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Welcome to the Swiss Straw Lace Tour!

In this tour you will see one of the many fascinating aspects of straw -- Wearable Straw Art!

Straw has been used for creating head coverings for as long as people have gathered or grown grains, back to the days of ancient Egypt, and possibly before. Not only functional, hats also became decorative, as you can see in our "Hats and Bonnets" tour.

Straw was also used to decorate clothing. It is hard to pinpoint the crossover date from straw on hats to straw on clothing. We do know, however, that Queen Elizabeth I had a dress decorated with straw lace in the late 1500s. It is probable that this type of decoration was begun in an even earlier time period.
Swiss_Work_Bouquet.jpg - 33328 Bytes Straws were opened and flattened, the shiny interiors and exteriors were used to make sequins. Very fine straws were woven into "ribbons" to decorate hats and clothing alike.

Straws were also split lengthwise and these small sections were spun into thread. This thread was used to create "needle lace", crocheted bandings, and delicate flowers. Anything that could be done with a heavier thread could be done with these straw threads.

Narrow splits of straw were also used to create a variety of elements that could be added to the bandings and ribbons, as well as, used alone for decoration.

DiamondSkaine.jpg - 18060 BytesAs you go through this tour, keep in mind that the most of the bandings you will see were made by hand, yards and yards at a time. The individual elements were created by the thousands, also primarily by hand.
This type of Straw art has been titled Swiss Straw Lace, as the majority of this kind of work was done by the Swiss. They were by far the most productive producers of these creative pieces. Similar work, though, was also done in a limited manner in Italy, Spain, England and in other areas of the world.



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All information, photographs and other artwork contained in this site are Copyrighted by
The American Museum of Straw Art. Reproduction of any material is prohibited without
prior written permission.
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