The Lace Archive
Check out the project website for more images and further info.
The Lace Archive, founded in 2021, is an historical community archive of donated textiles and women’s histories and the source of the textiles for my work.
Thank you to all those generous folks who continue to send lace. I am awed by the generosity and thoughtfulness of artists, friends and strangers. These donations, along with the contributors and their stories, have become integral to my work.
The Archive was born after I posted images of dyeing lace from my grandmothers Ermenegilda and Rebecca. An outpouring of initially unsolicited donations from around the country began and continues today. Kept by women, the textiles range from hand-made needle and bobbin lace, crochet and tatting, machine-made industrial lace, in animal, vegetable, and synthetic fibers. Some donations include all of the above. Most were kept for generations. The sole criterion for inclusion is that a family member preserved it and chose to donate it for my work.
I meet donors at exhibitions, through packages and letters, social media, word of mouth, coffee shops, and am invited to their homes. Working with community in collecting, sewing circles, and storytelling is part of each exhibition. The Archive documents the tradition of textiles being crafted, used, reused, cut apart, repurposed, transformed, through economic necessity, in care of loved ones, and for the need of beauty in every circumstance. The generosity shared in these donations is instrumental, through intimate stories about the lace, the makers, the women who preserved it, and the desire for it to live on in my work and the archive. This project responds to the urgency around the autonomy of women’s bodies, and the peril of legal and social control by governmental and religious institutions and individuals. The Archive is a visible repository of countless unknown stories of women’s lives through textiles; my work honor those stories in tactile, immersive installations. The work is a feminist manifesto of softness.
If you have lace and would like to donate (or sell) for the project, please contact me. I cover shipping! I am eternally grateful for the thousands of pieces of lace sent up to now.