Monday 4 September 2023


 In his book 'Underland' Robert Macfarlane says

'sometimes, in fact, all that is left behind by loss is trace - and sometimes empty volume can be easier to hold in the heart than presence itself'

This piece from Evidence consists of a ribbon winder card, the tattered remains of lace shelf edging, two old snail shells and a web of single stitch needlelace.

   I have collected a lot of antique and vintage haberdashery over the past thirty five years. A lot was not really valued by the world until recently. I saw not just the quality of the material in the trimmings but also in the simple packaging; the winders and reels that ribbons were wound onto, the card mounts for buttons and even the thread that attached them...all good quality and yet discarded. I picked up my treasures for 10p or 50p, the prices often crudely written straight onto the paper in felt tip pen. 

  At my great grandmothers' home I found many more treasures and among them were packets of shelf edging which have paper lace borders to make decorate the shelves of larders and dressers. Many were untouched with pretty bands of paper to secure them but the packets that were opened I allowed myself to use on my shelves. Over time they wore away and like the old lace they emulate started to yellow and disintegrate.

  Old empty snail shells do not last forever, I collect them from around the garden and use them on top of garden canes but was surprised to see that they fade. Always a collector of organic packaging, shells, seed pods and galls, to me they are just like the ribbon reels.

  The web is a single Brussels stitch needlelace mesh made in the finest lacemaker thread I could find. I would have put a spiders web across them if I could but instead I made my own.

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