Contents in This Month's Issue
The year 2022 was such a significant one for Lacis Museum. We're proud of what our organization has accomplished, but we could not have done it without the strong, continued support of our fantastic textile arts community.
Let's take a little trip down memory lane together. In review:
In February, we closed our smash-hit exhibit Worn to Dance: 1920s Fashion & Beading. What a fun and riotous ride it was! Thank you to everyone who came for a tour and joined us in stepping back in time by a century, and devouring all of this delicious Jazz Age eye candy.
The SFO Museum borrowed much of the gorgeous collection that our patrons saw in 2017-18 in our Piña: The Philippine Cloth of Pride, Endurance and Passion show for their own exhibition, From Pineapple to Piña: A Philippine Textile Treasure, which ran from April to November. Jules loved giving a lecture on the occasion of their opening day, and we were over the moon seeing how beautifully the SFO Museum mounted, lit, and presented the entire display. Their curation practices are truly world-class—and their institution a civic treasure to be proud of.
We hosted another exuberant group of Clones Irish lace crocheters led by the inimitable Máire Treanor of Ireland, in a near-week-long extravaganza—which has become a bit of a hallowed tradition here at Lacis, and which we so look forward to doing again this coming spring.
We completed a major construction project, bringing our centennial building into the 21st century! This involved installing a shiny new elevator to increase accessibility to the second-floor exhibit gallery and classroom space. We also renovated said classroom space to allow for greater floor space, airflow, and natural light, much to the rejoicing of all.
We embarked on a fruitful new partnership with the Yolo County Historical Collection! They downsized a great number of the textile items among their holdings and donated them to support the Lacis Museum, and we'll resume sharing select pieces with you in this newsletter come February.
We were honored to participate in the Camron-Stanford House's History Faire event, giving tutorials on making Renaissance cords on the lucet, sharing crafts with doilies, and dressing participants in historical costume for fun selfies. What a great day that was!
We celebrated the art of the old-fashioned doily with our first-ever Doily Day. Thank you so much to everyone who came to get a doily blocked and learn about the underappreciated artifact that it is—there's so much more history there, not to mention sheer artistry, than meets the uninitiated eye.
And now, let's look to the future. We have big plans for 2023, folks—especially for those of you making resolutions to engage in creativity, learn new skills, or build on old ones.
On January 7, we'll be throwing a special Demonstration Day event with our newest instructor, Laura Tandeske! We cordially invite you all to come and join us. See how Laura embroiders—learn a trick or two—and hear about her reflective, philosophical approach to self-expression and the textile arts. If you find yourself moved to join in on the artistic adventures, sign up for her Lace Mandala embroidery workshop! It promises to be an enriching stitching experience.
And, looking a bit farther forward into January, we have a wonderful announcement to share: at 10:00 AM on Thursday, January 26, there'll be an unveiling ceremony at the Lacis office and warehouse at 3163 Adeline St.!
Come witness the splendor of Doran Dada's magnificent piece, "God Shu on his Flying Chariot." We've been eagerly watching it take shape and color over the past month, and are so excited to honor Doran's achievement, and celebrate his priceless, revitalizing visual contribution to this south Berkeley neighborhood, the very city in which he grew up.
This will be Doran's third mural in his signature Kemetic-hieroglyphic style that he calls "Egyptian Wonderland." Physically as well as artistically, Doran has always been irresistibly drawn to Egypt. From his earliest childhood, he was fascinated by its religions and mythologies.
Compelled to return again and again to this homeland of his soul, he internalized its ancient philosophies and visual practices, and now he brings that metaphysical and cosmological outlook to the Bay Area in his work. Note, for example, that Shu is wearing the Ma'at feather of truth "as a peaceful symbolic gesture to the indigenous Ohlone people of this Bay Area." In spite of their vast chronological and geographical distances, the feather of truth figures prominently in both these cultures' sacred practices, suggestive of an authentic, deep, universal wisdom.
This will definitely be a long-overdue, moving and meaningful image for our community to treasure, as we acknowledge the Ohlone people, the original custodians of this land. We know this incredible work of art will be a source of endless pride and inspiration for those who live here, and be enjoyed by all who pass by. What an appropriate way to begin a new year.
The clothes we wear out in society in order to make a public statement are naturally well-documented.
