The Island of Lace
Drawn Threadwork on Saba in the Dutch Caribbean

By Eric A. Eliason
Photographs by Scott Squire

208 pages (approx.), 9 x 9 inches, 326 color photographs

9781496823625 Printed casebinding $40.00S

Printed casebinding, $40.00

A comprehensive history of the renowned Saban women laceworkers

Nicknamed the "Island of Lace," the Caribbean island of Saba is the smallest special municipality in the Netherlands. Folklorist Eric A. Eliason, at the behest of the president of the Saba Lace Ladies' Foundation and Saba's Director of Tourism, traveled to the island with the intent to document the history and patterns of Saba lace. Born out of his research, The Island of Lace tells the story of lacework's central role in Saba's culture, economy, and history. Accompanied by over three hundred of Scott Squire's intimate photographs of lace workers and their extraordinary island society, this volume brings together in one place an as-complete-as-possible catalog of the rich designs worked by Saban women.

For 130 years, the practice of drawn threadwork--also known as Spanish work, fancy work, lacework, or Saba lace--has shaped the lives of Saban women. And yet, as the younger generation moves away from the island, it still survives. Sabans use drawn threadwork to symbolize the uniqueness of their island and express the ingenuity, diligence, bold inventiveness, pride in workmanship, love of beauty, and respect for tradition that define the Saban spirit.

Along with recording and honoring the creative legacy of generations of Saban women, the manuscript serves as a guidebook of the folk-art lace patterns from Saba so that practitioners can reference and perhaps re-create this work. The Island of Lace is the most comprehensive book on this singular tradition ever published.

ERIC A. ELIASON is professor of folklore at Brigham Young University and has published on Caribbean, Mormon, Russian, English, Afghan, American, Mexican, military, hunting, and biblical cultural traditions. SCOTT SQUIRE is a documentary photographer and filmmaker. He is a principal in NonFiction Media, the production company responsible for the 2015 Sundance-supported feature documentary Drawing the Tiger. Together, Eliason and Squire have published Black Velvet Art and To See Them Run: Great Plains Coyote Coursing, both published by University Press of Mississippi.

208 pages (approx.), 9 x 9 inches, 326 color photographs