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Annual Lace Day evokes the past at Sellwood Community Center

Although lace-making is a centuries-old tradition, there is still considerable interest in the art. On Saturday, October 6th, the Portland Lace Society hosted its annual free “Lace Day” program at the Sellwood Community Center, welcoming over 50 visitors.

Featured speaker Sylvia Muranu lectured on Romanian Point Motif lace and presented a “how-to” video. There were also mini-classes on tatting (lace-making) – as well as vendors, displays, demonstrations, a raffle, and a list of Lace Group meetings in the area.

by: RITA A. LEONARD - Sandra Kuziemski wears Romanian Point lace leaf brooch with a collar of French Torchon lace. There are about 10 basic styles of lace, classified by how they are made. These include needle and bobbin lace, cut-work, knotted and crocheted lace, and mechanical and chemical lace, among others. Such countries such as Italy, Belgium, Ireland, Spain, and Turkey, each have a specific heritage and history of lace and lace-making styles. Traditional colors are white or off-white, although fascinating designs are now made in colors, as could be seen on Muranu's vest.

Historically, lace has been used to ornament tablecloths, doilies, and clothing for men, women, and the clergy. Today, lace patterns are most frequently associated with wedding gowns, lingerie, and special occasion appointments. During the Holidays, many tables will be decorated with lace tablecloths and runners. The introduction of machine-made lace patterns allows aficionados to create unusual lace patterns geared to specific themes.

During her lecture, Muranu explained, “The legacy of lace has passed down through the centuries from generation to generation. Today we are lucky to have lace-making demonstrations on film, to ensure that the skills are not lost. It’s not an expensive hobby, and you can carry it with you wherever you go. Making lace is an art, not a craft; if you make a mistake, you may actually be inventing a new style or design.”

Portland Lace Society member Sherri Campbell of the Ardenwald neighborhood was one of the instructors at the event. “I’m teaching beginning and advanced tatting here,” she smiled. Another instructor, Maria Provencher, remarked, “The Lace Society creates mostly bobbin lace. There are close to fifty different types of bobbins, depending on the region. I have many samples here, including painted bobbins. Romanian Point lace is needle lace, while English Bucks Point lace is like French Chantilly lace, made with fine threads.”

There were several display cases full of different types of lace items – collars, doilies, and other ornamentation. Vendor and educator Carol Houser examined a sample of tatting in front of a display of antique laces. Lace-making teacher and vendor Nancy Evans specializes in antique lace restoration. She monitored a display of lace shawls and other large expanses of lace fabric. “It’s phenomenal that we now have videos of lace-making techniques, made by John and Kathy Hensel,” she said. “This way we can preserve various styles and traditions of making lace.” Lace-maker Beryl Cox sat with friends, displaying bobbin lace-making pillows to interested visitors. They sat in front of a wide array of lace patterns created by speaker Sylvia Muranu. Most visitors wore or brought samples of intricate lacework to the show. Sandra Kuziemski wore an ecru Romanian Point lace leaf brooch and a lace collar in French Torchon lace. “Many lace styles have been copied with modern technology, and can be bought cheaply from China,” she revealed.

The Portland Lace Society meets on the first Thursday of every month at the Sellwood Community Center. For more information, in a new twist to an ancient art, you can go online: HYPERLINK "www.portlandlacesociety.com" www.portlandlacesociety.com