The seed which was to grow into the Metropolitan Chapter, was planted in 1959 in the person of Rose Sanchez. At that time she lived in Cuba and was taught to make lace by a Venetian woman. The pillow she used was stuffed with sugar cane leaves and lace lessons were $1.50 each. However it was difficult to learn because there was no pricking. Rose learned to make two inches of half stitch and two inches of whole stitch before she was given a pattern. She then had to figure out how and where to place the pins.
In the meantime, the political situation in Cuba became critical. Rose had to give up her lessons because she was evacuated to the Unites States. For some time she tried to locate some of the Cuban ladies who were in her lace class, but her efforts were unsuccessful.
One day she heard from a friend, Pauline Cory, who was a fan collector and who had received a letter from another fan collector, Peggy Norris. The letter stated that she was interested in starting a chapter of the I.O.L. in the Metropolitan area. Through Pauline, Rose contacted Peggy. They had many phone conferences during which they planned a course of action.
Peggy sent post cards to everyone listed in the I.O.L. bulletin and who lived in the area. They decided to hold their first meeting at Rose’s New York City apartment. They met on March 15, 1972. Twenty-one ladies attended.
Two of the ladies at the first meeting were Olive Risch of New Jersey and Mayra Young of New York. The second meeting was held at Olive’s home and later, the group alternated there monthly gatherings between New York and New Jersey. Ultimately, the lace group accepted Olive’s offer to have all their meetings at her home. This continued for several years.
Olive Risch and Mayra Young were no strangers to lace. They had traveled extensively in Europe where they saw lace being made. They also saw lace making demonstrated in various places in the United States. Olive and Mayra were determined to bring more knowledge of lace to the members of their guild. As a result, they invited a teacher from Europe to give lessons.
Later, through a curator, Miss Beer, at the Cooper Union Museum, Olive contacted Gunvor Jorgensen, a local lace teacher who learned to make lace as a child in Tønder, Denmark. Gunvor came to Metro Chapter as a teacher and instructed Metro members as well as students in day and evening classes; other chapters adopted her.
The original lace group separated at one point into the New Jersey group and the New York group. The New Jersey members continued to meet monthly at Olive’s home and finally, in 1982, The Metropolitan Chapter was chartered by the I.O.L.
Affiliates of the metro group have always been very active. Many of them traveled far to see, study and make lace.
Metro members continue to meet, appreciate, study and make lace. Members come from Bergen County, NJ, Rockland County, NY, and New York City.