text supplied by Elizabeth Prickett
view her site at www.ruskinlace.org.uk
Elizabeth was intrigued by this new found distinctive interest and was hooked in no time. She was transporting her next-door neighbour who was equally captivated. Both attended the following year. Elizabeth felt she would like to attend other embroidery classes in the area, but her next door neighbour was disappointed at this. Elizabeth decided to put her other interest on hold for another year, so both started their third year of Greek lace. In that third year Mrs Raby decided that at the age of 76yrs. she must retire, having taken over in 1934 as a temporary situation, or so she thought, until someone else came along. Elizabeth, by far the youngest in the class, was asked to continue the furtherance of the craft. On telling her husband Richard, his reply was "and why not"- a statement possibly regretted over the years, as what had started out as a hobby was to become a full time occupation from, September 1970 to date.
When Elizabeth set out on this venture she made a conscious decision to teach the craft rather than take on commissions, in the hope the technique would survive through the ever changing moods of the embroidery world. Having taught in excess of 4000 students from many parts of the world over the past thirty one years, making many friends, gleaning much knowledge of the wider field of Lace and a great deal of satisfaction along the way.
During Mrs Raby’s 36 years it was revealed that to have called the craft ‘Greek Lace’ was a misnomer. It came to light that Marion Twelves the originator of the establishment of the Elterwater cottage industry of the spinning and weaving of Linen, 1883, had been given permission by John Ruskin, 1894, to use his name in connection with her work and that included a class of Greek Lace workers in Coniston village whom she taught much earlier, 1884. With this in mind it was decided to change the name to ‘Ruskin Lace’ as Elizabeth took over.
Two samplers were in the
making when Mrs Raby retired, one to go to Brantwood (displayed in a showcase
in the Drawing room) and the other for Gawthorpe Hall near Burnley
in Lancashire (now a National Trust property), in recognition
of the assistance given to Mrs Raby by the Hon, Rachel Kay-Shuttleworth
in her research for patterns and possibly needlelace history. It
was left to Elizabeth to see the completion of both these samplers
and to present them to the relevant bodies. As a result of the latter
she was approached by the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, to
design and over see the making of a sampler as that museum did not
have a representation in their collection. This took five winters
to make and included work by 62 students. This was presented in 1979.To
view it on request quote the index No 1879, (a considerable notice
is needed to be able to view it).
1982, Elizabeth was approached by B.T.Batsford, London, (craft book publishers) to write a book on the technique of making Ruskin Lace; this was published October 1985 and went to reprint one month later, then in paper back a few years later. 1996, Elizabeth was able to retrieve her copyright, reprinting in her own right, followed by publishing a revised edition 1999. (On sale at this Museum.)
As a member of the Women’s Institute Elizabeth entered international craft competitions coming third in the world for a Work bag, (a postcard of this is available in reception)
Elizabeth Prickett retires from Ruskin Lace Courses
2011 Lace Courses