Contents in This Month's Issue
The atmosphere in Berkeley, California — the ultimate college town — is always sparkling with excitement when autumn rolls around. And Lacis, a home-grown institution here since 1965, is no exception: sweater weather, changing hues in the verdure, and the scent of freshly-sharpened pencils make us giddy as children getting ready for the first day of school.
Our Lacis Museum friends are admirably self-motivated students, tenacious in pursuing their personal sewing, lacemaking, and costuming goals... thus, our thriving community of instructors and diverse class offerings. Peruse this catalog of workshops at your own risk — you'll probably want to take a few!
Sat., Sept. 9 • 1 PM - 5 PM
An Historic Costuming Accessory Class
Smoke & Mirrors: 19th-Century Smoking Cap
Victorian gentlemen of leisure — and stylish ladies! — wore these cozy caps (also called lounging caps) to keep their heads warm at home in the era before central heating. Make a stylish cap either by hand or by machine!
Sat., Sept. 16 • 1 PM - 5 PM
Fix Your Knits: Basic Sweater Repair
Moths got ahold of your favorite sweater? Don't despair — Julie Ann Brown will teach you some sweater repair! Advice and techniques shown for every situation: moth damage, runs, thread bare elbows and heels, small holes, big holes, etc.
Sat., Sept. 23 • 12:30 PM - 4 PM
Tatting: Next Steps for Beginners
You've taken your first tatting class and you're probably wondering what to do next! Well, wonder no longer! Come elevate your tatting skills with this class designed especially for those who have taken Kevin's Beginning Tatting Class!
Sat., Sept. 30 • 10 AM - 4 PM
An Historic Costuming Accessory Class
Make A Bustle-Era Circular Fan
The circular screen fan was a highly decorative and desired accessory during the 19th century. They were mainly used inside the house to shield a lady's face from the glare of the fireplace or sun as well as from the ardent eyes of an admirer. Make one with Lynn McMasters!
Sat., Oct. 7 • 1 - 4:00 PM
A Visible Mending
Visible Mending: The Boro Way
Let wear and tear be the springboard for creativity! Mend your garments and accessories with simple embroidery and sashiko stitches. The brilliant Pattie Klimek will teach you darning techniques using the running stitch, buttonhole stitch, and simple Sashiko stitches.
Sat., Oct. 14 • 12:30 - 4 PM
Get Started with
Have you admired tatting and wondered if you could be able to tat? Only a few stitches need to be mastered in order to create beautiful tatted works of art. This beginner classes will get you on track for shuttle tatting by teaching you the tools and technique.
Sat., Oct. 21 • 12:30 - 5 PM
Make A Gothic
Sat., Oct. 28 • 12:30 - 4 PM
Embellish Your Life With Needle & Thread
Freestyle Flowers: Surface Embroidery
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, also taught by Laura Tandeske.
Sat., Nov. 4 • 12:30 - 4 PM
Nautilus Shell Cockade
Transform flat ribbons into impressive three-dimensional nautilus shells! You may be most familiar with cockades on military hats and cloche hats and dresses from the 1920s, but in this class, you'll make a vintage style Nautilus Shell Cockade and give it a modern twist.
Sat., Nov. 18 • 12:30 - 4 PM
For Intermediate-Level Shuttle-Tatters
Tatted Holiday Snowflakes
Come celebrate the holidays with this festive tatting class designed for past students of Kevin's Beginning Tatting classes. Elevate your tatting skills to create an heirloom tatted snowflake!
April 17-20 • 10 AM to 5 PM
Make Traditional Irish Crochet Lace
Clones Irish Crochet: A Four-Day Workshop
Once again, Màire Treanor comes all the away from Ireland for her annual 4-Day Clones Irish Crochet Workshop! Learn the basic stitches of Irish Clones lace before moving on to traditional motifs such as wild roses, shamrocks, vine leaves, grapes, and other patterns familiar in Irish Crochet.
Tally Craig has entrusted Lacis Museum with some very choice pieces of antique lace from her grandmother's collection, who was a lacemaker herself. The Princess Lace collar that comes in two pieces absolutely floored us — at first we thought they were two separate, matching collars, due to their enormous size, but when we laid them out, we realized they were actually two halves to the same whole. Incredible! And two lengths of Point de Gaze trim still fixed to the paper backing was enchanting — in spite of a few tiny flaws here and there, its delicacy and beauty remain very much intact.
