"Of many Arts, one surpasses all. For the maiden seated at her work flashes the smooth balls and thousand threads into the circle, ... and from this, her amusement, makes as much profit as a man earns by the sweat of his brow, and no maiden ever complains, at even, of the length of the day. The issue is a fine web, which feeds the pride of the whole globe; which surrounds with its fine border cloaks and tuckers, and shows grandly round the throats and hands of Kings." - Jacob Van Eyck, 1651.
Thursday, September 9, 2010
as told to me
by Ella Collins...
mother was a private person.
she was a devoted mother and a care taker for her family.
my father died tragically when I was a baby, and mother had never remarried.
she was content she said, to live a quiet life...
but... she was passionate about lace.
and had learned to make it in Europe.
if it could be made,
she could make it and people wrote her asking for yards
of the finest tatting and battenburg...
she died recently and I had to clear her estate.
if you have done this you undoubtedly know that it is a daunting
task, not simply in letting go of the odds and ends, but in the memories that come
back to you and steal away the moments that begin to turn from days to weeks...
I had almost finished, the house was cleared except for Mamas' desk, which I had decided to keep, since I remember her sitting there every morning with her tea, greeting me when I awoke.
the bottom drawer was locked.
suddenly I remembered that I had found a tiny key in her jewel box
and I used it to open the drawer. I remembered that she had kept a keepsake box
locked in the desk, but as a girl, I had never questioned why she had kept it locked.
the front of the box was papered with Italian music papers and an old Italian frame
that held a tiny envelope
and a small antique clipping
it makes us sad
to sit alone
and have no one
to cheer us.
But we suppose
we never can
have those we love
stay near us
the inside was lined with old wallpaper and had a charming picture of a young woman reading a letter.
the box itself was filled with fabric and paper "pages" that she had fashioned into
keepsake pages, each one having a front and back page...
I recognized my grandparents...
though I did not know them, I had heard from Mama and Aunt Hattie that they were quite strict and they had made sure that the daughters had a proper upbringing and
were made to mind.
Hattie was the baby.
Mama adored Hattie... I was not surprised to find her wedding photo
stitched to a piece of fabric and fashioned like an envelope containing the lace that Mama made for her wedding. I know she tatted over ten yards for her dress...
she was a loving mother and sister...
a happy surprise was her autograph
book that she had in grade school...
filled with notes from people that I did not know...
and photos of people that I did not know...
but the laces I remembered...
I found an old calling card from a friend that I vaguely remember Mama
speaking about and I think she had been a friend that went with her on the grand tour..
perhaps this picture was of her friend...
on the back sewed to the "page" was a
beautiful old Italian postcard of a Palazzo...
and as I was putting the keepsake box away...
I noticed that there was a paper tucked behind the
Hattie had been waiting for me to find it because Mama
had asked her not to tell. she had hoped I would not sell the desk..
and yes, my Mother, Emma had met a young man in Italy
while she was studying lace making
and Grandpa had sent Grandmother to fetch
his wayward daughter back.
he had planned for her marriage
and it was not to an Italian.
it was in that moment
that I realized I had never known my
well... gentle readers..
now you know why the swap with Kim
of Wandering Heart Studio took me so LONG!
I have been hand sewing for about a year now and as I did,
the story took shape..
I was feeling as though Ella and Emma Collins were real!!
I hope Kim loves it and I cannot wait to see what
she creates with this and where she takes the story!
antique papers, lace, fabric, wall paper, cigar boxes, post cards, calling cards, victorian ephemera, threads, acrylic paint, Omni Gel, walnut ink, Pellon WunderUnder, transfers on canvas and fabric, E6000, hand dyed fabrics and papers using ranger inks and natural dyes.
grazie for stopping by..
I so appreciate your support!