Friday, July 1, 2016

Lacet Flowers - Inspiration

Some of the lacets I have had made - they are in the shop.
Lacet is a narrow flat braid used in the 17th century for little ties on stumpwork figures as well as to make flowers that were placed in caskets; and likely on clothing and hair too.

They could come in many colors and were likely finger-braided.  Sometimes they were done in silk and gold thread and often in two colors of silk.  In rare cases, there were patterns or words worked in them using the second color (which just boggles the mind!).  [As a side note, I am currently working with Cristina Carr at the MET to try to decode one on a piece of stumpwork.  If we can, it will make a really nice article.]
Folding one of the lacets into a U shape and whip stitching
the edges together to make the start of a petal.

By bending them into a U shape, the lacets can be whip stitched together at the edges to make shapes or larger fabrics.  These shapes have often been confused as pieces of needlelace, but look closer and it is obvious on the front and back that they are joined flat braids.  Depending on the complexity of the poesy, a spray can be made in a day unlike one made of needlelace petals.

There are examples of many flowers in public and private collections.  Pansies, carnations or pinks, strawberries and flowers, daisies or sunflowers, lilacs, and some non-discript small buds with stamens have been found in collections.

The Ashmolean has three posies; a spray of pansies or heartsease, a spray of strawberries and one that can be thought of as a daisy or sunflower.  I found these pictures on the web of the fronts AND backs of two of them.  That was super cool as these are mounted in a case flat against the bottom right now and I had never seen the backs.

Ashmolean WA 1947.191.323.2 Heartsease or Pansies - Front View.  Approximately 4" high

Ashmolean WA 1947.191.323.2 Heartsease or Pansies - Back View.

Ashmolean WA 1947.191.323.3 - Daisy, Marigold or Sunflower

Ashmolean WA 1947.191.323.3 - Daisy, Marigold or Sunflower showing the backside with the light green calyx.

Strawberry - Ashmolean WA 1947.191.323.1

In the needlework nibbles, there is my version of a pansy worked in the lacets.  What if there was a bigger bouquet of flowers for the design contest?  I haven't yet worked out the daisy/sunflower yet but I can see how pretty it would be in many different colors - or modified to be some other flower we all recognize.  How about an Iris?

Pansy Needlework Nibble - Instructions are Free on the Site

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