Lace Throughout the Years
- By: Sofia Koloredu
Take a look around your home, and if you're like most people it will seem like so much of what fills the world around you comes from relatively modern times. Oh sure there will be things there with origins that go back hundreds of years but for the most part, if you stop and think about it, so many things like your car or truck and for sure all the electrical components in your home are relatively new.
Lace is one of the very few things you'll find in your home with origins that go back thousands of years, and in fact just how far the history of lace goes back remains open for speculation and debate. Also, just like so many things in the US that were brought back across the Atlantic to the US from overseas, it was war and conflict that brought lace to the UK from Europe.
The Romans brought it over with them about 2000 years ago when they came by ships to invade what was then known as the island of Britannia. At that time the island of Britain was a rough hostile land that was populated by tribal cultures that were far from having the technology to create something as intricate and delicate as fine lace.
Many historians speculate that it was Phoenician traders who first discovered and traded in lace that they picked up somewhere in their travels around the Mediterranean. Now where they picked it up is anyone's guess but there is one theory on the actual development of lace, which is from a region where the wives of fishermen first began to experiment with it. All you have to do is look at footage or photographs of fishermen repairing their nets along the waterfront and you can see the same methodology and the same tools that they use only to a much larger scale. So it's perfectly plausible that thousand years ago after returning home from working on the docks repairing nets that women would then spend the rest of the day using the same tools and technology experimenting with lace.
Something worth noting here though is that mass-produced lace that's created on machines at factories is relatively new. You see, it's only with the last handful of decades that the technology even existed, so prior to that it was always made by hand. What this means, is that it's only in recent times that good high-quality lace that you can find for sale at reasonable prices around town was available and affordably.
As a matter of fact in Europe during much of the Middle Ages an unofficial dress code was in place that prevented "commoners" from wearing the same clothes as royalty, and the wealthy land owning class. So the commoners were allowed to make it during some periods of history but people weren't allowed to wear lace.
Folks today who are into lace have a lot to appreciate once they look back and understand the story of this amazing textile product. They can appreciate how affordable it is, they can appreciate the high level of quality in today's affordable pieces they could bring home. And also they can appreciate that they don't have a landlord telling them they can't wear it.
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