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'The art of Shetland lace' by Sara Don, owned by Audrey McBurney


'The art of Shetland lace' by Sara Don, owned by Audrey McBurney

Object information


A pattern was selected from this book by Audrey McBurney to make a hand-spun, knitted Shetland lace shawl. The shawl won a number of prizes at the Royal Easter Show in 1982.

Physical description

An orange hardcover book with a book jacket featuring orange printed text and an image of white lace. The book is titled 'THE ART OF / SHETLAND / LACE / SARAH / DON'. The book contains 117 pages, black and white illustrations including two line diagrams and over 40 photographs of Shetland lace patterns.

Statement of significance

The Audrey McBurney collection comprises objects and supporting material which illustrate McBurney's career and achievements as a craftswoman in the mid- to late twentieth century. It includes needlework and crochet items such as d'oleys, aprons and a tea cosy; knitted clothing; examples of hand woven cloth, and one of the looms McBurney used; a hand-knitted Shetland lace shawl; knitted and crochet pieces made by two of McBurney's English and Scottish forebears; and sample and pattern books she compiled and collected.

Born in 1924, McBurney learned craft techniques and absorbed traditions from several female relatives of earlier generations. She became exceptionally skilled at many forms of needle and fabric craft. As a young woman her work mostly consisted of knitted clothing, and embroidered and crocheted domestic linen. Later, McBurney took formal courses in spinning and weaving, and was able to produce her own hand-spun, hand-dyed and hand-woven cloth. She was an early member of several craft associations in Sydney, and taught handcraft techniques at tertiary level. In the 1980s she won prizes for pieces she entered in the Royal Easter Show in Sydney. The McBurney collection evidences the transmission of skill across continents, within families, and through networks operating within guilds-based and educational contexts.

Object information

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