I want to talk about lace, fancy and frilly lace. The kind used in wedding gowns, fancy dresses, underwear. It can be made on computerized textile machines that can replicate the same pattern with great consistency. Then there is lace made on 19th-century machines which can produce extremely complex patterns that computerized machinery cannot match.
Of Lace, Leavers Lace
The granddaddy of the lace machines is the Leavers machines that are used in Europe and in one place in the United States, Leavers Lace company located in West Greenwich, RI. Their lace is world class and used in the gowns and dresses of celebrities. The best-known one is probably Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, aka Kate Middleton, whose wedding dress was made with Leavers Lace materials mad in Rhode Island! Steve Mason, a fellow photographer, and a friend has been documenting the Leavers Lace, their machinery, the people who make the machinery run, and recently published a book by the same name, Leavers Lace.
I remember meeting Steve 4-5 years ago when he showed me a maquette book consisting of the prints he made and bound by a bookbinder. It was quite interesting to see the work environment, the workers, and the centenarian machines that still produce some of the best laces. Below, you will see pages from that original maquette.
The completed book is expertly printed by Meridian Printing and contains Steve’s photographs with captions written by one of the men of Leavers Lace. In addition to good photography, the complexity of the machinery, the mastery of the people who make them work all provide for a very satisfying viewing and reading experience. The book has limited quantity and can be purchased directly from Steve or meet him at his next book signing on June 7 at 7:00 pm at Stillwater Books at 175 Main Street in Pawtucket, RI. Or, contact Steve from his Website if you want to purchase his book, and it is well worth it.
Here are some views from the original maquette:
And, here is a PDF file that contains some page spreads from the actual published book.
Of Yachts, Edgewood Yacht Club
Jim Turner, another fellow photographer, and a friend has been working on a couple of projects. The Edgewood Yacht Club was burned down in 2011 and they started the reconstruction from the ground up in 2016. Jim has been photographing the progress, inside and out with the permission of the site supervisors and the result is a great documentary collection of the construction. The upper level is the Ted Turner Sailing Pavilion, Brown University Sailing and the lower level is the Edgewood Yacht Club facilities. Located in Cranston, RI, the club also serves the local community with a sailing school and offering club facilities to its members.
Jim’s book, Edgewood Yacht Club is over 60 pages and contains over 70 photographs documenting all the phases of the construction of the new home of the club. It makes a very good coffee-table book for photography and sailing fans as well as those who follow local developments.
You can purchase a copy of the book direct from MagCloud and preview all the pages. But, here are some pages from Edgewood Yacht Club.
Of Streets, Providence
A while back, I got Jim hooked on making books of photographs. He decided to photograph Providence over the course of the seasons for a year or more. And, in the end, he had thousands of photographs of events, people, places, community but little seasonal divisions. After filtering the photographs, the book, Providence: A Photographic Essay emerged. That too is available direct from MagCloud where you can preview all the pages. Below are some pages from this book.
Congratulations to Steve and Jim for their vision, persistence, and accomplishments. And what is common to these projects? They are about photography and Rhode Island!