June 29th I'll be on Gwynn's Island for their 64th annual festival. I love visiting this island. It's located in the Chesapeake Bay on Virginia's Middle Peninsula in Mathews County. The island is connected to the mainland by a swing bridge that is fully operational. On the island itself is a very nice museum you can visit where you can view artifacts that evidence that the island has been inhabited as early as ten thousand years ago as well as ancient sea fossils that are really fascinating. But the most wonderful part of the museum is the exhibit of tatted lace done by the ladies who lived on the island. Some of the lace has to be done in hundred weight thread as it is so fine. I believe the oldest piece I saw dated back to the late 1860's. They even have some of the tatting shuttles on display. It's so wonderful to be able to see that they have preserved the lace and clothing that it is sewn on. I know we have all read the history about where tatting came from but after seeing this exhibit you come away with the sense that lace really did develop out of small fishing villages. A good friend of mine from work lives on the island. Her husband is an "Islander" so she makes the hour and a half trek to work everyday. I remember back when her husband was earning his living as a fisherman, sometimes he would come into "town" and stop by the office. He was fascinated to see me tat during lunch and would say how does she know how to do that? She's using a similar technique to making nets! He told me I could come down to the island and help them repair the fish nets one day. Alas I never got the chance but I remember when my friend would tell me how they would spread the nets out in the field across from their house and the men would all be out there repairing them. There are so many regulations for fishing now that the poor guys have a hard time making a living and hence why her husband found other employment and I never got to try my hand at repairing nets.
I used to think she was crazy driving so far but after visiting there twice now I can see why they would never want to leave. I can't wait to go!
For the festival I decided to make some pieces that tie to the sea and summer. I am thinking about calling this collection Mermaid Folly. The seahorse is made with one shuttle and the earrings are done in my Ice Blue pattern but this time I used lentil beads.