But are the clothes we wear in private any less important to our textile culture and sense of self? What might what we wear at home say about us, our interior worlds, and our personal lives?
We're going on a cozy adventure to slumberland!
This coming April, Lacis Museum will be unveiling a new exhibit dedicated to the nighttime world of dressing gowns, pajamas, and other clothes to be worn in the privacy of one's own home. Get ready to get intimate with us in 2023!
We love it when our talented Lacis visitors are working on a project and show us a photo, or even bring in the project itself! Inspiration abounds in this place, and that's in no small part thanks to you. Read our Customer of the Month section for even more amazing work done by our Lacis friends.
Lucretia Field made these pants with the help of her mother, who came with her to visit Lacis in December. They have the roomiest pockets, of course. Yes, they're made from a quilt, but only an unfinished quilt top, so no completed quilt was harmed in the process!
Lucretia's mom was a professional pattern maker in theater for many years, and Lucretia is an artist-innovator and electrical engineer by training. Her mother also made the Totoro hoodie she's wearing in the picture. We love the whole ensemble. And that teamwork...! It surely makes the dream work. Thanks so much for coming in, you two—we loved having you here, and your garments gave us so much joy to behold.
Nancy Rains of the South Bay Area visited us looking for a trim with which to create a visually interesting border for these pieces. She was contemplating some coordinating ribbons of various colors, so she brought in the items in question, to try out various possibilities. And boy, are we glad she did!
It's been a long time coming: Nancy actually accomplished these stunning embroidered works on linen while she was in her teens, and is only now really prepping them for display. (We were shocked: if any one of us on the staff had accomplished such masterpieces at such a tender age, our parents would have undoubtedly put them on display immediately, in a very prominent place, and showed them to off to everyone they knew!)
Nancy was, like many of us, slightly obsessed with Indian mythology as a child. So, she was inspired to create a number of different embroidered images, the subjects drawn from a book on miniatures from the Mughal court era. And just look at how successful she was at rendering these pictures in thread! Inside the foliage of the tree: French knots. And note the textures of the palm tree bark and its leaves—just wonderful. Though Nancy is now a tech writer, you'll be unsurprised to learn that she studied art in college. We feel so lucky to have seen these examples of her early work! We knew we just had to share it with the rest of our Lacis community.
Siena Mazza is a senior at UC Berkeley double majoring in Art History and Art Practice. She spent the past semester constructing her senior thesis project, a provocative and fascinating installation called c(HAIR).
When making adjustments to her installation, she realized she needed bow accents and fancy fabric scissors for the project. She decided to visit Lacis Museum, and we are so happy she did! She kindly shared with us these photographs of her completed project, showing how she incorporated the store-bought ribbon and scissors into the installation.
Get a load of these photos from her incredible cozy-corner vignette—it's just magnificent. Her artist's statement is below!
Brilliant work, Siena. Congratulations on a truly staggering artistic accomplishment. We LOVE seeing such surprising, gorgeous, and cutting-edge art from our visitors. You all never cease to amaze us!
This show will be closing on April 15, 2023!
Detail from "6 Fighting Birds on a Buddhist Shawl" 
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.
For Katherine Bond of Berkeley, the exhibit was, in her words, "Spectacular!" She was "speechless at the display of time, quality, variety and geography of the works."
Visitor Virginia Davis was similarly floored, enthusing that it was "totally FABULOUS."
Paula and Rob Patterson, who came to visit all the way from Colorado, said that, "As birders, we so appreciated this exhibit. Thank you!"
Lacis Museum member Blair Van Tassel felt the same way: "Beyond amazing details," she agreed.
These pieces from our collection are terrific examples of a number of different lacemaking techniques! Be sure to check out our display that contains these, and many more gorgeous doily specimens—it'll be in a display case on your left-hand side, almost the first thing you see when you come into the shop.
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.
Monica of SoCal fell in love with this cheongsam- and qipao-inspired vintage gown, and we totally get it. It's SUCH an undeniable showstopper, made of the darkest, richest emerald green velvet and fabulously decorated with rhinestones and beads.
Its label indicates that it originally came from a shop called Mohan's of Hong Kong back in the mid-1960s; we urge you to refer to this incredible stereo slide photograph taken just around that time. What a vibe!!
