Additionally, because mid-century furnishings became increasingly streamlined and spare, extra textiles came to seem out of place. With fewer servants to do the work, housewives were responsible for their own cooking and laundry.
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Paper doilies came into fashion for those who still chose to line their dishes when entertaining, but foodways changed as well. With the advent of processed and frozen foods, packaged mixes, and TV dinners, dining and entertaining were themselves transformed. Post-war children uniformly came to associate cloth doilies and doily-making with their grandmothers. Beginning with the second-wave feminist movement of the s, some women began to look at doilies with a new appreciation.
Although not interested in using them in outmoded ways, they saw the careful workmanship and aesthetic sensibility the small textiles embodied. Curator Rachel Maines chose that location because the women passing through every day would be able to see this female tradition in a new light. It is also a symbol of the strength, creativity and determination to rise above the mundane, of women who have gone before me. Marge Engelman , an octogenarian living in Madison, Wisconsin, also began to look at doilies with new eyes.
A textile artist herself—she makes quilts, for example, and combines needlework techniques with gourds to make compelling, unique pieces—she began to collect doilies about thirty years ago. Engelman thus still associated doilies with old women and times past but felt great respect for the work that went into them.
Engelman knows the meditative power of needlework, for although she has never made her own doilies, she credits fiber arts as helping her heal from cancer.
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As a child, Engelman wondered how the patterns could emerge from such a simple tool. Engelman originally collected embroidery of different types, but like most collectors, she eventually began to specialize. Her daughter gave her a doily with a pineapple pattern, which Engelman liked very much. She started to look for additional appealing examples.
She found them in antiques shops, flea markets, and yard sales, and friends and family often gave her doilies once they knew she was collecting. She concentrated on round examples because she felt she should limit herself to some guiding criteria. She was especially interested in tatted and Hardanger embroidery doilies because she considered those techniques especially hard to master, but she sought out representative examples of all the different techniques.
Battenburg tape lace was one of her favorites. Sometimes a doily came home with her because of a particular association, such as a shared heritage with the maker or the fact that it was the last doily a given woman had made. Nevertheless, the collection holds deep meaning for her. In addition to the connection with the women who made them, she claims the process helped her develop a critical eye and hone her own aesthetic sense.
She found a satisfying way to display her collection on individual pages kept in loose-leaf binders. She mounts the doilies on a black background and makes a full-size photocopy of each.
With the high contrast, the patterns stand out—they have a visually powerful impact. The pages can be organized in different ways.
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Engelman has tried to interest others in the topic but has been frustrated by a generally lukewarm reception. She hopes to find a home for her archive at a university textile collection, so it will live on—and continue to be appreciated—when she is gone. The branches of trees growing on pavement in an inner-city Bohemian neighborhood in Australia decorated with crocheted lace doilies sewn together.
Today, doilies appear to be making something of a comeback. Average Review. Write a Review. Related Searches. This ebook will allow you to recreate the , 8 point star doily from the View Product. This pattern will allow you to recreate the vintage Aristocrat Decorative Tablecloth from The Doily No. This pattern will allow you to recreate the Motif Doily No. This pattern will allow you to recreate the vintage Lucky Star Decorative Tablecloth Styling your home with wall mirrors just might be one of the greatest interior design hacks out there.
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