Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Just women's work . . . nothin'' much . . .

Ah, it's just women's work. You know . . . menial, mindless, no lasting value.

Glass protector
Really? Take a look at these works of art--most of them created by great-grandmother, Mary Sprague Elwell Elmendorf and a few created by her mother. They're just table linens . . .what a waste of time and eyesight. Does anyone even care anymore?

Yes, I do, and probably lots of others care, as well, people who've received samples of this amazing work handed down from their female ancestors.

Close-up of table runner
Table runner or dresser scarf
Close up of glass protector
When our mother died more than fifty years ago, my sister and I each took a good measure of the treasured handcrafted lace and thread-pulled table-works created by the great-grandmother we never knew, plus a sampling of handwork by her daughter-in-law, our own dear grandmother Elmendorf. Imagine making time for this activity--especially if your house wasn't yet lit dependably with electricity!

Not that my sister and I were going to use them in our daily lives, but because we were (and still are) in awe of the work that had gone into them. Yes, even back in 1969, this handwork was incredibly out of fashion (although of few of our mother's friends still used antimacassars on their chairs). When Mary Elmendorf became a widow at age thirty-seven in 1880, she supported her family of three young sons, ages ten, twelve, and thirteen, by doing this type of needlework for hire.

Once in awhile, I take a trip down ancestor-reverence-lane by pulling these treasures out of their storage pouches, setting them out, then just admiring them. I have a lot more samples than pictured here, but you get the idea.

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