Imagine our immense pleasure when we read this enthusiastic review Monica so kindly left for us:
"Gorgeous dress!" she wrote. "Can't believe it's in such great, intact condition. Beautifully beaded and rhinestoned. It has a good weight to it. Looking forward to wearing it for the holidays and special occasions in the coming year. Glad I can support Lacis' work." Our sincerest thanks for your support, Monica! This magnificent dress is going to shine once again this holiday season, which is everything we could have hoped for.
Meanwhile, Stephen of Cincinatti purchased the charming tomato-red Nordic wool piece pictured on the right, and we were equally delighted when he left his own thoughtful review: "Thanks LacisMuseum shop for a beautiful sweater and fast shipping! Happy Holidays!!!"
Happy holidays to you as well, Stephen! It sure warms our hearts when such special old items find loving new homes. Thank you to our Etsy customers, and our generous donors, and our friends and supporters who help us get all these amazing textile items back into circulation, and back into the spotlight they deserve.
Does winter feel endless yet? Don't despair—our Etsy shop has so many vintage items perfect for banishing the chill and gloom! We recommend maximizing the coziness of your home and surrounding yourself in soft, soothing colors. Though should your tastes (or your roommate's) not be inclined that way, you can always bundle up elegantly, too.
Jewish People & Textiles
On the 27th of January, 1945, Auschwitz was liberated by Red Army soldiers. Now, January 27 is Holocaust Remembrance Day; January 17 is World Religions Day. A good reason, we thought, to take a virtual visit to the Jewish Museum in Prague, take a quick peek into ancient Jewish wisdom about clothing and cloth, and highlight Jewish contributions to fashion and our textile culture.
The YIVO Encyclopedia of Jews in Eastern Europe says: "The city of Prague has the oldest Jewish community in Bohemia and is one of the longest enduring and most important Jewish centers in East Central Europe"—so it's no wonder their collection of textiles is so astounding. Here are three religious items that are sure to inspire.
Left: This strikingly beautiful flag is the banner of the Butcher's Guild of Prague from 1850. This guild would have been a crucial part of the Jewish community, providing the city with its Kosher meats. Center: The traditional form of the Torah is a scroll. To keep it from opening up and unraveling while not in use, a long and narrow Torah Binder is needed. This one is printed linen from 1750, decorated with silk and metal thread embroidery. Right: Furthermore, this scroll is a synagogue's most precious possession. A gorgeous mantle both protects it and shows the appropriate reverence. These are typically made of the richest velvet and embroidered with metallic and silk threads, and further embellished with beads. Such covering devices open from the bottom, and have two openings at the top for the atzei chaim (the staves of the scroll) to extend out. This one came from Austria, Vienna, in 1878.
Ben Zoma, an important rabbinic sage from the 1st/2nd centuries CE, noted:
"How much effort did Adam the first man exert before he found a garment to wear? He sheared, laundered, combed, spun and wove, and only thereafter he found a garment to wear. And I, on the other hand, wake up and find all of these prepared for me. Members of all nations, merchants and craftsmen, diligently come to the entrance of my home, and I wake up and find all of these before me."
Important words, especially in an age when we are continually confronted with a vast distance between ourselves and the people who manufacture the majority of the clothing we consume, and the environments in which they do it.
The impact notable Jewish people have had on the fashion world should not be underestimated.
Take denim jeans, for example. Levi Strauss himself was Jewish—he immigrated from Germany to New York City when he was 18 years old, way back in 1847. When news of the Gold Rush arrived, he struck out for the West. His denim jeans were great, but it was the innovation of another Jewish man, Jacob Davis, that made them the staggering success they are today: Davis added the little rivet at the pocket! Their extreme durability led them to become the most popular piece of workwear of all time. Every day, 200 million people are wearing jeans, thanks to Levi's.
Now, let's move forward in time, and move in a direction rather away from blue-collar workwear, towards an icon that projects a preppier, more "leisure class" image: namely, a little man on a horse, playing polo.
In 1939, Ralph Lifshitz was born in New York City—you know him by the name Ralph Lauren. He became one of most widely recognized American clothing designers ever. His brand became the official outfitter to the United States Olympics team for over a decade. Avery Trufelman's splendid podcast Articles of Interest covers the preppy fashion movement that Ralph Lauren had such a stake in (and in great depth!), so if costume history is your thing, we highly recommend you give it a listen.
