I'm just finalizing arrangements, I'm teaching an Alencon lace class at IOLI in Minneapolis in 2012. This will be a very advanced class, and I can only take about 6 students. Each one will be carefully vetted, particularly for the ability to master the hand position (which is nothing like the video now posted on this site). I'm going to use the finest old thread and horsehair from my collection, withe size 12 needles. This will be as close as I can get to a traditional Alencon atelier setting.
I studied needlelace in Alencon in 1980. I have never taught this class before, and probably won't again. Brigitte Delesque-Depalle has taught a few classes in Canada years ago, only in French. She and I overlapped in Alencon for a few weeks. As far as I know there has never been an Alencon class taught in the USA by someone actually trained in the technique. We will also cover a few related Belgian needlelace techniques.
I'm asking for as much time as they will give me, at least 2 hours a day for the full week. More if I can get it.
More later,
Laurie Waters

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Sounds like a fabulous class. I only wish I could be there (Impossible, but a great dream!!!)
Good luck with it, and let us all know how it is going along.
This is exciting news. I tried for years to get into an Alencon class given by Irma Osterman at the IOLI convention, but they were always canceled due to lack of interest. In fact, I had a rather mournful breakfast one day with Irma in which she opined that she thought the most recent Alencon class had failed to enroll the minimum number of students and had been canceled because it was a 24 hour course (M,T, Th, Fri, for 6 hours a day). She thought people had decided not to take it because it meant they couldn't take another class as well.
Laurie, I am a little puzzled by the format that you suggest, at least 2 hours a day for the full week. Ordinarily, the IOLI classes are either 12 hour morning or afternoon classes. (Ie. 3 hours a day, M,T, Th, Fr) or else, 24, which is both the three hour morning and afternoon sessions, making for 6 hours a day. Then there are mini classes, ie. 3 hours on one day, Wednesday, perhaps, when the trips are usually scheduled, or Saturday, the last day. Is the Minneapolis Convention not going to follow the usual pattern?
Hi Devon,
We are still negotiating. I would LOVE to have 4 days at 6 hours per day. Or 5 days. When I was in Alencon I worked a 6 hour day with 2 hours off around noon (all the regular workers went straight on through). We might even make a little progress that way. I'd do it even if I had only 1 or 2 students - but apparently there's a minimum class size because they have to pay for space, etc.
As I said, we are still in talks about this.
I saw Lynn Fumoso at the Convention and she told me about the class, mentioning the 6 student max. This immediately jumped out at me since, when I taught a class in Lace History there was an 8 student min, 12 student max. The economics of lace classes, which I used to arrange for my local group, often result in the cancellation of classes with fewer than 6, or 8 people. Being the iconoclast that I am, I find it annoying that some of the classes most interesting classes to a small fanatical minority of people kept getting canceled because they didn't appeal to a large number of people, and I often wondered if there wasn't some way out of this, ie. charging more per person. Thus, I was very impressed that the Minneapolis convention was willing to go this far to accommodate an Alencon class, especially in light of the fact that I had had numerous previous Alencon classes canceled on me. Needle lace is so time consuming that, in a way, it is a bad fit to try to make it conform to a format that suits bobbin lace just barely. Maybe this is why we don't have a lot of needle lace classes. It would be really nice if needle lace rose to a greater level of prominance in our convention offerings and if we were able to enlarge our membership by fulfilling the needs of needlelacers.
Laurie
This is, indeed, very exciting news. Please post it among our EVENTS. Even if you don't have all the details, you can correct the information once you have uploaded the basics.
I was a founding member of the Minnesota Lace Society, and haven't visited for about 25 years. They asked me to come and participate somehow, so this is my contribution. I keep costs down by staying with my mother who still lives in the area, and probably will not be paid the full teacher's fee because of the small size. But I'm happy with that. Just wish I could get more time, but then, that is still in negotiation.
Just wait til you see my requirements for the class - probably won't get any students!
Laurie

Devon Thein said:
I saw Lynn Fumoso at the Convention and she told me about the class, mentioning the 6 student max. This immediately jumped out at me since, when I taught a class in Lace History there was an 8 student min, 12 student max. The economics of lace classes, which I used to arrange for my local group, often result in the cancellation of classes with fewer than 6, or 8 people. Being the iconoclast that I am, I find it annoying that some of the classes most interesting classes to a small fanatical minority of people kept getting canceled because they didn't appeal to a large number of people, and I often wondered if there wasn't some way out of this, ie. charging more per person. Thus, I was very impressed that the Minneapolis convention was willing to go this far to accommodate an Alencon class, especially in light of the fact that I had had numerous previous Alencon classes canceled on me. Needle lace is so time consuming that, in a way, it is a bad fit to try to make it conform to a format that suits bobbin lace just barely. Maybe this is why we don't have a lot of needle lace classes. It would be really nice if needle lace rose to a greater level of prominance in our convention offerings and if we were able to enlarge our membership by fulfilling the needs of needlelacers.
So here are the requirements for the Alencon class:
1. no more than 6 students. I don't feel I can give proper attention to any more.

