Dusek offering lessons in old art of tatting at Fourth Annual Fiber Arts Festival Nov. 8-9

ELLIE HEBERT Contributing writer
Emme Sue Dusek of Plaquemine demonstrates the art of shuttle tatting. She will be offering a class on the lace making art at the Fourth Annual Fiber Festival on Nov. 8-9.

PLAQUEMINE - Dating back to the early 19th century, tatting is now becoming a lost art that Emme Sue Dusek would like to see become popular once again.

Dusek will be offering a class in tatting, more commonly known as lace-making, at the Fourth Annual Fiber Arts Festival, sponsored by the City of Plaquemine Main Street Program's Art in the City Program.

The event, which features several distinguished fiber artists, is Nov. 8-9. Arts on display and for sale will include cross-stitch, quilting, embroidery, rug hooking, spinning, weaving, knitting, tatting, Tamari ball making, Oxford needle punch, crochet, basket-making, jewelry and more.

Artists will offer a variety of classes and demonstrations from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Nov. 8 at First United Methodist Church, 23645 Church Street.

The Fiber Festival moves to the Bayou Plaquemine Waterfront Park Main Pavilion on Nov. 9, for fiber arts demonstrations and classes with 50 booths of arts on sale, along with music provided by the Iberville Math, Science and Arts Orchestra, an art supply swap and food booths from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The event is free, but a small fee is charged for the classes. There is no vendor booth fee for artists.

Among the classes to be offered are tadding, Tamari ball making, rug hooking and Oxford needle punch, T-shirt scarf making and weaving. Pre-registration is required for the classes.

Call Charlene Bishop at 225-776-4119 or Kristine Hebert with the Plaquemine Main Street Program at 225-687-3116 for more information and to pre-register.

Tatting is often done to make lace edging by forming a pattern of rings and chains over a core thread.

About 40 years ago, Dusek taught herself the "shuttle" technique and now uses her grandmother's antique shuttle made of bone as well as a metal one to perform the method.

Shuttle tatting is the earliest method of creating tatted lace, she says.

It is done by using a shuttle to coat a thread with layers of other threads and making a series of knots. The tatter wraps the thread around one hand and maneuvers the shuttle with the other hand.

"It's uncomplicated, repetitious and gives me something to do with my hands," Dusek explains. "And, you've made something beautiful when you're finished. Tatting gets to be very elaborate and becomes whatever your imagination allows. But, basically it's a repetitive motion that makes the design."

Recently, when a friend had trouble learning the shuttle method, Dusek taught herself another method of tatting using a needle. Instead of winding the shuttle, the needle is threaded with a length of thread. The end result of both appears similar.

A nurse by trade, Dusek is adept at many arts, including crochet, counted cross-stitch, crewel, sewing and quilting.

Her daughter Kristi is interested in tamari, a Japanese art that coats a ball with intricate designs of string. A Baltimore resident, she will return to Plaquemine to offer her pieces for sale at the Fiber Festival.

"I think the festival is a good opportunity for people in the community to learn something new," Dusek said. "Tatting is dying out. I don't see anyone doing it but I hope I can encourage a new generation to learn."