
• October 20: Caring for your Clothes, an online talk with upcyclist Orsola de Castro, darning guru Hikaru Noguchi and conservation expert Zenzie Tinker
• October 23: Painted Furniture with Annie Sloan, queen of color and inventor of Chalk Paint—an in-depth DIY/home decorating online workshop
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
The Lacis Museum of Lace & Textiles
2982 Adeline St.
Berkeley, CA 94703