This comment has been published in The Daily Herald.
I attended the gathering and presentation on Saba on Thursday, March 20, and must take issue with some of the points in the article. First, the only piece of Saba Lace that was present in the exhibition was done recently by an elderly member of Saba’s large lace-making community. When the piece was made, Miss Helen was well in her eighties and her eyesight was failing, by her own words. It is pretty, but isn’t representative of her beautifully-crafted pieces of Saba Lace which she worked on for many years. Second, many lace artists’ work was absent, such as Tina Johnson, Adelina Johnson, Miss Marguerite, Gladys Hassell, Lucy Hassell, Beatrix Zagers, Marjorie Hassell, Imelda Peterson, Edith Wilson, Peggy Barnes, Patsy Hassell and Freda Johnson, to name a few.
Those of us in attendance appreciated the invitation to view this exhibit. However, having participated in past Saba Lace Exhibits, including one for the Queen, it was lacking in substance. In my opinion, to properly present Lace as an art form in an exhibition, one should research its presence in the local community, its long history, its significance as a cottage industry in the past, and its impact on the island community. In doing so, its significance is evident.
René Caderius van Veen presented many pieces of lace, much in its form to be attached as ornamentation, some machine- not handmade. The value of the exhibit is naturally important to the individual, since members of his family were the makers.
I have worked for four years with the author of the first book on Saba Lace, Dr. Eric Eliason, and his books are still available on Saba, yet no mention was made of this resource. He is writing a second book to be published next year. Perhaps an opportunity to incorporate the unique art of Saba Lace and present it for its significant contribution to the island of Saba would be in order.
I respectfully present this opinion as my own and hope it will be received constructively for the benefit of all Saba Lace workers.
Joyce Todd McCoy
Ed. Saba-News: the article Mrs McCoy refers to is here