Saba Art Forms - Needle & Thread

Look closely to appreciate the varied techniques Gloria Johnson incorporates in to each unique doll including embroidery, applique, darning and renowned Saba Lace.  Saba Lace, or drawn thread work or "Spanish Work" as many of the taxi driers refer to it as, was introduced to Saba by Venzuelan nuns in the 1870's. 

 

Mary Gertrude Hassell Johnson was sent by her parents to study at a convent in Caracas, Venezuela. While she was there, the nuns taught Miss Hassell to create the intricate designs of this needlecraft. Miss Hassell brought the craft back to Saba and in 1884, when regular mail service first connected the island to the outside world, the wives and daughters of Saba's seafaring men turned the craft into a mail-order cottage industry.  The tradition carries on today with Gloria's dolls.  "The Fruit of Her Hands" documents the history and patterns of this art form and is available on Amazon.com--of course!