Thank you for the salt-infused lace explanation, Ilske.
In brief, this is done only to new laces by an artist whose first
consideration is to make something that is not normal. Is the artist using
materials other than linen, cotton, silk and wool? How will this lace be
in the future, or is it only for display in the short term?
For those of you committed to the use of traditional threads .... If you
want it to be possible for your heirs to see and hold what you made - please
recognize the difference. Consider the problems museum conservators and
restorers of laces face every day when they try to prevent deterioration and
prepare laces for exhibition. Anything like salt crystals on lace would
need to be stored in a completely different storage area/container than
customary lace storage in a museum. This lace must not be exposed to
This is not a totally unique problem. Some of you know that many 20th C.
sequins were made of gelatin. They, also, melt away in liquids. This
means: if you buy vintage sequins, test them in water before attaching to
Does this French lace maker sell items to be worn? If so, wearers would
have to avoid damp and rain - just as was done when heavily-starched
standing lace collars were worn in the Renaissance period. Does she give
and care instructions with each piece she makes??
Readers: please understand this is an *intellectual discussion*, and not
me picking on Ilske. Ilske and I are friends who look for each other at
each OIDFA Congress. We met through Arachne in 2003. This Summer Ilske and
spent quite a bit of time with each other in Slovenia.
She gave me a small bobbin lace flower she made with colored metallic
threads, all of which appear to be synthetics. Very precious to me. Ilske
knows not to use glue. There is a small gem *sewn* to the center, and the
on back is sewn in place. If if it ever needed wet cleaning, I would
wash it in the traditional manner I have taught all of you - a shallow pan of
distilled water. If it needed a "boost" I would use ORVUS, because it is
the gentlest soap in my studio. The flower is shaped in 2 layers. To dry,
I would gently shake the flower, dry the metal pin as much as possible with
a soft cloth, then shape the lace petals and lay the flower on the clean
counter in my kitchen to dry. It is very lacy, so it would not take long.
Some of us have very old laces in our private collections, and some have
very new laces made by friends.
Many of you participate in the bookmark or holiday ornament lace exchanges
sponsored by Arachne. If you have small items like the bookmarks, they
may get soiled while in use. You treasure the friendships you have made
during these swaps, and I hope you will be able to wet clean them using the
advice given on Arachne.
If you have young people in your home, may I suggest you invite them help
you wet clean lace? In the current period of history, they usually only
understand using washing machines and dryers to clean textiles. You probably
have taught them how to cook enough to prevent starvation. This is just an
extension of your good intentions for the lace you own and something that
the young people will remember years from now. If they go on to use or
wear laces you made, they will be more careful about exposing inherited laces
to dangerous conditions.
Jeri Ames in Maine USA
Lace and Embroidery Resource Center
In a message dated 9/17/2016 7:41:15 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time,
M. Th. Bonniol doesnât "bathâ old lace in salt water. She creates laces,
with "big holesâ and let it lay in the salt water on the place she lives a
part of the Mediterranean Sea. The salt forms crystals in the gaps of the
lace. Astonishingly those crystals stay on the lace. These are really
Those being able to read German could find an article I wrote about her
and her salt-lace about two years ago. Ilske in Hamburg
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