Nancy Walty recently stunned us with her unique contribution our museum: her great grandmother, Ida Gronquist Westerberg, originally from Sweden, was an opera singer in San Francisco, and as you can imagine, possessed many very fine garments, exemplary specimens of their era. Poring over this assortment was like taking a peek into the closets of history: such finery, and very intimate items, too. But one piece was a theater costume: a gold sequin-encrusted frontal piece that Ida wore in a studio portrait (shown below right)! Stay tuned for more developments in the Ida Grönquist Westerberg story.
Its format is reminiscent of a children's picture book. It's not available commercially, but is material provided exclusively to museums seeking to exhibit the work. A glossy softback, it measures almost a foot long, is 9" high, and printed on about two dozen pages — and what glorious pages they are!
A fast reader may need no more than ten minutes to devour the text cover to cover, but the powerful photographs, carefully documenting the birth of a stunning creation...! That, and Lieve Jerger's stirring personal story, so deeply intertwined, take much longer to process. It is a larger-than-life tale that leaves a permanent impact on the heart and begs revisiting again and again.
The story begins in 1977 Belgium. After briefly being tutored in bobbin lace basics by her mother, Berthilda Vandoren, young Lieve Jerger took up her grandmother's tools and began to work lace in copper wire. Slowly, she developed her technique and mastered the medium, discovering the whims and vagaries of working with wire, with its brittleness and tendency to kink unforgivably — and began building a carriage — a 16th-century ceremonial coach, to be precise. It spans 8 1⁄2' in height, 7' in width, and 16' in length, and weighs an airy 70 lbs.
Indeed, it looks as if it came blazing out of a fairytale: like the unforgettable pumpkin-coach from Cinderella, without horses transformed from mice, but with glowing golden windows of lace that rendered what the Traveler, a poetic analogue for herself, would have seen on her journey through the landmark events of her life. In one lace window, there is another Traveler, the vision of a Swan, conveying the slow, sweeping motion of slicing through water — a scene pregnant with meaning.
"The swan window," Jerger wrote to us, "is where I discovered the beauty and joy of being present in the moment, which was the antidote for overwhelming grief of losing a loved one. The water drops and expanding waves represent the sadness, and the sparkling reflections in the water are the joy of being alive and afloat in the universe and in the moment."
In another lacy snapshot a couple stands among the crumbling stone ruins of a monastery, locked in a tight embrace. Studio scenes showing Lieve's work in situ evoke the tale of Rumpelstiltskin spinning his gold from straw, except she is bobbin-lacing from threads of copper wire.
Lieve spans continents and cultures in what must be her life's great masterpiece — her imagination inflamed by her pivotal experience as a young child standing in bewildered rapture at the collection housed at the Museo Dos Coches in Lisbon. She was so astonished, so transfixed, they had to physically drag her away from the place. Later visits to Alhambra and Granada played their part — Arabic geometric interlacings common in the architecture there can be spied in one carriage window — whereas the wheels were inspired by Lieve's encounter with a fallen redwood tree in California, and she constructed much of the piece in Mexico as well as the United States.
"If I were to describe the meaning of the carriage as a lace sculpture, I could say that my life is my dream, and an amazing experience. Grief can bring us closer to the mystery of life. I imagine the Carriage of Lost Loves riding around full of happy people who have overcome their grief, because lacemaking has taught me it really is possible."
— Lieve Jerger
The book gives exquisite insight into the carriage's creation: how the project evolved, and how the strengths and limitations of the medium dictated Lieve's next steps. Most recently, in Clinton, New Jersey, from 2018-2019, it was shown with three unfinished wheels and without an under-belly, yet unbelievably, to this very day, the carriage has never been exhibited in its completed state. After reading this book, we will, however, be seeing it regularly in our dreams, traversing impossible landscapes, surmounting the clouds in the sky, rolling over oceans — making a beeline for our hearts. The book will be available to view in the Lacis Museum, of course, and you can look at pictures of it on Jerger's website, www.copperlace.com, whenever you wish.
The Carriage of Lost Loves: A Sculpture Made of Copper Wire is an incontestable argument for why we strive to keep lace-making techniques alive. Jerger's work is profoundly, almost painfully moving, utterly timeless, a ninth wonder of the world.
Examine the tread of the large rear wheel, and you'll discover the most powerful message delivered by Jerger's carriage: "Love is never lost." As Jerger explained to us, the repeating mantra is "mounted on the wheel backwards, à la Da Vinci, so it would leave readable tire marks on the ground wherever the carriage may travel."
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.
Bettie is a longtime, treasured Lacis friend. We were so pleased when she brought in an example of her work, the last time she came in, seeking out large wooden beads — it was this fantastic, jaw-droppingly beautiful doll!
We love the abstract quality of this magnificent figure, with its strikingly elegant height, comforting weight and sturdiness, and the variety of its textures and patterns.
