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Nottingham Lace

Distributed by Bullfrog Films, PO Box 149, Oley, PA 19547; 800-543-FROG (3764)
Produced by Glimmer Films
Directed by Jeanie Finley
DVD, color, 26 min.
Jr. High - Adult
Business, Economics

Reviewed by Rue McKenzie, University of South Florida, Tampa

Date Entered: 5/20/2011

Nottingham Lace is part 15 of the 16-part series Life 8: Life on the Edge II which focuses on the effects of globalization on humans. This episode examines Cluny Lace, the last company in Britain that is producing unique, high quality lace. While virtually all of the United Kingdom’s historically strong textile industry has disappeared as the mass-producing Asian industry continues to grow, the Mason family has managed to maintain their business for nine generations utilizing traditional craft skills and equipment. The program outlines a number of issues, questions, and observations that are certain to impact the future of Cluny Lace. The imminent loss of skilled craftsmen, the use of equipment that is over 100 years old, and the lack of necessary materials and required support services combine to create immediate and impending challenges.

Although Nottingham Lace focuses on a very specific industry, the program is thoughtful in its approach to the broad and common theme of ‘the more affordable mass produced item vs. the more expensive skilled craft item.’ Given the potential lack of discerning average buyers, the program ultimately poses the question “What’s good enough?” Today this type of product is a luxury item. Are there enough strong economies and consumers in the global marketplace to support the continuation of businesses such as Cluny Lace?

Nottingham Lace could provide a discussion starter for just these types of questions in general business, marketing, and economics classes. The program also offers an opportunity to experience ‘living history’ which could be appreciated by the general viewer. Throughout the program the individuals that make up Cluny Lace discuss their work, the history of the industry, and their somewhat vague future. The impact on these individuals is felt, and regardless of how the above questions are answered, there is a true sense of both pride and loss prevalent in their reflections. The relatively brief program provides the viewer with a well-executed and focused examination of an interesting and relevant subject.