Friday, March 18, 2016

On Creating a Thing of Beauty

Two Modern East Midland Lace Bobbins

A lace bobbin is a tool for making lace.  

And lace, as I'm sure you know, is probably the most beautiful fabric ever made by hand.

At least in my opinion.

It may be called Pillow lace or Bobbin lace, the name you use depends on who taught you and where it was that you were taught. 

Bobbin lace was made all over Europe centuries ago,
and each country or region developed their own style of bobbins.  

Lace made in those various regions was different too,
and the style of the bobbin told you a lot about the type of lace made with it. 

from left to right: Switzerland, Germany, 
Portugal, Spain and Italy

For instance, hold a heavy bobbin in your hand, and you can know the threads used would have been very thick, or the weight of the bobbin would have broken the thread.  

And if it is a tiny delicate bobbin?  Delicate lace with tiny threads, because the bobbin could not have held much of the thick thread wrapped around it.

In England, where I learned to make lace, three different styles of bobbins were used..

from left to right: South Bucks, Honiton,
East Midlands

If you were looking for old bobbins there, you might find an old Honiton bobbin with it's small smooth shape that ends in a point.  The smoothness and the point are important details in making this type of lace.  

Queen Victoria loved Honiton lace, and used it on her wedding dress and also on the christening gown that was used for 62 royal christenings, before being retired.  

You might be able to find a small South Bucks bobbin,
or you might want to look for an East Midlands lace bobbin.  

These were used on similar types of lace even though their appearance is very different.

My favorite are the East Midlands bobbins.
East Midlands lace bobbins are small treasures.

For some reason we do not know
(because none of the bobbin makers wrote it down for us),
the bobbin makers in the East Midlands decided to use their artistry on the bobbins they made,

They decorated them and also added a ring of beads to the end of the bobbin.

The result was that these bobbins became small miniature works of art in their own right.  

But one bobbin can not be used to make lace by itself.

Bobbins work in pairs.

Lots of pairs.

Today, some lacemakers mix the short South Bucks lace bobbin with East Midland lace bobbins to make lace like Bucks point lace.

Bucks Point lace is a very delicate net lace with a design that is outlined by a thicker thread.
They use the South Bucks bobbins to hold the threads used to outline the design in the lace.
This shorter bobbin without the ring of beads stands out in the mix of East Midland bobbins so that it is easier to keep them separate.

The outline thread is what makes the flowers and leaves stand out in the net background.

The different bobbins work well together to create the beautiful end result of lace.

While the purpose of making the lace may be similar for both kinds of bobbins,

there is a more specific purpose known only to the one who directs it's use.

For example, a bobbin might hold the thread that is either outlining the design
or it may be the thread used for filling in the design.

Different looks, different use, but the same purpose.
Beautiful lace.

I have seen a picture of a Belgian lacemaker with over 1000 bobbins on her pillow.
All of her bobbins were the same.
And all of her bobbins were necessary.
Each bobbin had its place and its purpose.

Each lace bobbin unique, because each lace bobbin has a unique purpose.

Kind of like us.

A Christian's purpose is to glorify God.

We are each created for that purpose,

We may look the same, but we are not.

Our gifts may look the same. They are not.

The way God uses your teaching gift to bring about His purpose can be very different than the way He uses another person's teaching gift.

Yet we all work together to bring glory to our Maker,

How He intends to use you is known only to Him.

We can't allow the use of another to distract us from our purpose.

It takes all of us..

Whatever our purpose may be, we need to remember that the finished product will only happen when we all work together.

You might have a pillow full of beautiful East Midland's bobbins,
with a few pair of the South Bucks shorter bobbins.

Don't undervalue or overvalue your place.

The most exquisitely beautiful East Midlands Bobbin cannot make lace by itself!

We are not so unique that we do not need each other to finish the work.

Let's allow God to use us and our gifts that He has given us to complete the work He has for us.

One day, we may be able to look back and behold a thing of exquisite beauty!

A small sample of East Midland bobbins
with a piece of very old handmade Bucks Point Lace.

I Cor. 12:18 (the Message)

As it is, we see that God has carefully placed each part of the body right where He wanted it.

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