Summer Book Project: Clotheslines

Black on Orange: I took this photo on the island of Burano, near Venice, where laundry lines were everywhere, even on the streets next to stores!

In 2011 my husband and I, with two other couples, went to Italy. It was the first time for everyone but my husband, who became our “tour guide.” While everyone else took pictures of historical places and structures, I became intrigued with clotheslines and the garments hanging from balconies as well as lines at eye level or high up. They reminded me of my younger days when life was simpler.

My brother Harry took this photo on his trip to Cuba.I call it “Sunnyside Laundry.”

In 2013, after an article I wrote about clotheslines appeared in Women’s Voices for Change and reprinted in The Philadelphia Inquirer, I had a call from Kathleen Artleth, a small gallery owner in Somers Pt., NJ, about one hour from here. (See her Irish Laundry photo below.) She had read the article in the Inquirer and wanted to do an exhibit of my photos of Italian clotheslines. She called it; Lavenderia: The Art of the Clothesline. (Here’s the original article posted in Women’s Voices for Change and then the Inquirer: WVFC RETRO: ITALIAN THREADS, LAUNDRY MEMORIES. Click on the title and it will take you to WVFC with text and more photos.)

Canal Clothes: Laundry hanging over the canal in Venice. Very risky!

Now, with the help of my friend Krista, I am working on a photo-journal book about clotheslines. Friends and family who travel have also contributed photos, so right now I have pictures from Italy, Cuba, Portugal, Burma, and Lancaster Count and Centre Counties, PA, where the Amish clotheslines are the most visible in the countryside.

This photo was taken by gallery owner Kathleen Arleth on a recent trip to Ireland. I told her I did not have any “Irish Laundry,” so she sent lots of photos. Thanx, Kathleen. Her gallery website is:

So if you don’t see postings twice each week this month and next, you will know that I am busy with laundry!  I also found a website: or .org (both) that I am investigating. In the meantime, here are some samples photos above and below:

Triple Lines Laundry: I took this on a trip back to State College to see my midwife, so this photo is from an area about one hour from State College where there are settlements or homes of Amish and Mennonites.


Tree Line: This is one of my favorites, taken on the way back from The Leaning Tower of Pisa, Italy. I found this scene much more interesting than a tower that could topple over.

I will let you know when the book is complete and available for sale. I am learning that many people have an affinity for clothes on a line as a way of reminiscing. Who knew?

Exciting Announcement (for me) & Invitation

Dear Readers,

My 15 minutes of fame has finally arrived!  My article on laundry in Women’s Voices for Change was reprinted in The Philadelphia Inquirer and picked up by an artist with a small art gallery. She invited me to do an exhibit of my laundry lines of Italy. Below is the invitation. A little more than one month from today! If you are in the area, please come. It is open free to the public.
P.S. “Lavenderia” is the Italian word for laundry.







Ellensue Spicer-Jacobson

Lavanderia: The Art of the Clothesline

MAY 22 – JUNE 22, 2013

RECEPTION – SUN. JUNE 2nd – 2 – 4 PM


Sky High Laundry

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