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
• Featured Exhibit in our Museum Shop: 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: An Art Deco Cosmetics Compact, 1950s Lace Fan & 1920s Step-in Romper
• Historical Textile Trivia: The Meaning of Lacis
• New Products & Publications: Sashiko for Making & Mending and Knits From Around Norway
• Customer of the Month: Toby St. John & Her Miniature Rugs
• Classes at Lacis: Ribbonwork, Tatting & Bobbin Lace, and Tambour Embroidery
• Textile Arts Calendar: Upcoming Workshops, Lectures, and Interviews Online
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We've had an exciting past few weekends here at the museum, because if you haven't already heard, we've resumed hosting classes once more! We so appreciate our students and the inspiring, congenial energy they bring to each workshop. And it's wonderful to see what they create.
First, Patrice Krems led Pleated Pansy: A Ribbon Flower Class. Look how much fun everyone had making pleated pansies! Those flowers look absolutely gorgeous. Don't miss out on Patrice's next ribbon-work flowers class in September, Delightful Daffodils—those are equally exquisite.
Then, the following weekend, Kevin Baum taught Beginning Tatting. We are glad to welcome Patrice and Kevin—and all you Lacis friends hungry for new textile skills!—back to Lacis.
And finally, this past weekend, Eva Gergely directed the ever-popular and long-awaited Beginning Bobbin Lace workshop. Everyone did swimmingly, and by the end of the day, had many inches of bobbin lace ground on their pillows, showcasing several different stitches! Marvelously done, Eva. (And students!)
We're also excited to announce a brand-new class on offer at Lacis this fall: Kim Van Antwerp's "Elevate Your Embellishments" sampler workshop!
Recently Kim, ever innovative in her art practice, has been experimenting with a curiously customizeable polystyrene plastic media called "Shrinkets", achieving marvelous effects in her sculpture and jewelry-making. (Check out illustrator-educator Julie Haymaker's work—she developed the "Shrinkets" shrink plastic bead-making molds, which allows them to be formed into organic, three-dimensional floral shapes.)
Kim has also been creating these shockingly gorgeous, iridescent oil-slick-color plume sequins (she has them custom-made in France!), as well as working with silk-wrapped wires, hand-painted ribbons, and pearlized linen fabric.
Intrigued? You'll be exploring all of these whimsical and unique materials in this workshop. It's perfect for artists and hobbyists looking to push the boundaries of what's already known, and to create something entirely new and unique. The possibilites are endless!
One of our lovely readers wrote to us:
"I am a long time supporter of the museum and happened to have
forwarded the last newsletter to a very crafty young woman in England.
You may be interested in her response, which as you see is
enthusiastic! Glad to hear she is sharing it, too." And from the letter:
"...This is darling. You click one link and you go down a rabbit hole of more and more wonderful stuff. I love the Mucha by Moonlight event where you meet online for tea and sewing but it is strongly encouraged that you dress up for the event. Of course!... I forwarded this to so many people..."
We are most gratified to hear that this little monthly missive provides our textile-loving community with some measure of enjoyment. Thank you so much for your feedback, and for spreading the love. The arts and crafts unites us all.
This gorgeous dress and recent donation just became a part of the permanent collection.
The label on the inner waist belt reads: "The White House San Francisco." It also has the name "Walker" handwritten inside. Lucky Ms. Walker got to promenade around as a lovely brown pouter pigeon, about a century ago!
This item was donated by Jessica A. Little on behalf of Constance Williams, and they very much enjoyed seeing these jaw-dropping photographs. The dress once belonged to Constance's grandmother, Constance Lucille Branstetter Edwards. Constance Williams wrote:
"I am at a loss to know who Mrs. Walker was... I have a feeling that she might have been a friend of my grandmother's but that is conjecture. I had an affinity for the gorgeous clothes of my mother (mostly I. Magnin) and my grandmother's (I think she designed some of her cruise dinner wear) but they were both fabulous. This dress hung in there somehow although we will never know who Mrs. Walker was..."
It's splendid to have such an intimate firsthand account from the donor! In fact, this dress has a great deal of local historic significance. The White House was the first department store in San Francisco, originally on the corner of Post and Grant. Its second location on Kearny and Post was destroyed in the 1906 earthquake. By the styling details of this dress, it could have come from this second store. (Its third location, clad in all white terra cotta, still stands on the corner of Grant and Sutter, and is currently a Banana Republic store and public parking garage.)
