Lacy Days with Nottingham City Museums & Galleries

This is a partnership project that has been specifically been developed for the Imagine, arts and older people’s programme by Nottingham City Museums & Galleries. Annabel Elliot designed the project, taking inspiration from their extensive lace collection. The final outcome of the work will culminate in a community-inspired exhibit displayed alongside their contemporary textile collection including works such as Grayson Perry’s ‘Coming Out Dress’ (2000) and Lucy Brown’s ‘Petti-Fur-Coat’ (1999) as part of the Summer exhibition 2015.

Judith Edgar, curator of costume and textiles at Nottingham City Museums & Galleries introduced Lacy Days to members of Radford Care Group for the first session, showing around 30 members special lace pieces from their very special collection.

The lace garments consisted of 100-year-old white lace gloves, a stunning evening bag from the 30’s, a beautiful purple lace dress from the 60’s, a lace hat that matched a wedding dress in the 60’s and a pair of black lace stiletto shoes from the 60’s.

These items stimulated a lot of conversation amongst participants with several members recalling their own working lives and relatives employed within the lace industry in Nottingham.

This initial session was largely based on a no-touch introduction to some of the very fragile lace artefacts, however future workshops involved a more hands-on approach.

The following 6 sessions have explored hat-making, the making of lace gloves or hand warmers and lace shoe making. Participants were also asked to bring in old wedding photographs and had the opportunity to look at more historical objects from the lace trade. Jim Lacey joined one of the sessions to talk about his work as a ‘knitter’ of lace. Another session was led by Greg Foster from the Stereoscope Society, investigating historical stereoscopic imagery, where participants had the opportunity to have a 3D portrait of themselves taken. The last session looked at lace from Africa and a demonstration by Lola Giwa.

The seven sessions certainly stimulated a lot of conversation and memories of Nottingham’s rich history in relation to the lace industry and how it impacted upon so many lives of local people.
Nottingham was a world leader in lace making during the 19th Century with more than 130 lace factories in operation. Its legacy in the Lace Market area remain with some impressive examples of 19th industrial architecture.

The purpose behind this series commissioned projects, through the Imagine programme, is to link the rich cultural offer available in the city with care homes. In turn this provides greater opportunities for Nottingham’s arts venues to explore more sustainable links in the area through Nottingham’s Open Arts Forum.

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