There is something indescribably special about wearing a garment made by hand with loving attention and personal pride. I feel honored to surround myself in the creative force of this nameless remarkable woman. I respect the intelligence and time it took to learn this craft and make this one of a kind work of art. I hope she would be pleased that her creation is still loved and appreciated.
Saturday, January 22, 2011
A big white moon is rising over the trees behind the house. Droplets of condensation have formed on the storm windows and the misty glass defuses moonlight through the room. I'm in a pensive mood, curled up under the covers looking at the spoils of an epic thrift hunt. I had my eye open for vintage handiwork and the universe delivered textiles with abundance.
This breathtakingly detailed needle lace blouse took the prize. I found it at a consignment store for next to nothing. Holding it in my hands, I wonder who wove this delicate web. I can't even imagine how long it must have taken and what thoughts must have drifted through the mind if it's maker in all those hours of focused attention and repetitive motion.
I was so intrigued by the whimsical scallop patterns that I felt compelled to do some research. This is an example of a needle and tape construction, introduced in the 1860's, called Branscombe lace, originating from Devonshire, England. Bold handcrafted designs became fashionable at this time as an alternative to the more readily available machine made laces. Its organic patterns could not be mass manufactured. At the turn of the century Branscombe lace became a popular craft. Ladies could by kits to make "renaissance lace" at home. I'm guessing this piece date from the twentieth century, it's in perfect condition and the shape is fairly modern.