Monday, 25 November 2013
It was fascinating to see the Leavers lace machines working at Calais Lace Museum. I finally learnt how machine lace was made. As well as the working machines, there were several videos of the various processes and people involved in making a piece of machine lace, including the designer, draftsman, jacquard card cutter, bobbin winder, twist hand, lace cutter and embellisher. I found the videos very interesting as the whole process was brought to life by seeing and hearing the various workers describing their jobs and showing how the different tools are used. Hearing the big machines working, seeing the jacquard cards clattering round and realising how quickly large widths of lace are produced was amazing. As the mechanic who keeps the machines working said in his video ‘The people who designed these machines were geniuses. We still use the old machines because the system they use cannot be improved’.
Wednesday, 20 November 2013
Calais Lace Museum is beautifully displayed. Large portraits of people wearing lace are overlaid on lace like panels and these hang between cabinets containing historical lace. The cabinets are like tables with glass above and below so the lace in them casts a lovely shadow on the floor beneath. The exhibition focuses on lace in fashion but is also keen to show how the lace was made and there are many examples of pieces under construction and diagrams showing how both bobbin and needle lace are made. At the end of the gallery is a section on machine laces including several manufacturers’ pattern books and examples of design work which I found very interesting.
Friday, 15 November 2013
Calais Lace Museum yesterday. The building is an old lace factory, the exterior of which has been clad with glass panels that reference the Jacquard cards used to make machine lace. The museum has been thoughtfully laid out and I learnt a lot from my visit. There is an exhibition of handmade lace, including some portraits and examples of fine lace and a separate a display of historical lace fashion. There is a large area explaining how machine lace was made and the various processes involved including some working lace machines with demonstrations every hour. I finally learnt how machine lace is made from the demonstrations, videos and artefacts on display. There is also an excellent resources centre with books and magazines and there were also some manufacturers’ sample books available for handling (with the gloves provided). Contemporary lace is not overlooked either. The Lace Effects 1 exhibition is currently running, there is an exhibition of Iris van Herpen’s catwalk collection and the shop had some interesting modern lace for sale. The museum is definitely worth visiting if you are interested in any aspect of lace. I’ll blog about the various exhibitions separately .