Date of this Version
Published in Textile Society of America 2014 Biennial Symposium Proceedings: New Directions: Examining the Past, Creating the Future, Los Angeles, California, September 10–14, 2014,
If you think that white is the only color for lace...think again! My research focuses on a group of polychrome Italian laces dating from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The category I have identified in the MMA lace collection is known as “embroidered laces” and includes the techniques of Filet and Buratto. These early lacemaking techniques are often characterized by the use of different materials for the foundation and for the embroidery (textile and metallic threads). Despite the visual variety represented by these Italian laces, they all share the same basic structure of a net foundation, making them a particularly interesting subset to study. While luxury fabrics and historical textiles in general have gained more interest during the last decades, laces are still seriously understudied. It is for this reason that I would be delighted to contribute to the development of this hitherto neglected field through an analytical approach. My research will concentrate on the technical aspects of the laces, aiming to study and identify their material components through analysis of the diverse types of fibers, dyes, and techniques of lacemaking unique to these examples. From an analytic point of view, the information available concerning Filet and Buratto is limited, as is the proper method of their classification. My project would help fill the gaps in knowledge of these laces, in terms of both technical information and classification methodology. A thorough documentation of these net background Italian laces in the MMA’s collection could become a significant contribution towards making this understudied field more accessible to conservation and curatorial investigation in the future.