Author: Alban Lacemaker

Cowper & Newton Museum visit September 2019

Cowper & Newton Museum visit September 2019

We were so happy to see all our members and their friends at the first meeting we held after the summer break. The museum brought along a variety of things to sell from their shop to compliment the wonderful talk they gave on the history of the museum. We heard about the flax used to make the lace from Marion Swindells and how disease had wiped out the finer strains of the plant. Marion told of lace tokens and why they were minted and the lace tells the lacemakers would chant to pass the time. We learnt that an Ell was not the same measurement in Scotland as it was in England or France and that William Cowley made parchment for the lacemakers back in the 1860s and that they are still producing parchment in Olney today for various of uses.  All of this while Marion showed us slides, telling us many things about the social history of the lacemaker in Buckinghamshire. Chairman Paul Collins followed by giving us a quick jaunt through some photos of staff in period costume and of the A list celebrities visiting the museum. It was a very popular talk and went down well with our members.


Friday 10th May 2019

Friday 10th May 2019

When Sara Impey came to talk to us about Coggeshall Tambour Lacehttp://www.coggeshallmuseum.org.uk last year and mentioned that she also did a talk on quilting I never imagined the amazing quilts she would bring to show us this month. 

Sara originally trained as a newspaper journalist and every inch of her quilts echoes her love of words. The quilts were imaginative, amusing and so well stitched, many with social comments written in the lettering. Sara, a textile artist, produces such modern interesting pieces of work which were appreciated by everyone present at our evening meeting.

Sara Impey gives quilt talk
Sara Impey showing a quilt

Jane and Alan Lewis brought a selection of their turned wooden items for us to buy to mount our lace. With spangles, decorated pins and many other wooden tools to choose from, which made for a pleasant evening.  

Amazing Lace popularity at Living Crafts!

Amazing Lace popularity at Living Crafts!

Three lacemakers demonstrating in front of the display of lace fans at Living crafts
Three lace demonstrators

The next three days were fantastic! There were so many visitors to Living Crafts, held in the grounds of Hatfield House in Hertfordshire, and most of the people who looked at our lace display wanted to try their hand at bobbin lace with a little help from our demonstrators. Over the four days of the craft fair we helped in excess of 175 people discover how to make the basic bobbin lace stitches on our ‘Have a Go’ pillows. As the weather warmed up so the number of visitors seemed to increase over the weekend; the country fair atmosphere was enjoyed by all.

Demonstrating Lacemaking
Demonstrating at Hatfield House Living Crafts
Living Crafts Setup – dodging hail

Living Crafts Setup – dodging hail

Yesterday we arrived later in the day than usual, to put up the display at Living Crafts, as the weather was so dreadful when we were about to leave home. Most people had stuck to their usual timing and had almost finished their displays when we got there, and left while we were putting the finishing touches to ours. We were so glad we were there late. The sky darkened and the wind increased in strength and the display boards throughout the tent began rocking and banging against the marquee walls. We quickly removed the last of our fans and looked on in horror at the hail stones, blown under the ceiling, melting on the tables where the boards had stood!

Today was a little better. It was cold and we had some heavy showers but we all enjoyed making lace together and were happy to have such a huge amount of interest shown in our lacemaking. The ‘Have a Go’ pillows were a huge success and we were able to hand out details of lace classes around the area and put people from further away in touch with the Lace Guild.

Demonstrating Lacemaking at Living Crafts, 9th – 12th May

Demonstrating Lacemaking at Living Crafts, 9th – 12th May

Members of our group will be demonstrating Lacemaking at Living Crafts again this year and offering visitors a chance to ‘have a go’ at lacemaking, on specially set up lace pillows. The theme of our 2019 display at Hatfield House is Fans.

If you’d like to have a go at lacemaking, please come and visit our stand at the ‘Maple’ Marquee

Open 10am until 5pm; come and see our beautiful display of lace fans!

Living Crafts
Hatfield House – 9th to 12th May 2019