Selvedge Issue 82 Lace

Frequency Bi-Monthly
Publisher Names by Selvedge
Selvedge Issue 82 Lace

Issue 82: Lace

'I am embarrassed to admit that I used to be sceptical about lace — being put off by its associations with cheap lingerie. However, the more I discover about its past, present and future, the more intrigued I become. What textile carries so many contrasting messages? It is at the same time; demure, erotic, delicate, brutal, cheap, sophisticated, fragile and strong. It is made either with needle and thread, as in Alençon, in Normandy, France; with miniature bobbins on a cushion on one’s lap as is used in the case of Honiton lace from Devon; or, as with Leaver lace, making use of a cast iron loom weighing more than ten tons.

In the 19th century, lace instigated the famous Luddite riots, a series of attacks on factory looms in the UK, and was a catalyst for the smuggling of looms from Nottingham to St Pierre and Calais. Lace is, simultaneously, the darling of the haute couture fashion industry and  a source of ridicule when used to shield prying eyes in suburban dwellings. In this issue, we unpick this most complex of materials, visualising the working of Leaver looms, tracing its history from Nottingham to Honiton and Calais, and examining its political status in the form of the veil.

This emotive material is a favourite amongst contemporary artists who manipulate its scale and substance to comment on gender and a myriad other messages lace conveys. Architects, on the other hand, enjoy its structural qualities of strength and delicacy. Finally enjoy the elegant beauty of lace observed in the photographs of Christine Mathieu on display at Calais’ Cite Dentelle Mode museum, and as we look forward to the spectacle of a Royal Wedding we wonder if Meghan Markle will choose a dress of Cluny lace – or maybe she will choose something by the American designer Vera Wang? '

Polly Leonard, Founder, Selvedge Magazine

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Our Story

Selvedge is a magazine that acknowledges the significance of textiles as a part of everyone’s story.  We are surrounded by cloth from the cradle to the grave and by exploring our universal emotional connection to fibre we share the stories and values that mean the most to us. From why we love the sound of a needle pulling thread through taut linen, to why we are fascinated by the clothes we wear and the fibres we unknowingly rely on. There are many sides to every story and Selvedge is dedicated to finding and nurturing textiles from every angle. We believe that textiles unite all humanity and in surveying the development of society it is clear that from a spider’s web to the world-wide web, textiles appear as the protagonist.

It is with this thought that we hope to widen our net as well as our own horizons with everything we do. Join us and make our stories part of your story.


The Magazine

At the heart of the Selvedge story is a cerebral and sensual addiction to cloth and with that an appreciation of the beautifully made and carefully considered.  Having been drawn to textiles since childhood, Polly Leonard studied embroidery and weaving and taught textiles for ten years.  Frustrated at the lack of infrastructure to support talented artisans and the wider community of enthusiasts, Polly took a leap of faith in April 2004 and created the magazine she wanted to read – Selvedge. Today Selvedge is still exploring and understanding the history, future, politics and aesthetics of textiles with its own distinct voice.

Since its launch Selvedge has become much more than a magazine. As well as a valuable source of inspiration  for designers and devotees alike, the Selvedge brand has flourished not only into a spring board for makers and artisans but a strong community of textile lovers, with workshops and fairs.

As a publication we broaden our own horizons and fall more in love with textiles with every issue. Because we believe that the most interesting and evocative textile stories deserve to be shown in the best possible light, we work to ensure that every page is as carefully considered and beautiful as the textile stories within it.