Almost one year ago precisely, Karen Nelson donated an antique firescreen to our Museum. It's really amazing: one side is embroidered with an elegant figure in 17th century European clothing, and the other side is decorated in swirling leaves and paisley motifs. And until now, we had no idea whose needlework this may have been—nor, really, any hope of ever finding out.
Yet just recently we received a fascinating update from Karen—including an exciting 100-year-old photograph—that revealed much about its provenance and embroiderer!
The fire screen in situ on the left, and on the right, the fabulous needlepoint embroidery on the reverse of the screen, depicting a fine gentleman in Rococo dress. The colors on this side of the screen are brighter than those of the reverse, perhaps because (as you can see from the photograph) it would seem that the opposite side (with the paisley design) was preferred for facing toward the room, and exposed to the slow color-degrading effects of the sunlight.
"The living room photo showing the firescreen," Karen writes, "was taken about 100-110 years ago in Seattle. On the back of the photo are notes from my grandmother, Priscilla, about the origin of the firescreen.
"It references my great-grandmother (Ida, Priscilla's mother) and notes the firescreen was made by Ida's grandmother, Martha Partlow Middleton. Martha was born in Oxfordshire, England in 1829, married and moved to the United States in 1850 and after living in Niagara, NY, lived in Greenville, Michigan where she died in 1912."
The back of the photo shown here says on the reverse, in fine, delicately penned script: "Mirror wedding present to Ida & Henry W. H. Andersen, Jr. (Priscilla's parents). Cedar chest small rocker belongs to Karen & Roxanne. Great-Great-Grandmother Martha Partlow Middleton (Ida's Grandmother) made fire screen."
How lovely is that? We were simply floored. Thank you so much for providing us with these details, Karen! Such precious information enriches our understanding and appreciation of these unique items.
Now also part of the Lacis collection is this incredible 1920s teal cocoon coat, a generous gift from Glennis Briggs of Berkeley. Interestingly, the matching muff is slightly newer than the coat itself. The distinctive shape of its metal Talon zipper would indicate that it was made in the 1930s. (It's the closure for a hidden coin pocket inside the muff!)
The most sumptuous part of this garment might not be the velvet or even the fur, but its silk charmeuse inner lining, scattered with the most stunning Cattleya orchid motif, in delicate pinks and greys. What a sensual delight it is, inside and out!
Until next month—kind regards, everyone, and many, many thanks to our supporters, donors, and readers alike—
Your friends at Lacis
Bullion embroidery from China, early 19th c. 
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
Did you know we carry items other than household linens and garments in our Etsy shop?
On occasion, we have splendid little vintage items like this Art Deco makeup compact and mid-century black lace and lacquer folding fan. The compact still had foundation powder, pink blush, cake mascara, eyeshadow, and lipstick in it—a fascinating glimpse into the cosmetic color trends of the past.
As it happens, we still have over half a dozen truly elegant vintage and antique folding fans in stock right now—and they're the most expressive and unique fashion accessories imaginable. Don't miss them!
Suzanne Gibson, art director for film projects like the 1996 PBS TV series American Masters, for one, comes to visit Lacis perhaps once a year or so, and we are always overjoyed when she does.
Suzanne's passion and appreciation for antique and vintage textiles is second to none! She's an experienced and conscientious restorer and conserver of these treasures, so we love to see what she selects for her personal collection and professional inventory (she runs a vintage operation herself, called "Memory & Muchness Vintage".)
We held a charming 1920s step-in romper for her that she discovered in our shop on her birthday visit. (We are honored when people spend their birthdays hanging out at Lacis!) Its sweet embroidery—bullion roses and scalloped-edge hem—was almost, but not quite, finished by its original needleworker. Suzanne's going to tackle the project of bringing it home to completion! She kindly wrote to us:
Thank you so much for doing this for me! I tell all my customers to shop with you, buy needlework and conservation supplies from you, because we all need to support the special independent businesses in our industry. If it becomes only an Amazon world, then I couldn't have a wonderful day spending hours looking at and buying beautiful things. You are all the best!
Thank you again, Suzanne
We so appreciate your feedback, support, enthusiasm and expertise, Suzanne. Can't wait to have you back again next year!
We are often asked what the "Lacis" in "Lacis Museum of Lace & Textiles" means; well, here comes the answer, folks.
