About 'The Lacemakers' project


What is The Lacemakers puppetry project?

The Lacemakers is an Arts Council funded puppetry Research and Development project, inspired by lacemaking lore and history. It is led by me, artist Daisy Jordan. This phase of the project entails research about the history of lacemaking (particularly when it was handmade, as a cottage industry), the folklore surrounding it and engagement with modern day lacemakers and lace historians.

The museum partners of the project are: Higgins Bedford, Amersham Museum and Cowper and Newton Museum. Please see the Partners page for more information.

The Aims of the Project

The long term aim is to produce a puppetry-led piece inspired by the research I will be collecting during this phase of the project. As well as being a place to collect all my research in blog posts, this website is intended to be sort of like a digital sketchbook, where I will also share my inspirations, ideas and experiments in translating my lace research into puppetry. There will also be some free online puppetry workshops for visitors to the site. The website will also have a forum section. The idea is that modern hobby lacemakers, people with a background in lacemaking (either handmade or machine lace) and anyone interested in lace can connect with one another, comment on and contribute to the material. 

Why am I doing the project?

I had the idea to do a puppetry project about lacemaking a few years ago when I came across a photo on the internet of a piece of autobiographical lace made by a woman called Adelaide Hall, a patient in a psychiatric hospital, in 1917. The small piece of lace depicts a number of tiny, 3-dimensional lace figures tangled in a web of lace. I found it so inspiring; the tiny figures made me think of puppets and I wondered if puppetry and lacemaking could be an interesting combination. It also got me thinking about lace making as a metaphor for storytelling. I wasn’t quite sure how I’d go about it, so I eventually moved on to a different project, though the idea stayed in the back of my mind. 

I’ve always really loved lace as an object, but when I started looking into its history, and the various folklore surrounding it, I was really intrigued by its dark past. I learned that, before the Industrial Revolution, lace was made entirely by hand, with the lacemakers working extremely long hours in poor working conditions. I was also fascinated by the Lace Tells - songs sung by lacemakers while working, often with very macabre subject matter. You can find out more about the history in my various blog posts!

I hope you enjoy the website! Please feel free to comment on posts or in the forum. 

Daisy xx

You can see posts about the creative development of The Lacemakers project below

  • All
  • Creative Puppetry Development

Unpicking the Lost Stitch: A Conceptual Approach to Research By Ulysses Black

Ulysses Black writes of a concept he came up with, exploring how narrative threads can cross over, reflecting the method of making a lace stitch:...

The Smuggler Character (and his dog)

Meet the smuggler and learn more about lace smuggling generally and his struggle with a corpse... Puppets, puppetry and voice by Daisy Jordan. Video editing...

The Lace Merchant (character and history)

Above music: Maiden Maiden by Gemma Khawaja. Lyrics by Ulysses Black. The little puppet prototype pictured is the character of the lace merchant....