Saturday, March 10, 2007

Lottsa Lace

Since I began knitting again, I've become more aware of colors, textures and designs. Knitting has also become my gateway to the fiber world. I've always appreciated fine needle work--my mother, grandmother and a great-aunt were all talented needlecrafters and I must carry some of those needlecraft (albeit less-talented) genes. However, I never gave more than a passing thought to the needle arts.

The internet has changed all that. Thanks to an internet group composed of lace knitters, I have a friend who I've never met but who has broadened my fiber horizons. Internet buddy (and frequent commenter) Sonja is a lace enthusiast (and a talented lace maker) and she has been slowly introducing me to the various lace techniques outside of knitting. Tatting and Hardanger and bobbins were never words in my vocabulary! But, suddenly I'm noticing and reading and questioning about lace.

The Museum of Arts and Design here in NYC is currently running the "Radical Lace and Subversive Knitting" exhibition. And they've been holding programs and workshops in conjunction with the exhibit.

Yesterday, I had the privilege to be part of a small group that viewed lace pieces at the Antonio Ratti Textile Center at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Ratti Center is a state-of-the-art center for the study, storage and conversation of textiles. Housed are thousands of lace pieces from different centures--we viewed 37 pieces.

I really don't have the words to express it all--but, it was incredible! The beauty of the items goes without saying. I only saw 37 pieces ranging from the 16th to 19th centuries and it was all truly overwhelming. Here's a photo of one lace collar:



It was made in the 17th century. The techniques are: cutwork and stem stitch embroidery and the border is reticello and punto in aria.

I've posted other photos at my pbase site.
Some of the pictures have comments as to century and technique. Click on the thumbnail of the photo to make larger and to read the comment.

Many thanks to Sonja for introducing me to this world. One of these days, Sonja will come to the Ratti Center and view some of the exquisite lace pieces herself!

Please note: Viewing the textiles at the Ratti Center is not done as a walk-in. If you're interested in viewing items, you first need to look thru their database and then make an appointment to view specific items. For the details of this, call the Ratti Center at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

1 comment:

Christina said...

The lace work sounds incredible. I've been meaning to walk over to see the subversive lace exhibit on my lunch hour one of these days. The museum is all of two minutes or so from my office and I really want to take a look at it.