And, just FYI: scientist, textile historian, tailor and longtime SCA enthusiast Aurelia of FemaleTailor.com has an amazing paper online documenting her extremely historically-grounded creation of a lacis cup cover. She even purchased her steel netting shuttle for the project from Lacis! Very, very cool. We highly recommend checking it out—this is a great read.
Don't forget, Lacis Museum Members receive 20% off of books purchased in our Museum shop!
We've added another book about sashiko to our catalog!
It's Saki Iiduka's Sashiko for Making & Mending. In an age where fast fashion is fast losing its charms, you can never have too many practical books about mending and conserving. Let's make our clothes last forever!
Also recently arrived is Knits From Around Norway, by Nina Granlund Saether. It makes a nice companion piece to Socks from Around Norway (not to mention Woven Coverlets of Norway, Knit like a Norwegian, Norwegian Mittens & Gloves, etc.—these are a people who know how to keep warm! —and productively use their time indoors during inclement weather!)
Here you can see one of Lacis friend Toby St. John's miniature needlepoint works in progress!
Toby has been making replicas like this kilim for many, many years. In that time she has amassed quite a collection of illustrated books on oriental rugs. She'll make a photocopy of a rug that she likes and study it for months to precisely re-create its exact pattern and colors in small-scale form.
Compare the work in progress on the left, on a stretched 18 HPI canvas, with Toby's printed reference image on the right—the level of detail is astonishing. Those minuscule stitches...!
Toby naturally enjoys the intensive planning and the stitching stages, but when it finally comes time for blocking the item, she finds she encounters a little bit more resistance and difficulty. In this case, fortunately, she has a considerable amount of stitching to go before she has to worry about that. Keep up the good work, Toby! We're endlessly charmed by your tiny rugs!
Delightful Daffodils: A Ribbon Flower Class
with Patrice Krems
Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021 — 12:30 to 5:00 PM
$55 + $20 kit fee (payable to instructor)
Learn how to construct delightful pleated daffodils out of French wired ribbon! Using these techniques, you can transform flat ribbons into an elaborate three dimensional ruffled confection.
Among the techniques you will learn will be ruching for the calyx, a 6-petal "U" gathered flower for the base, and how to gather and form the pleated ribbon into a cup. If time permits, Patrice will also demonstrate how to make a beaded tassel that cascades from the end of the calyx.
Tambour Embroidery • SOLD OUT
with Zoya Parkansky
Saturday, Sept. 18 & Oct. 2, 2021 — 10:00 to 5:00 PM
Learn the hook embroidery techniques employed by haute couture ateliers! Particularly well-suited for beadwork and sequin-work, and once mastered, rapid to execute while encouraging freedom of design.
Spots in this class were first made available to the original students who missed out on it due to the Shelter-in-Place cancellation. So, if you missed your chance to take this class, don't despair! We'll offer it again very soon. Call (510) 843-7290 or email us at email@example.com to join the waitlist.
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.
Registration now open!
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!
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!
• September 12: Gothic Victorian Hair Jewelry, a virtual workshop with Chang Meng
• September 26: The Queen's Gambit Picnic, a socially distanced, 1960s-fashion event at Tilden Park, Berkeley
• October 9: Return to Stow Lake, a socially distanced, gothic Victoriana picnic at the Chinese Pavilion in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park
• September 12: Gatsby Summer Afternoon, the ADSC's annual 1920s and 1930s-themed garden party and picnic
• September 5: Saturday Cinema: A Screening of "Possessed". Join your Art Deco friends (remotely, over Zoom) for a Saturday night at the movies! They'll be showing Possessed (1931)
• September 18: Very Full of Work: Patterns of Printed Textile Scholarship with Laura Johnson
• October 16: Beyond the Warp and the Weft: Ikat Textiles of Savu Island, East Indonesia with Geneviève Duggan
• September 4: Bark Cloth, wherein Layla Walters of the World Crafts Council Auckland will host the first talk of the World Fair on barkcloth from three speakers from around the world
• September 15: Harvest Talk, a discussion with Hilary Burns, Felicity Irons, Nathalie Seiller Dejean, Veronica Main and Karolina Merska (see her incredible traditional Polish pajaki rye straw and paper chandelier below)
• October 20: Caring for your Clothes, an online talk with upcyclist Orsola de Castro, darning guru Hikaru Noguchi and conservation expert Zenzie Tinker
• April 16, 2022: Guo Pei: Couture Fantasy. Read all about it in Vogue—and start planning what you're going to wear to the opening
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