February, the month for Valentines, seemed to be a perfect time to learn all about lace and lacemaking. Our Guild has an active group of lacemakers who invited Anita Hansen of the Doris Southard Lace Guild of Cedar Rapids to be our guest speaker.
Anita began by describing how a member of our own Guild, Doris Southard, became an internationally known lacemaker.
Doris lived on a farm near New Hartford, Iowa, and enjoyed the fiber arts including knitting, weaving, and crochet. In the 1950s an article in Woman’s Day magazine about bobbin lace caught her attention. Doris decided to teach herself how to make bobbin lace using clothes pins for bobbins and a toilet paper roll for the pillow.
There weren’t many resources available to her in the days before the internet, but Doris corresponded with the article’s author and obtained a few books. She didn’t actually meet another bobbin lace weaver in person for another ten years.
As her skills grew, Doris began teaching bobbin lace to others locally and by correspondence classes By the 1970s she had joined the national organization of bobbin lace weavers and became a well known expert teaching classes at conventions across the United States.
The articles Doris had written drew the attention of the publishers at Simon and Schuster. They asked her to write an instructional book for bobbin lace. Bobbin Lacemaking was published in 1977 and is still available today. Later editions were entitled Lessons in Bobbin Lacemaking. Doris became the first American author of a bobbin lace book.
Doris was an inspiration to all those who knew her. She enjoyed sharing her expertise even after she was no longer able to manipulate the pins to make lace herself. Her lacemaking legacy lives on through her book, those she taught, her beautiful lace pieces, and the members of the Doris Southard Lace Guild of Cedar Rapids
To learn more about Anita Hanson’s program on bobbin lacemaking, read Bobbin Lace Part 2: The Rest of the Story.