Thursday 15 February 2024

Miss Channer’s lace mat


Catherine Channer was actively involved in the revival of the East Midlands handmade lace industry in Britain in the early twentieth century. She was a lacemaker, teacher and researcher and I’ve written about some of her work in this blog before. Today I’m looking at Miss Channer’s mat which she designed in the early 1920s using the technique for pricking the ground that she had developed following research into old lace patterns and their origins (see this blog of 24 October 2023). An image of the mat was published in her book Practical lacemaking published in 1928 which was one of the few textbooks for students and gave instructions and patterns for Bucks point lace. 

The mat in the book had been worked by Mrs Dixon of Clapham, Bedfordshire in about 1926 and is now in the collection of the Cecil Higgins Art Gallery in Bedford. The mat became famous as a challenge for skilled lacemakers in 1991 when Ruth Bean published Anne Buck’s book about Miss Channer entitled In the cause of English lace. A supplement was published at the same time comprising an image of the mat and a full sized pricking of it, which had been adapted by Patricia Bury from an earlier version in her collection. Since then many lacemakers have worked it and their handiwork can be seen by searching for ‘Miss Channers mat’ on the internet. No instructions were given for the original mat or for the version published in 1991 so it is also interesting to see how it has been worked by different lacemakers and the varying number of pairs of bobbins they used to complete it. I have never made Miss Channer’s mat but I do admire the skill and patience of those who have.


Sophie said...

Is the pattern available somewhere?

Carol Q said...

Hi Sophie, the pattern was published in conjunction with Anne Buck's book but I don't know if that is still available. I think the original is probably held at Luton Museum so you could try them. I hope you find it. Carol