Friday, October 31, 2008

What is netting?

Below is some of the information about netting I have learned throughout the years.

Netting is a centuries old art created by tying knots over a mesh stick. It is so old its origin is unknown and it is not credited to any one country of origin. Netted objects have been found in countries all over the world each with their own distinctive techniques. Netting is also believed to be the precursor to the modern lace we know today.

Netting is known by several names:
  • Netted lace
  • Lacis
  • Filet lace
  • Spiderweb lace
  • Net of art
  • Artistic net
  • Filet net

Have you ever heard of any of these?

This charming old-world craft has been used to make all kinds of useful items from the ancient fishing nets to more modern hammocks and from Victorian women’s fashion accessories to doilies and shopping bags. Netted lace is strong and functional yet delicate looking and fancy at the same time.

A nice quote from Lacis describes the beauty of filet lace:

  • "Lacis is being revived (1908) on the Continent...It has been made since Medieval days in Italy, France, Spain and Portugal in enormous quantities in religious houses, as well as in every castle, palace and hall.......... Why is old work so beautiful, and why does it afford never-ending wonderment and genuine delight, and why has it lasted for centuries with colours and texture unimpaired by the destroying hand of time? Because the element of cheapness and modern hurry did not enter into the scheme -- because every part of it was prepared with loving care and unwearying trouble by people who were artists first and craftsmen afterwards...Examine the beautiful specimens of work handed down to us from long ago...See that all were made by hand -- not only the work itself, but all the materials that were used in producing it...The thread was spun by sensitive hands, not by an unfeeling machine."

Now in modern times netting is all but forgotten. There is very little information available and very few people who practice the art.

When I was taught to net by my grandmother many, many years ago, she taught me to make dainty doilies, like the one picutred above, using tiny string/thread and a metal shuttle. These doilies were used everywhere in her house and given as gifts. Some of these doilies were framed and hung on the walls.

Another wonderful site to visit is The Museum of the lace net of Perrière

Links about netted lace