sprang lace shirt from pre-Columbian times

The past few months I’ve been busy working on a replica of that amazing shirt in the collection of the Arizona State Museum.


The idea began with a visit to the Arizona State Museum in April 2014, in the company of cotton spinning instructor Joan Ruane. Joan offered to hand spin the cotton, but then somehow it became the job of Louie Garcia, specialist in Pueblo textiles. Louie grew the cotton himself, hand ginned it, spun and plied the cotton. It was excellent material to work with.

I made two ‘trial’ pieces before working the real replica. Mapping out the lace pattern was one thing, mapping the ‘irregularities’ was another. In the end, the irregularities held much information. Based on these, I’ve come to the conclusion that the original artisan did not have the benefit of graph paper or any such means to calculate out the pattern ahead of time. Quite the amazing feat.

Screen Shot 2015-03-13 at 11.44.22The curator at the museum assured me that he plans to exhibit this replica in the not-so-far future.

It did not seem right to pack up the shirt and mail it off to Arizona, I needed to go along to present it. While there I taught classes on Sprang.

A big Thank You to Joan Ruane and Maddie Tsurusaki who organised things for me.

Also much thanks to Anita, Deborah, Cindy, Marie, Caroline, Elaine, Jill, Lura, and Lita, and so many more who made it all possible.


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