I started making lace in the early 1970's when the revival was just beginning. My
background was in needlework of various kinds, having a Mum who used to earn her
living doing embroidery, some of which rubbed off on me. I too earned my crust wielding
a needle, but in the rag trade.
My first lace lessons were taken in a little cottage in Beavers Road in Farnham just
along from the Art College. After a couple of years of learning at my tutor's knee
(the only two books available at the time were Maidment and Tebbs), I was told by
a tutor of an evening class that I was attending that she had found me a job, which
I wasn't sure that I wanted. I went for an interview armed with a selection of my
work and a lot of enthusiasm, and was duly offered a class along with an induction
course by Hampshire Adult Education Authority (that was in 1974).
Eventually I had 3 classes up and running, one of which is still running and is now
in the capable hands of Anna Winter.
Over the next few years, other things were beginning to grow in the lace making world.
Groups were being organised (such as North Downs), and others got together to run
workshop days where several tutors would be on site together teaching different skills.
This is where I started my teaching of sewing in relation to mounting lace, which
has in turn taken me around the country to different lace making groups.
One thing led to another, and a request from a friend to talk to a group of people
about lace, because she didn't think that she could do it, was followed by an approach
from the Surrey W.I. for me to be auditioned to see if I would make the grade to
become a speaker. That was an experience that I won't forget, but I was accepted
and did the rounds of quite a number of W.I.s over about 5 years.