Lost Arts studio

A lot of the fiber arts I enjoy are things like tatting, netmaking, chair caning, and even weaving, where people will come up to me when I demonstrate and solemnly tell me, "That's a lost art."

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Location: SW Outer Nowhere, Michigan, United States

On the Internet, nobody knows you're a chicken. (With apologies to Peter Steiner.)

27 July 2007

Here Be A . . . Salamander?

We first got connected to the internet back in 1992, and I found and joined the Arachne lace email list some time in 1995 or 1996. I remember that it was early enough after its creation that I was able to download and read all the archives right back to the beginning.

I love my Arachne friends -- through the list, I met the tatters who started the West Michigan Lace Group, as well as bobbin lacemakers all over the world who I consider good friends even if I've never met them in real life.

Although I don't make bobbin lace myself, I've learned enough to recognize and marvel at it.

So I knew that they would be the people to turn to for help identifying the bobbin lace I posted as a dragon the other day.

The lace is about 3.5 inches/9cm square. You can click on this close-up and see every thread, thread end, crossing and tiny stain, including some I didn't notice until I opened the photo on my computer.

One of the first responses I received suggested that this was not a dragon, but a heraldic salamander. The heraldic salamander lives in fire, like the salamander Fred and George feed a firework in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

As the discussion took off a bit, one member posted photos of a salamander and a hedgehog that matched the very hedgehog I didn't manage to buy.

Her salamander and hedgehog were found in the Lace Manufacturers' Museum in Retournac, France. The bobbin lace technique is called "guipure".

With the information that the salamander was the emblem of Francois I of France, I wandered around Google until I found that the porcupine (not hedgehog) was the emblem of Louis XII.

Fascinating! When I saw bobbin lace, I thought "hedgehog," as the hedgehog with her back full of "pins" is sometimes called the bobbin lacemaker's mascot. But since I had seen the two little lace pictures as a pair, I now believe they were a matched set of Francois I's salamander and Louis XII's porcupine.

What a lovely lot to learn from an inexpensive antique-store purchase!

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Blogger Bells said...

Wow. That's incredible. I just marvel at that skill. Dragon or salamander.

7:32 AM  

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