Thursday, May 10, 2007

Lace making

"She had an immense bed with red curtains (...) in which she had had thirteen children! On the table, covered with a red carpet, was a great quantity of lace in the various stages of its making, reels of cotton, spindles, and pins with different coloured heads as well as a sheaf of designs on pink cardboard. Quite a number of different laces were begun, emerging from the cushions, and she explained that she would change from one to the other, according to the urgency of the order, with the same ease; but never did she waste her time, and I noticed that she never looked at the work she was doing except, occasionally, when she altered the arrangement of the pins, and in this way they came out from between her delicate fingers, browned, veined, and bent with age, yards upon yards of snow-white lace of pure design.

She was Mme Gaillard's most treasured lacemaker and, quite unable to read or write, had apparently been born with the gift of lacemaking in her fingers, exercising them, making them nimble whilst she watched the geese or the sheep in her native Auvergne (...)."

Henrey, Madeleine (1951), Seamstress and Marketwoman: Working Women in Early Twentieth-Century Paris, in Classen, Constance (ed), The Book of Touch, Berg, Oxford, New York 2005, p. 245


Blogger Arielle said...

'The doily is heading for extinction. Asda says it now only sells 400 packs of the ornamental mats each week, down from an average of 12,000, 15 years ago'.

The Week
26 May 2007

9:51 am  

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