My Tatting Muse was Charles Kuralt
I blame it all on Charles Kuralt, this passion for tatting of mine. Although I had been intrigued by the art of making tatting lace, it was Charles Kuralt who inspired in me a true love for tatting.
Remember his series of television reports from "On the Road?" Featured on the CBS Evening News and on the CBS Sunday Morning program for years, his portraits of life and people created a picture of America along roads less traveled. From an elderly gentleman who rescued broken bicycles and created smiles on children´s faces to the builders of the Golden Gate Bridge, Charles Kuralt reported the stories that showed the best, the worst, the saddest, the happiest, the wisest, the most foolish, the oddest and sweetest characters of America.
And that included three little ol´ ladies who were tatters in the Midwest. The day his broadcast appeared is still so clear in my memory. He interviewed these elderly tatters and remarked on the delicacy of their tatted lace. The ladies bemoaned the fact that none of their family had learned to tat. Mr. Kuralt concluded his program by stating that when these three aged tatters passed away, the art of tatting would die with them. I was incensed!
Mr. Kuralt is quoted as saying "I can´t say that I´ve changed anybody´s life, ever...," But he was wrong. He changed my life that day. Announcing the death of tatting on national television riled my emotions to the point that I sat down and sent him a telegram ($15 at the time and expensive enough to make me gulp, twice.) I wrote to him declaring "Tatting is Alive and Thriving in Alaska!"
That was the summer of 1985. I never had a reply from him and it didn´t matter. I determined that fall to make sure that tatting would never be lost to the world. I put my 6 years of tatting experience to the test as I began by teaching at a local needlework shop, then on to the community schools, at more needlework shops. I also began entering tatting in the Alaska State Fair and went on to become a judge as well. By 1993 I had taught over 500 tatters in Alaska.
I branched out and began designing and publishing tatting pattern books. I was delighted to be able to teach at international lacemaking conventions and for many local lace guilds in the Lower 48 (as Alaskans consider the 48 contiguous states.) By 1999 I was guest hosting in needlework chat rooms and began my own Online Tatting Class which celebrates 12 years online in 2011. The tatters I have touched number in the thousands and are around the world on every continent except Antarctica.
I spend most days indulging my passion for tatting. Teaching, answering questions by email, encouraging new designers and fledgling tatters. I continue to work with other tatters to spread the network of lace far and wide. 26 years since my "muse", Charles Kuralt, spoke those words, but my passion for tatting has never cooled.
How can YOU touch someone's life just like Charles Kuralt did mine? It is simple. Just teach someone to tat. Like ripples on a pond, spread your joy in tatting to others.
Here's the latest article from the Tatting site at BellaOnline.com.
This vase is just right for the intermediate tatter. The pattern is from the public domain booklet, "Corticelli Lessons in Tatting Book #3" by Nellie Ellison and Melvia M Stoddard published by Corticelli Silk Mills, Florence MA. 1916.
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Georgia Seitz, Tatting Editor
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