In the late 1960's I saw a demonstration of bobbin lace in a Church Hall in Crowthorne,
Berks where I used to live. I stood for some considerable time totally fascinated
by the bobbins and intricate patterns being worked and wondered where I could learn.
The lady demonstrating was non other than Nenia Lovesey and that chance meeting totally
changed my life. I enrolled in Nenia's class at The Old Brewery in Wokingham and
caught 'the lace fever' for which there is no cure. I took to bobbin lace like a
duck to water and it was not long before Nenia asked me to take over the class at
Wokingham as she had been invited to South Hill Park Arts Centre in Bracknell, Berks
to take up the position of Craft Co-ordinator and once again I was asked to teach
the bobbin lace.
Nenia was invited to tutor a City & Guilds Creative Textile course at Windsor and
Maidenhead College and I enrolled in 1978 on a two year course which encompassed
everything that made a textile; tatting, spinning, weaving, knitting, crochet, sprang,
bobbin lace, netting, tapestry weaving and needlelace . I also learned how to do
tablet weaving, how to card a fleece, which was then knitted and woven into cloth,
tambour work, sans blas and many other things now long forgotten. Jan Beaney was
our tutor for the design work and it was an intensive two year course with a written
exam at the end of it. I successfully gained my certificate in 1980 and this course
was my introduction to needlelace.
I excelled in needlework at school and would love to have attended The Royal school
of Needlelwork as an apprentice but my teacher told my parents that it was hard work
and poorly paid, so I had to drop needlework and do the Commercial course ( shorthand
and typing). You can imagine how honoured I felt several decades later to be invited
by Joan Field who was then Principal of The Royal school ( then at Princes Gate in
London), to teach the apprentices one day a week for six weeks.
I went on to teach needlelace at The English Lace School, Devon, The British College
of Lace, Rugby, workshops for The Lace Guild including Summer School at Ford Castle,
several times to Northern & Southern Ireland, twice to Denver , Los Angeles, Ithaca,
Puerto Rico and a Caribbean Cruise, Indianapolis, San Diego, OIDFA Nottingham University,
Southern France, C & G at Knuston Hall and the very first intake of C & G students
in the 1980's, along with our President Ann Day, Ros Hills, Sheila York and Denise
watts, all of whom were at the time, members of North Downs. In 2007 I was invited
to teach in Perth, Melbourne and Sydney, Australia.
I was commissioned to write a book on Needlelace by B. T Batsford which was first
published in October 1993 and has been re-printed four times (now sadly out of print).
I dedicated the book entitled Needlelace Designs & Techniques - Classic & Contemporary'
to Nenia Lovesey my teacher and friend, whom I could never repay for giving so generously
over the years, of her time, knowledge, enthusiasm , encouragement and for enhancing
With the help of colleagues and friends, many of whom are members of North Downs
Lacemakers, I was able to donate the sum of £1,512 to Breast Cancer Campaign in memory
of Iris Wallbank who was sadly a victim of breast cancer, from money raised from
the sale of blank greeting cards I had printed of my 'Parasol for Iris'.