Catherine Barley Lace Works


Parasol for IrisA parasol for Iris

I have been asked many times "Who is Iris"? Initially she was a student of mine, but over the years our relationship developed into one of great friendship.  Iris was taking the City & Guilds Lacemaking course and came to me for help in working a needlelace cover for this dilapidated little parasol.  What you don't know is that Iris was a victim of that dreadful disease breast cancer and she was also one of the hundreds of poor unfortunates in those early days who had been given too much radium, which by this time was seriously affecting the use of her arm and fingers.
 Sadly Iris passed away before she was able to complete the parasol and I asked if I might have it as I would like to finish it for her.  However, with her increasing disability, the work of two different hands was so marked that I decided to start from scratch with a design of my own.  I felt sure that Iris would understand and forgive me for not continuing with her design.
 I would love to know who the parasol originally belonged to.  Perhaps it was a child, as it is only 13.5" high and approx 14" in diameter, or maybe it was a carriage parasol?  Somehow I don't think so, as it doesn't fold in the middle like most carriage parasols and I feel it is too small anyway.  Sadly we shall never know its secrets but I hope that if Iris has been watching its progress, she is pleased with the final results.
 You will no doubt have realised by now that Iris was one very special lady, with a wonderful sense of humour and a true friend who is very much missed by all who were fortunate enough to know her.  This little parasol has taken me some six years from my original design to completion and has been a true 'Labour of Love' in memory of a very dear friend.

With help from family and Friends I was able from the sale of greeting cards printed, to donate the sum of £1,512 to Breast Cancer in her memory.