A "Carter Mission" for lace-making was started at Red Lake, Northern Minnesota under the direction of the "Sybil Carter Indian Mission and Lace Industry Association", of the Episcopal church. Miss Sophy Styles was the teacher in charge. Of the three "Carter Missions for Lace Making" that were started, Red Lake, White Earth, and Leech Lake were chosen as sites in Minnesota. There were about twelve such sites through-out the United States which had their beginning in 1887 with ten Indian women.
Wisconsin -late 1800's
The Miss Sybil Carter Indian Lace Association brought the art of lace making to the Oneida area. Lacework was once a major source of income for Oneida. It was taught at the Episcopal Church, and the money brought in was used to help re-build the church after it caught fire.
When the teachers left in 1909, Josephine Webster became the instructor. Her classes averaged from 60 to 100 women. Their lace was submitted to competitions at many different fairs and exhibitions in the early 1900s. They received gold medals at the Paris Exposition in 1900, the Pan-American at Buffalo in 1901, in Milan in 1906 and the Australian Exposition in 1908. The work earned the grand prize, the highest recognition possible, at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in 1904.Southern California-1904
Today, lace making is staging a subtle comeback. With the assistance of the Oneida Nations art program, classes are again being taught to Oneida community members. Please visit the Oneida Nation Web site for additional information about the Oneida people, their history and their culture.
Sybil Carter, a wealthy woman, formed the Sybil Carter Indian Lace Association which served a number of Reservations among the Ojibwa and the Mohawk. Her goal was to provide Indian women with materials and instruction in lace making and to help in the sale of the lace to the garment industry of New York City. The Association would buy the lace from the workers and then resell it. Any profit was pumped back into the program by hiring new teachers and providing an uninterrupted supply of materials.
La Jolla, Mesa Grande, and Santa Ysabel were where this effort was begun. Eventually the Mission Indian Agency would employ a government lace teacher who taught at Pala and Malki. Already trained indrawn work, generations earlier, the women learned lace making easily.
A brochure from the Sybil Carter Indian Lace Association sums the economic impact up this way
The practical side of what the work is today is found in improved homes, additions to houses, the purchase of farm implements and animals, and the many comforts which never could have been enjoyed on the slender incomes from the land alone. A store-keeper once remarked that he would have to go out of business if the women didi not have their lace money, and not long ago several of the workers, with a good deal of pride, pointed to “lace pigs,” “Lace cows,” “ lace houses,” etc.
Lace making was so profitable it came to replace basket making for a few years, at least in Mesa Grande. The end of the “basket craze” among collectors and institutions meant falling basket prices which made making lace more profitable. Every basket has a huge amount of labor hidden within. For every hour spent in stitching a coiled basket, another hour has been spent securing and preparing the materials, getting ready to stitch. Since the Belgian linen thread used in lace making needed no preparation, income could be produced fifty-percent faster. Lace making supplanted basket making after the end of the “craze.” Mesa Grande reservation women under the direction of the Sybil Carter lace teacher, Grace Dycke, sent $1,484.85 worth of lace to New York between October 1917 and April 1918, according to the records of the Mission Indian Agency housed in the National Archives in Laguna Niguel California.
Unfortunately for the American Lacemaking industry World War I brought an end to the import of thread from Belgium and ended the lace-making industry in only one genereation.
for more information click here.