Saturday, April 30, 2011
I know a little about Carrickmacross lace. It’s all book learning, not hands-on experience. When Robert and I published fiber art books in the late 1970s we put out a title by Mary Doyle with instructions for making the embroidered lace. Some of her Carrickmacross lace pieces were placed in my hands when she brought her manuscript and examples to our office. Her book told of her experience learning to make the lace at the Convent of St. Louis, Carrickmacross, Ireland. She said the technique originated in 1820 and was still being made there.
The world saw a beautiful example of this delicate art at the royal wedding on Friday. The bodice and sleeves of Kate’s dress were done in Carrickmacross lace with motifs including a rose, thistle, daffodil and shamrock to represent England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The lace work was done at the studios of the Royal School of Needlework (RSN) at Hampton Court Palace. Carrickmacross is done by appliquéing organdy shapes on netting with decorative stitching. It was reported that the needleworkers for Kate’s gown were required to wash their hands every 30 minutes.