Tat’s all folks: Local group resurrects dying fiber art
NATCHEZ — Carrie Lambert told herself that she was never going to take up the 200-year-old art of tatting.
“I learned to crochet ages ago, and I have a friend (Robin Rosenthal) that can do everything, including tatting,” Lambert said. “So, I watched her do it for years, and it was so fine that I told myself I never wanted to do that. It was so time consuming and at that time, I just wanted to make something.”
But eventually, Lambert’s curiosity and desire to create the beautiful lace designs that her friend was making drew her back to tatting.
She decided to let Rosenthal show her the basics in October 2011, and she took it from there.
“I was watching her on balloon race weekend, and she was supposed to show me how, so I watched her do it,” Lambert said. “I told myself, ‘I am not going to wait any longer.’
“I spent several months learning how to do it. I taught myself, and now I’m ready to teach beginners.”
Tatting is the technique that is used to create lace pieces that are durable and can be used for a variety of purposes. It is constructed by using a series of knots and loops.
Lambert now teaches a group of ladies what she learned just a year ago, and together they create decorative clothing and jewelry.
“It’s just so beautiful,” Lambert said.
One of Lambert’s students, Ann Tillman, said the history of tatting drew her in when she first started to learn.
“It’s something that my aunts could do, and it’s something my grandmother did,” she said. “It’s an old art that is dying, and I wanted to try it. It’s coming along slowly.”
Lambert said the technique is the most difficult part to learn, but once someone masters it, muscle memory takes over and the creative process can kick in to create new designs.
Lambert said she is still working with patterns, but she has brainstormed some ideas for designs of her own.
In her research on the art, Lambert said she found that tatting was often done only by the light of day, and some people still stick to that method, but she is not that big of a stickler when it comes to remaining historically accurate.
“I’m a night-owl, so I would never get anything done,” she said.
Lambert said some of her students tried to learn by reading books on tatting, but it is difficult to learn the technique just by looking at a book.
“It’s a three-dimensional art,” she said. “You must have someone show you what to do. I taught myself from videos.”
Lambert has completed approximately 50 pieces, and she said the timetable for each piece varies depending on the size and intricacy of the pattern.
Lambert and her students meet once a month, and she said it helps to work in groups, so the ladies can help each other out and keep each other company.
Lambert said she hopes more people in the Miss-Lou will pick up the art of tatting.
“I would like to have more people involved,” she said.
For information on Lambert’s classes, contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.