About Clones Lace Workshops

20th Clones Lace Summer  Workshop

June 24-28th 2010


The 20th Clones lace workshop was a great success. I will insert some photos to show you later.  It took place from June 24-28th 2010. As part of the evening events, we had our usual visit to the Sheelin Museum of Irish Lace in Bellinaleck, County Fermanagh, which is always a lovely evening, looking at all the various kinds of Irish lace – Needlepoint – Youghal, Kenmare and Innishmacsaint – the net lace of Limerick and the applique, net and needlepoint of Carrickmacross.  Of course the Irish Crochet was what fascinated most of us.

Every year, I bring a group here and every year, I am inspired  by the beautiful work that I see, thinking of the hours upon hours that these women spent, in dim light and squalid conditions, crocheting or sewing, to make beautiful creations that they could only dream about wearing.  After spending some time with Rosemary, we went  next door to the restaurant and had some scrumptious food and dessert to finish off a most enjoyable  evening, by the shores of Lough Erne.

On Friday evening we did the Cassandra Hand Trail. We started our evening in Clones, at the Church of Ireland, where Cassandra’s husband was rector from 1847 until the 1860s. We looked at the plaque in her memory and at the organ which she donated, bought with the proceeds of the lace industry, which she spearheaded. We then walked to the Cassandra Hand Centre, which was  built  as a school for girls and infants in 1859, again with the proceeds of the lace money.  We travelled out to her home at Altertate, which later became Bishopscourt.  Miriam Moore, who now lives in this beautiful house, welcomed us warmly and brought us through her home, where we decided that the brightest room must have been the lace room, where groups of women were taught crochet by women who had travelled from County Kildare, during the famine. We imagined how these women probably learned crochet as part of  a small group  and then went back to their own communities and taught it to other groups of women and girls.  By 1850, according to the Northern Standard, there were 1500 lace makers in the area, in a 15 mile radius. They probably copied Venetian needlepoint lace at this stage, but later, as they became more confident, created their own flowers, motifs and filling stitches.  It is impossible to say when the Clones Knot was created as a filling stitch, but as I learn more  about Clones Lace, I realize that the Venetian-like lace was probably what they made at this stage and then, as more people crocheted, they developed their own motifs from the hedges and flowers that grew around them.  We also went out to Cassandra Hand’s grave at Clogh Cemetery and were horrified that it was in such bad repair.  I will put up some photos to show its condition. We would like to raise some money and get it repaired as soon as possible.

The Hand plot in Clogh, County Fermanagh

is in need of some repair!

On Saturday, we had a lovely talk on Cassandra Hand, by Pat Tubb, who has been doing the family history of the Hand Family.

Orla Breslin then gave a powerpoint demonstration on freeform crochet, which developed from Irish Crochet. Orla had lots of examples of freeform, including a lovely bag that she had crocheted, and of  hyperbolic crochet.  We spent a couple of hours, listening to Orla and looking at her samples and then relaxed over a few drinks in the Lennard Arms Hotel.  Everybody enjoyed the weekend

To come:

Visit to the States:

The Met Museum, NYC

CGOA Conference, Manchester NH

Lacis Museum, Berkeley SF

JJ Hill House, Minneapolis MN

Trip to Kiev:

with Dora Ohrenstein and Tonya Dashkovskaya

lots of photos to come over the next few days.

Old Skills New Friends

January 2010

This is a cross community – cross border project between Clones, Co Monaghan and Maghery, Co Armagh. The inspiration behind the project was the reopening of the Ulster Canal which will enhance the two  communities, both socially and economically.  Clones is at one end of the Ulster Canal, quite close to Lough Erne and the river Finn, travelling through Monaghan, Castle Leslie, Tynan abbey, into Benburb, where it joins the river Blackwater, opening into Lough  Neagh at Maghery.

The Maghery group are bringing their boatbuilding and curragh skills to Clones, while Clones crochet Lace will be taught to the Maghery group. As part of this project,  in January 2010, Máire Treanor brought her skills to a group of 55 oaps in a cross community  project and a  similar number of kids from various schools in the area.

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