(Irish crochet lace from the 19th century.)
(Venetian needlepoint lace from the 17th century.)
In the last post, while comparing Micks’ account of the need for a craft regeneration project in around 1900, with the ICA’s similar project in around 1950, it struck me that we only need to go back fifty years before Micks to find yet another craft regeneration project being promoted.
In the 1850s and 1860s, Ursuline nuns travelled from France to Ireland to establish convents and do what they could to help the poor. They were familiar with Venetian lace, and began to teach it to the local poor (women), who took the skills and developed the idea of ‘Irish lace’. The crochet schools, as they seem to have been known, only flourished until the industrialization of the lace industry came, about a generation later. But before that happened, the movement had further developed different local types of lace – Limerick, Carrickmacross, and Youghal were local needlepoint laces, and Clones and Rosslea were crochet based laces (although some people used both hooks and needles in both types, depending on technique). There are some local laces I haven’t included here – there seems to be a real wealth of information on this topic out there. Lots and lots of lace enthusiasts are about!
We’ve had a national craft revival movement once every fifty years for the last two hundred years, almost. Are we due another one?! Maybe I will ask the CCOI…!
PS if you are interested in lace history in general, read this post on The Textile Blog.