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Golden Hands Publications for Today's Golden Hands

Golden Hands is an apt name for a series of 1970s publications originating in the UK. Some of our best US and UK lace and embroidery teachers began to develop their skills in these years.

One of the Arachne members in the UK wrote privately asking about Golden Hands. She specifically wanted the publishing info for a teaching project. Whom do you think would have them, and within reach?

If you happen upon any of these 1970s weekly publications, look to see if they have projects suitable for teaching young people. There are sometimes projects for the quite young on the back covers. By now, Golden Hands parts are probably being donated to rummage sales, or you may find them in vintage merchandise offerings. They are periodically offered on eBay.

Once all 7 binders containing these were down off the top shelf, and before re-shelving, I thought it might be nice to have a re-look at all crafts presented, and think about any present and future impact of Golden Hands.

1. Design: All the icon artwork (they called them Key symbols), including the Golden Hands threading a needle, are appealing. And, the contemporary projects have, generally, stood the test of time - many being suitable for use in 2016, if you adjust colors.

2. Historic Collector's Pieces appeared in most issues: Part 1 presented the 16' x 6' petit point 1600-1615 Bradford Table Carpet (collection of the V & A). A decade later, I had the good fortune to begin to see various outstanding textile items that had been featured in Golden Hands during embroidery tours of the UK, and was taken on a private run-around-the-museum to see this item by the (then) well-known V & A staff members, Joan Edwards and Thomasina Beck. They preceded scholars you know today, like Santina Levey and Clare Browne, and they authored a number of very highly-regarded educational embroidery books.

3. Advertising: There is very little. Only items that could be purchased by mail order from the publishing company, usually occupying only one page per issue. Four items were on the back cover of the first issue -- a hand-held movie camera and projector for filming projects, sewing machine, adding machine and portable typewriter. Today, many people have hand-held cell phones that perform filming, math and texting functions. And, sewing machines are quite different.

4. Incentive to be creative: By Part 4, I found myself stitching the needlework presented on the cover (still in my collection). Part 5 began to teach needle-made lace and Part 6 had wonderful needle-made lace borders for fabric items. Something timeless that one could teach today. By Part 7, we could learn Macramé. And so on. Tatting was introduced in Part 12. Bobbin Lace finally appeared in Part 25, featuring the equipment required. Actual instruction progressed in Parts 26, 30, 59, 66, 75. Parts 62 and 63 had Hairpin crochet.

5. Publishing details: In the U.S. Golden Hands was promoted as 75 weekly parts at a cover price of 95 cents. The first issue actually contained Parts 1 and 2.

(c) Fratelli Fabbri Editori 1966, 1967
(c) Marshall Cavendish Ltd, 1971

Published by Marshall Cavendish Ltd.

Printed in Great Britain

There was a 1972 sequel set called Golden Hands New Guide in 14 weekly parts, at 95 cents.

There were some double-size subsequent monthly issues in 1973 called Golden Hands Monthly Magazine. They had a cover price of $1.95.

All these were purchased at a news store in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of New York City.

Jeri Ames in Maine USA
Lace and Embroidery Resource Center

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