The patchwork of bright fabrics with visible stitches is inspired by the Kawandi quilting of the Siddi people. With respect to its use of running stitches, it's not unlike the indigo and white Japanese sashiko so many of us are familiar with, but it hardly restricts itself to a monochrome color scheme. Kawandi quilting is very much polychromatic. We find the rich, earthy tones of Bettie's palette here extremely warm and comforting: exactly the kind of eye candy we needed to usher in the fall season.
Look closely and you'll notice the girdle of porcelain-smooth shells that are, of course, an essential ornament. They're beautiful little milk-white cowries, one of the most culturally powerful shells in the world. It has its uses in beading and jewelry, of course, but more symbolically, they have been used as currency, as a metaphorical stand-in for female fertility, in spiritual rituals, and for divination. They have served as gambling dice, and even — our favorite — as darning eggs.
Anthony Pullen is a North Carolina- and San Francisco-based textile artist and natural dyer who made these adorable tiny embroidered charms! These tiny embroidery hoops should be a delightful sight for our miniaturists and stitchers alike. We love the mushroom motifs. He also embroidered these two larger pieces the charms are sitting on—most beautiful and beguiling.
Anthony grew up right here in the East Bay, and in fact, grew up coming to Lacis Museum whenever he got a chance. To this day he collects drawnwork linens and has never stopped embroidering, ever since he first picked it up. It exerts an inexorable pull on him! We're glad to see his textile arts journey, which began when he was so young, has kept going on strong all these years. Check out Native Color Studio, based in NC, to see more of the kinds of things Anthony creates along with designer Kara Kopp!
Opening November 10
Accessories define us and set us apart from others in the world of fashion. The typical accessories such as necklaces, bracelets, purses, and shoes make us unique. The collar and handkerchief, once only functional items, have become fashion statements that reflect our personal identity and message. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg exemplified this purpose when she wore a lace collar on her black robe, which symbolized a sartorial strategy that powerful women have practiced throughout history.
From the Middle Ages to the present day, collars have been a significant part of fashion. The great ruff, a collar worn in the Renaissance, was the most outlandish statement of costume. Over time, collars evolved into many related objects of adornment that made timeless statements about our personality.
The bertha, jabot, appendage on the bonnet and headscarf, and tie were all supports for various sartorial statements. Initially, the handkerchief was tied to physical needs such as wiping sweat from the brow. However, it has evolved into a coveted luxury item that is held in hand and displayed publicly. Lace and needlework have become the perfect medium for these ultimate accessories, showcasing the highest level of execution.
This new LMLT exhibit will display beautiful examples of collars and handkerchiefs from the 17th—20th century featuring various lace and embroidery techniques.
Our newest exhibit, Day's End: Personal Glamour Exposed, allows us to peek into the closets of history to reveal our most intimate items of clothing: the things never worn around strangers or out of the house. It is a joyful exploration of the gorgeous, often sensuous attire worn in private, like nightgowns, robes, and pajamas from the 1860s to the 1930s.
Such garments represented the shedding of one's public life to transition into a personal world of comfort and glamour. These historical clothes were worn for the wearer's pleasure and sometimes included intricate details that only one's closest loved ones ever saw. An elegant nightgown, an essential part of a bride's trousseau, would have only been seen by her new husband.
Nighttime apparel often featured inserts of the finest machine lace, hand embroidery, ribbons, shirring, pin tucks, ruffles—and sometimes the ultimate stamp of luxury, a custom monogram. And although these garments were available through catalogs and stores, many pieces were lovingly handmade at home, further confirming their cherished nature.
Stroll through this dreamscape of our past... before sweatpants, yoga pants, and workplace pajamas... and into a world of sumptuous personal glamour—exposed.
We've received so many rave reviews from our visitors, writing in our guest book and thoughtfully sending us notes in the post — thank you very kindly!
Explore darning and mending items from the LMLT Collection.
You'll find these treasures arrayed in a glass display case on your left, almost the first thing you see when you come into the shop. Each month this summer, we'll introduce you to a new family of darning and mending tools. This is part 4 of 4. Our hope is that it will inspire you to explore salvaging your own damaged items.
Mending and conservation of textiles is a sacred act dear to our hearts, so we sincerely hope you enjoy this variety of darning tools from our collection. We consider objects of this nature most aesthetically pleasing, each one potent with life, history, and generations of use. As William Morris, outspoken advocate for the revival of the traditional British textile arts, once said: "Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful." All these, from the humblest to the most novel and extravagant, are definitively both.
This Robert Four tapestry reproduces a segment of "The Stag at Bay" from the Netherlands. The original dates back to the late 15th century, and it now resides at the Met Museum. This copy, however, you can see at Lacis Museum, hanging above our shop floor!
