Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Stories in Lace

While I Love ALL things vintage, one thing probably
stands out the most to me and it is "Lace".

Years ago when I had a subscription to Victoria Magazine
there was an issue that was devoted to Lace and had the story of how Brussles lace
was made for royalty and that children as young as 4 were taught this art and their
lace was finest and the most desired by the Royals of Europe.  Entire Young girls
lifetimes were devoted to making lace.
Sad, yet fascinating.  Lace is a Lost art form.

13 years ago, I had a studio in old town San Dimas above a coffee house named Java Jitters.
It was in this town that my art took wings....
where I gained the independence to leave an unhappy marriage.
It was where I got out of my home studio and built my mural and design business...
where I painted and designed logos for the local shops and patrons.

It was here that I met my 2nd husband John, a good old cowboy/contractor who frequented 
Java Jitters.

It was Lovely there and I miss those days.

At the time there was a darling Antique Shop next to Java Jitters.
The shop owner was named Sharon.  She was the originator of Shabby Chic (sorry Rachel).
Her store rocked and her style was so unique and unlike the Victorian style prevalent then.

Sharon was sick and dying of cancer. Sad, a mother in her 30's with 4 kids.
She knew she was dying and began selling off the entire store.
I remember feeling awkward buying from her, as I do when I attend any estate sale.
BIZARRE walking through someone's home and belongings
knowing that something devastating forced the sale.

In one side room of the store were PILES and I mean PILES of fabric, textiles costumes,
linen, lace, doilies, hankies, etc, etc. etc.  I sat one day for over an hour digging and making piles
of what I wanted.  I couldn't decide, my head was swimming with ideas.
My LOVE of fabric and textiles came from my Grandmother and Mother who sewed dresses for me as a kid.  I always got the remnants and hand sewed doll clothes for my barbies and doll babies.

When Sharon inquired as to what I was looking for, I told her, I don't know, I just love it all.
So she told me for $200 I could have it all.
Okay, "really, are you sure?",  her reply was that she knew I would put it to good use.
I gathered no fewer than 19 Glad Lawn and Leaf bags FULL of this stuff and hauled it to my studio.

It took weeks to get through it all.
Honestly, everything you could think of.
Barkcloth, 20's costume pieces, bathing suits, needlepoint, doilies, lace, ric rack, chenille, hankies, on and on in every style imaginable.

Some I sold, much was made into kids clothing that I sold in a shop 
I opened behind hers after she was closed.

The one thing I never sold and really only have used a little of is the lace.
Each time I dig through it my mind swims.  What ladies wore these amazing collars?
What ladies and children tatted and wove the variety of laces?
If it could talk, what would they say?

Now, I am a pretty organized artist, kinda weird actually.  Everything is organized in my studios.
Beads in sorters, specific paints in drawers, all of the metal stuff I build with in wooden crates.
Friends are typically surprised at the order in my studios
(unless I have a big show than it goes wild until it wigs me out and I reel it all in).

So, since my new line of jewelry is going to incorporate lace, it was time to get it out and dig through it and make some sense of it.
Over the years I have added a bag or two here when I come across the old stuff.

So, here I sit this evening reminiscing about San Dimas,
a place where my life changed course, where I met John, where I met so many good people.
Reminiscing about Sharon and her kindness to me in selling me this lace.
I hope her children are well, sad to grow up without a Mother.
And again, I sit and wish the lace could speak to me the stories
of where it has been who made it.
  I start layering collars on and laugh at myself thinking what a nut I am!

So, here it is, my secret weakness is out.  
This is only one of three boxes that I have, 
time to get back to work!


  1. So heartwarming Lisa, I am sure Sharon is smiling down knowing that her treasures have been in your safekeeping...and that they will be used in only special ways. I love the pink and green hmmmm wonder what it would say... :))

  2. I am coming overrrrr!!!! Love the lace. Ciao Principessa, la tua Regina