2. I will supply all the materials, and also bring historical examples and other materials for study. I am using my very old supplies of extremely fine thread and horsehair - one more reason for the small class size. I don't have enough supplies for more - in fact I will use about half my stash for the class.

3. The only appropriate text is Brigitte Delesque-Depalle's "La Dentelle À L'aiguille" - she and I were studying in Alencon together. It isn't necessary that students have a copy, but it would be helpful.

4. I haven't decided if I'm going to write up notes or have the students take their own.

5. We will spend each day concentrating on one or more of the 7 different processes in making Alencon lace. I'll also go over a few related Point d'Gaz techniques.

6. We will use the finest traditional thread - students should bring appropriate magnifying glasses.

7. Long, well kept NATURAL fingernails are not required, but will make the work much easier. Alencon lace making depends critically on supple fingers - everything is done with the tips of the fingers.

8. Neck strain can be a problem in making this lace, so I'll warn people beforehand, and we will do some relaxing exercises during the class.

9. Continental hand position is mandatory. People should practice beforehand - I will not teach people who cannot manage this. No exceptions to this requirement.

10. As much time for the class as is allowed - two hours for all 5 days. More would be much better - still in negotiation. If this interferes with other things they want to do at the convention, then don't take this class.

So I'm wondering if there will be any takers after this. But you would be missing something entirely unique. Basically I'm asking students to forget everything they ever learned about needlelace. Start again, as if you had never picked up a needle before. It will be well worth it.
Laurie
Lorelei Terry Halley said:
Laurie
This is, indeed, very exciting news. Please post it among our EVENTS. Even if you don't have all the details, you can correct the information once you have uploaded the basics.
I'll post it formally once the arrangements are finalized. I'l also put up hopefully a video of what I mean by 'continental' hand position, which is so critical in making this lace. Afterall, we have 2 years, so there's plenty of time.
Laurie

Lorelei Terry Halley said:
Laurie
This is, indeed, very exciting news. Please post it among our EVENTS. Even if you don't have all the details, you can correct the information once you have uploaded the basics.
Dear Laurie,
Horse hair and 240/2 Egyptian cotton, also 200/2 and 190/2 are available from Bart and Francis yarns. If these were acceptable, you might be able to give the class without depleting your stash. www.bart-francis.be

Devon
Laurie Waters said:
So here are the requirements for the Alencon class:
1. no more than 6 students. I don't feel I can give proper attention to any more.

2. I will supply all the materials, and also bring historical examples and other materials for study. I am using my very old supplies of extremely fine thread and horsehair - one more reason for the small class size. I don't have enough supplies for more - in fact I will use about half my stash for the class.

3. The only appropriate text is Brigitte Delesque-Depalle's "La Dentelle À L'aiguille" - she and I were studying in Alencon together. It isn't necessary that students have a copy, but it would be helpful.

4. I haven't decided if I'm going to write up notes or have the students take their own.

5. We will spend each day concentrating on one or more of the 7 different processes in making Alencon lace. I'll also go over a few related Point d'Gaz techniques.

6. We will use the finest traditional thread - students should bring appropriate magnifying glasses.

7. Long, well kept NATURAL fingernails are not required, but will make the work much easier. Alencon lace making depends critically on supple fingers - everything is done with the tips of the fingers.

8. Neck strain can be a problem in making this lace, so I'll warn people beforehand, and we will do some relaxing exercises during the class.

9. Continental hand position is mandatory. People should practice beforehand - I will not teach people who cannot manage this. No exceptions to this requirement.

10. As much time for the class as is allowed - two hours for all 5 days. More would be much better - still in negotiation. If this interferes with other things they want to do at the convention, then don't take this class.

So I'm wondering if there will be any takers after this. But you would be missing something entirely unique. Basically I'm asking students to forget everything they ever learned about needlelace. Start again, as if you had never picked up a needle before. It will be well worth it.
Laurie
Laurie
A video on continental hand position would be absolutely fantastic! Whenever you find the time to get to it. This could actually widen the pool of prospective students by increasing the number who can work that way. And in regard to posting it in EVENTS: waiting till you have more details is just fine. But we want everyone who visits our social network to be aware that classes in needle lace really do exist.
"Continental Hand Position" - this has me wondering exactly what it is. Please could you give a brief explanation?

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