And where, oh where, to even begin with Diane von Fürstenberg? Believe it or not, marrying a prince was actually the least of her personal accomplishments.
Diane was born in Brussels just a year and a half after her mother, Liliane Nahmias, was liberated from Auschwitz. One of the greatest lessons she learned from Liliane was that "fear is not an option." No wonder she strove for greatness so relentlessly.
Diane was intellectually brilliant, attending university first in Madrid, then transferring to study economics at the University of Geneva. She was passionate and driven, relocating first to Paris and then to Italy, tirelessly working and studying in the fashion industry until she knew it inside out. When she arrived in NYC, Diana Vreeland, editor of Vogue, recognized her genius instantly and called her work "absolutely smashing".
Sure enough, in the 1970s our heroine would ultimately reinvent something so that it became absolutely revolutionary. In three deceptively little words: the wrap dress. For further reading, Craftworld.com actually has a nice recap of the story, as does this Australian fashion blog. A "symbol of women's liberation", the garment has become more than just a defining image of the 1970s—it's now a timeless classic.
Don't forget, Lacis Museum Members receive 20% off of books purchased in our Museum shop
We've had these incredible lace masks since October, but as they've remained such a hit with our customers even after Halloween, we've kept them on as a new favorite product! There's such a wide variety of distinctive designs, nearly everyone's been able to find one that really spoke to them. And at only $3.50 each, how can you resist?
New from Search Press: "Learn the art of fine whitework in this informative, instructional guide from the Royal School of Needlework.
"The Royal School of Needlework (RSN) is recognized internationally as a centre of excellence for embroidery. Fine Whitework is the fifth title in a series of books showcasing the RSN's techniques and contemporary flair as it celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2022.
"Author Jenny Adin-Christie is an expert tutor with the RSN and she provides the reader with a detailed exploration of the numerous techniques involved in fine whitework, and two projects of varied complexity, as well as sharing images and details of historical whitework and the inspiring finished pieces created by the RSN itself.
"The book features an introduction to the RSN and its prestigious heritage. It reveals the history and context of whitework and explains fine whitework as a specialist field; it explores the materials and tools that are used, and provides clear, highly illustrated instructions that will allow the reader to achieve their own stunning results.
"In addition, there are numerous examples of Jenny's own fine whitework pieces and items from her personal collection, as well as rare antique pieces and the work of other embroiderers that showcase the diversity of whitework design in both a traditional and contemporary context."
New from Trafalgar Square Books: "Striking designs based on the traditional sweaters worn by Scandinavian fishermen reinvented for the modern knitter.
"Three hundred years ago, Norwegian fishermen went to sea no matter the wind or weather—and they needed warm, comfortable, durable sweaters to protect them from the cold while they worked. Now, photographs and documentation of surviving examples have been brought together to form the foundation for this collection: timeless traditional patterning applied to modern styling and shaping, for a selection of sweaters, cardigans, hats, mittens, vests, and more, for men and women, rooted deeply in the rich tapestry of Norwegian history.
"Learn the stories behind traditional handmade knitwear: who made it, the lives they lived, and where and how it was used.
"Explore techniques including stripes, blocks, lice, ribbing, cabling, and more. Adapt reimagined designs to your own style—pullover or cardigan, buttons or zipper, scoop neck or boat neck, in any combination."
Judy Amoo is one of those special artists who has been a friend of Lacis's since she was a teenager. She is the warmest, kindest soul, and the type to whom artistry and creativity come naturally—exactly the kind of person we are overjoyed to meet with. We were so honored to have her visit us again, especially since she's relocated to faraway Nebraska, where she makes these absolutely fabulous ornate brooches.
Judy was always a faithful attendee at her local annual Fiber Arts Fair, but some time ago. when she learned that it was being held for its final year, she seized the opportunity to join in on a workshop where participants transformed deconstructed zippers into decorative pins. She fell in love with the idea, but adapted it to her own tastes.
Now, Judy employs a wide variety of materials: zippers, stones, crystals, alpaca fiber, vintage jewelry pieces, antique buttons and beads. Each resulting piece takes about eight hours to complete and is totally one-of-a-kind. She has amassed and disassembled a vast collection of vintage jewelry pieces to draw upon for use in her brooches.
