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Monday, January 21, 2013

The true cost of lace

Recently I was looking at some stuff on internet about new development in UK monarchy history. And some of the searches did pull the wedding dress Kate Middleton did wear at the wedding.
Lace. Hand made laces. They still exist and made. The cost of the gown is incredible. Because that's the true cost of the lace. The fabric however expensive it is on it's own, it is the lace many articles mention as the most complex part of it, Hand-cut English lace and French Chantilly lace, the lace was hand made at Royal School of Needlework, based at Hampton Court Palace.
The dress has generated significant amount of tourists attention, it is an attraction on it's own.

Lace of Shetland I can not find anywhere to buy. And I know what would it cost to make one of these. And I know why in UK unless I know the right person I can not buy hand made hand spun Shetland lace except of antique auction or something.
White gold of Russia, lace or Orenburg... Same thing. Queens shawls have gone to the shadows of the past to never be seeing again with the Russian monarchy. New Russians can afford this type of the lace and probably would, if there would know who to asks. The human made lace requires the human to be alive to transfer the knowledge and another human to take it, not only be willing to , but be able to, and be able to afford to.

The true cost of lace is high. The true cost of hand made is high. The true cost of the human labor is high period, humans cost more than machines.
In lace there are things machines can not do, they can not process the material sophisticated enough however odd may it sound, they can not reproduce what the human brain and body do together. It takes time to train that body and mind. Every baby has a potential as the potential of the human brain is limitless. It's the training of the human brain is what makes it. Machine can not reproduce the same yarn. Manybe it can, it is too expensive to make such a machine to justify it's existence, it will have to scan the fiber and follow it not to damage it like the human hands can, the skilled hands, the trained hands and brain. The world of true AI is the future, not now, machines do not think yet, but it has already begun.

Probably in the modern world the Zars' shawl can exist only in a museum, like a princess wedding dress. It's too high price for the human labor that goes into the lace. Hours and hours.
That is the true cost of the lace. Not speaking of the human who has the skill set to make one of these,
Due to such a amount of time invested  even at minimum wage the price of the hand made lace is very high.
Ask a hand spinner how long will it take to spin 4000-5000m of yarn alone. Add to it the fiber processing time. over 90% of the labor in Russian lace sits in the yarn that can not be reproduced by a machine (I know, there were many tries and some has gotten close, there was no match in over 300 years).

I will not put the break down costs of the human labor in time involved into 1 shawl production. There were many debates on internet about the true cost of hand made and yes I did hear 'love it, everything is overpriced' blah-blah-blah on a polite side, to the heated discussions about why one will not pay more than $20 for a shawl professionally photographed and then will pull the arm and leg as a demanding customer. Those comments every lace maker did hear. Many have left it and applied their skills some place else because they do not want to hear how their work is diminished by another block for have felt it was the day to be nasty. They remember these, they get under your skin, they get into your head and it is hard to get these out. "The next thing you know, you’re a walking rage zombie!" is a quote from one of the hand made good makes I did read... Modern customer can really do it, till they can... The understanding of the value comes... when it's lost.
Queens lace they can not buy, no one will sell that for pennies an hour, no one will make it, or should I say kopekken an hour.

Should these Zar's shawls come back, or will they. It there a human who can bare the labor ....