The Aubusson tapestry-weaving tradition has continued almost unbroken since the 1300s, when its small weaving industry was first established. There was a hiatus in the 1700 and 1800s, but its 20th-century revival peaked in about 1911.
The piece you'll see here at Lacis Museum dates from after the 1950s, but the methods used in its manufacture are extremely close to those of the artisans centuries ago. In fact, in 2019, Aubusson tapestries were declared an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.
Well, this listing sure didn't last long!
Do you happen to recognize what this strange contraption is? (If you know, you know!) It's a puff iron! This particular model of Vin-Max Puff Iron dates back to 1954 — and was in fact manufactured right here in the East Bay Area. It came to us in its original box with instructions, and — no surprise — it works! It will probably work until the end of days: things were just made different back then.
The iron clamps to a table for hands-free use, as you can probably tell. Sewists can use it inside puff sleeves (hence the name), but it's also useful in smocking and millinery applications — a true workhorse! Our customer Heidi left us this kind review, which we so greatly appreciated:
"This puff iron is just what I needed for all of my vintage and antique children's clothing! Just as depicted, works great and arrived super fast!"
We're happy you're finding the Vin-Max Puff Iron so useful, Heidi. We love to see specialized vintage tools like this go to good homes, where they'll be cared for and put to use — perfect for maintaining all those details on vintage and antique children's clothing. Keep up the good work!
The great Gatsby summer picnic is coming up soon! Last month, we showed you some of the gorgeous dresses we have that would be appropriate for the occasion; here are just a few accessories and picnic-related items to make your '20s-style ensemble and delicious outdoor spread worthy of the most memorable occasion. But that's hardly the end of it — check out the rest of our listings here!
The most charming 1930s Lucite Scarab buttons from the '30s
1920s step-in romper with embroidered winged scarab motif
'30s cross-stitched tablecloth in emerald green
Don't forget, Lacis Museum Members receive 20% off of books purchased in our Museum shop
Counted Sashiko Embroidery
31 Projects with 80 Kogin & 200 Hishizashi Patterns
Teaches two beautiful Japanese sashiko styles not found in other books: kogin and hishizashi.
Embroidering Within Boundaries
Fifteen years ago, Rangina Hamidi decided to dedicate her life to helping rebuild her native Kandahar, Afghanistan. The Taliban had been driven out by American forces following 9/11, but Kandahar was a shambles.
Modern Crochet Garden
Stylish Flower & Succulent Patterns to Stitch in a Day
Crochet enthusiasts and plant lovers, this project book by Amy Gaines is perfect for you! With 22 delightful projects that are easy to make and stylish to display or gift, this book offers a charming way to add some botanical beauty to your crafting.
If you've watched the Downtown Abbey film, "A New Era," you're already acquainted with her work, because Jane Bourvis provided the veil for the character of Lucy Smith.
Bourvis's journey into the world of fashion began with menswear, and from there, a career blossomed from a sheer "love for antique clothing."
Now, she is a bridal gown designer par excellence. "There's a sort of dream element to a bridal dress," Bourvis told The Story Of. "It's an emotional thing; ethereal." And her creations are ethereal, indeed!
While still in London, Bourvis shopped the Lacis Museum remotely, via a friend who was in town. We got a sense, conveyed through Mary, what kind of aesthetic Jane tended to favor, and we knew immediately that she was "one of us" — a lover of old lace, of historic fashions, of elegance and textile artistry.
But when we saw her portfolio online, we were absolutely stunned. Imagine if all the most beautiful, delicate fragments and swathes of lace remnants from Lacis Museum were enchanted, and came together in the most magical way, reclaiming themselves into whole gowns. That's exactly what Jane does.
We could not imagine a fitter home or more appropriate hands to send off our lace pieces into. Jane's designs are fabulous beyond our wildest dreams. It was an honor to meet her — even if a degree removed — as her work honors ours. When our Lacis Museum friends commend to us their treasured scraps, their piecemeal heirlooms, so lovingly preserved, we are often only temporary stewards, for part of our larger mission is to connect those precious scraps to those who see their potential, appreciating them for what they are: essential sections of larger works of art from the past, reimagined into future creations, to remain beloved works of art forever.
Maker Faire Bay Area is back and better than ever, folks!
Save the dates and "escape to an island of imagination + innovation"
October 13th-15th & 20th-22nd
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
Newsletter written and edited by Christine Krause.
Any inaccuracies or errors are her own. Please email any comments, corrections or updates you may have to: email@example.com.
The Lacis Museum of Lace & Textiles
2982 Adeline St.
Berkeley, CA 94703