Category: lace events

Brioude (Haute-Loire): A Concert of Lacemakers’ Songs

Jean Dumas with Virginie Granouillet. Photo Dumas family collection.

If you happen to be in reach of Brioude, France, this coming weekend 18-19 September, we can recommend a visit to the Hôtel de la Dentelle where Éric Desgrugillers will be giving a talk and concert, on both the Saturday and Sunday at 2.30pm, about the songs sung by lacemakers in the Haute-Loire.  This event is part of the annual French festival ‘les journées du patrimoine’.  In particular Éric will examine the repertoire of one lacemaker, Virginie Granouillet, known as ‘La Baracande’.  Virginie was born in 1878 in Mans, a hamlet adjacent to the village of Roche-en-Régnier which perches high above the Loire valley.  Unable to read or write, she worked as a lacemaker from her childhood into her eighties.  Jean Dumas, a professor of Italian at Clermont-Ferrand University, recorded 178 songs from Virginie between 1958 and 1961, the year before her death.  (Jean came from Vorey, another lacemaking village on the Loire.)  Virginie probably knew many more – as Jean put to one side her religious songs and songs in the local dialect of Occitan.

If, like us, you’re unable to get to Brioude this weekend, you can still hear 146 of Virginie’s songs, as well as some of her conversations with Jean, as they are available on the Base inter-régionale ‘Patrimoine oral‘.  (In theory they are also accessible on the website ‘Portail du patrimoine oral‘, but in our experience this is less reliable.)  Jean’s many other recordings of singing lacemakers, such as Virginie’s neighbour Marie Soulier, are available on the same website. Éric  has also written a book – Des chansons tissées aux fuseaux [songs woven with bobbins] – which includes a CD of Virginie’s songs.

Éric Desgrugillers

 

 

 

Celebrating Catterns at the Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford, Saturday 25 November 2017

As readers of this blog will know, lacemakers claim several saints as their patron, but the one most favoured in the English Midlands is Saint Catherine.  The Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford celebrated the Feast of Saint Catherine on 25 November 2017 with a ‘lace day’.   ISIS lacemakers demonstrated their skills and gave visitors a chance to make some lace themselves, while David Hopkin gave visitors talks about the lace tools on display and their connection to lacemakers’ work, feasts and folklore.  There were Cattern cakes to try (though we’re probably not quite ready to submit our cakemaking talents to the Great British Bake Off).  And we’re probably going to do the whole thing again next year.

Visitors to the Pitt Rivers met with local lacemakers and some had a go themselves

The lace display in the Pitt Rivers is small but there’s lots to say about it.

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