Judy loves to see how people react to her work: it's always different, perhaps because the different aspects of her style speak to different parts of their personalities. "Art," she has observed, "is the dance between the artist and the viewer."
We have to agree. The whole Lacis staff pored over her collection with a such sense of awe and delight. We loved how each piece was totally unique, organic, and heartfelt. Judy's special aesthetic and consummate craftsmanship always shines through.
We're so glad to have made Judy's acquaintance after so many years! Lacis is the unforgettable kind of place that exerts an eternal pull on the people who fall in love with it. We're grateful she went out of her way to introduce herself, and show us what she's been up to—and we hope she will always drop by when she's in town to catch up with us again!
Do you have a passion for...
Preserving your cultural textile arts heritage?
For cultivating and educating the textile arts community?
For spreading the love of needle, bobbin and thread?
Do you happen to teach lacemaking (bobbin lace, needle tatting, crochet or knitted lace, etc.) or historical costuming and hatmaking skills? Perhaps you've already led similar workshops, or have designed an interesting textile arts workshop that would complement these fields. We'd love to hear about it. Fill out an Prospective Instructor form and email it back to us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
with Kevin Baum
Saturday, January 21, 2023 — 12:30 to 4 PM
Master the manipulation of the shuttle and discover how a simple stitch can become the key to this universal lace. Classes are designed for beginners, or those who have tatted before, but are in need of a refresher course.
with Laura Tandeske
Saturday, January 28, 2023 — 12:30 to 4 PM
$175 (payable to instructor)
This will be a fun and interactive surface embroidery course that is perfect for both the first-time embroiderer and the experienced embroiderer looking for a refresher. You will learn the Lazy Daisy, French Knot, Fly, Straight and Heavy Chain stitches. You'll pick up techniques and tips that you just can't get from books!
Constructing a Late Victorian Bodice
with Catherine Scholar
Two Saturdays: February 4 & 25, 2023 — 10 AM to 5 PM
Do you look at images of Victorian ladies and wish you could dress just like them? Now you can!
Come make a late-Victorian bodice from 1870-1899. You can wear it to Victorian balls, teas, SASS events, or any occasion you desire. You can even use it as a base for a modern or fantasy gown!
You will start with a Truly Victorian bodice pattern of your choice and augment it with authentic 19th-century dressmaking techniques to make a custom gown just for you! This class will cover measurements, pattern adjustments, fitting, period sewing techniques, trimming, boning, hand finishing, and much more.
In the first session, you will cover a brief overview of the styles worn in the era. You will take measurements, trace off the correct pattern pieces, and then make and fit mock-ups.
In the second session, you will then move on to cutting and constructing your bodice and finish the day by adding boning. You will finish out by concentrating on closures and facings.
A Tatted Valentine's Day Heart
with Kevin Baum
Saturday, February 11, 2023 — 12:30 to 4 PM
Elevate your tatting skills to create an heirloom tatted Valentine. Designed for past students of Kevin's Beginning Tatting classes and those familiar with the basic techniques, students will choose one of several hearts of varying difficulty.
Clones Irish Crochet: A 4-Day Workshop
with Máire Treanor
Wednesday-Saturday, April 12-15, 2023 — 10 AM to 5 PM
$300.00 for all 4 days (or $200.00 for any 2 days)
Máire is excited to return to Lacis once again!
Lacis is once again pleased to announce the return of Máire Treanor, master of Irish Crochet, for a 4-day in-person workshop of Clones Irish Crochet.
In the first two days, newcomers will work on Clones lace jewelry, learning the basic stitches of Irish Clones lace, before progressing to traditional motifs of wild rose, shamrocks, vine leaves, grapes, and other motifs familiar in Irish Crochet, which use packing cord, as well as the unique Clones knot filling stitch and edging. Returning students can bring a project on which they have been working, getting advice and help on finishing it.
Students will discuss how to read antique Irish Crochet patterns and the international charts used in Ukrainian, Russian and Japanese books, with samples of garments in Modern Irish Crochet.
Prerequisites: For this captivating workshop series, students should be familiar with the basic crochet stitches of chain, single crochet, and double crochet in yarn. During this special workshop, Máire encourages students to work at their own pace, with individual help and encouragement.
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