The Maison des Tresses et Lacets (the house of braids and laces) is in La Terrasse sur Dorlay in France. It’s a fascinating museum which has preserved and cherished the equipment and materials of an important textile industry. It opens from March to November, Wednesday to Saturday. I visited last summer and loved it.
The museum is housed in a 19th-century building right next to the river Dorlay. The importance of the location becomes apparent when you walk through to the back of the museum. A channel of water which is separated from the river a little upstream, runs to an enormous water-wheel.
We saw the water wheel stationary…
…and then in motion. This produced enough power for the whole factory to function.
Inside the array of machines was impressive. When the power was switched on and all the machines started to move the clatter was loud!
These machines were watched over by a relatively small number of workers, who had to set up the machines, watch out for any hitches in production, replace the spools of thread as necessary and so on. Quite a task with all the machines going at once! A staff photo was displayed on the wall.
Here is a machine loaded up with spools of gold and red thread and above, the braid which is being produced being wound on to a large reel above. The machines to the right and left are set up to make rick-rack braid.
Watching the machine in operation was something like having a bird’s eye view of a complicated country dance: the groups of spools moved round each other and changed position within their group – it was fascinating to watch.
Here are the beautiful thread colours at the back of the room.
In the shop, I bought a pair of blue laces (who could resist) and a corded key ring, both beautifully made. The museum has a catalogue, so you can buy from abroad. However, I thoroughly recommend a visit! (Contact details are at the end of this post.)
Do you have a favourite textile museum?
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Museum website (English version): https://tressesetlacets.wixsite.com/english/
Address: Maison des Tresses et Lacets, 119 Route des Moulins, 42740 La Terracse sur Dorlay, France