Monday, 19 November 2012


The symposium ‘Lace: heritage and contemporary textile practice’ held at Nottingham Trent University brought together a variety of interesting talks about different aspects of lace as part of the Lace:here:now project. The day began with Julian Ellis telling us about the engineering embroidery and lace work carried out by his company to produce components for industry and surgery. Teresa Whitfield then described how she produces her painstaking drawings of antique lace with a fine pen and ink. She has several pieces in an exhibition running at Nottingham Castle and the next speaker was the exhibition manager, Deborah Dean, who told us about the exhibition and introduced another participating artist, Lucy Brown, who spoke about large scale pieces deconstructing lace garments. Danica Maier talked about two of her recent lace projects. One in which she used lace ribbons and pins to produce anamorphic sexual images on the wall in an exhibition at the Courtauld Institute and another which came out of a residency in Paraguay where she worked with traditional Nanduti lacemakers to produce sexual imagery using the circular motifs of that lace. Paul Simmons from Timorous Beasties spoke next about the subversive net curtain designs that the company has produced (one of which was also displayed at the Castle exhibition). As I am researching into net curtains, I was delighted to hear him extol their virtues and suggest that they should be used more often in interior design. He also noted how difficult it is to photograph lace, particularly at windows, a problem I have also come across, and suggested that this might be one of the reasons why it is difficult to advertise net curtains to interior designers. The day ended with Lesley Millar talking about her recent exhibition ‘Lost in Lace’ at Birmingham and describing her new project ‘Transparent Boundaries’. During the day there were also opportunities to visit the lace archive, view ‘Journeys in lace’ an exhibition by staff and students at the University, and attend the private view of ‘Laceworks’, the exhibition at Nottingham Castle – I will blog about them all in separate posts. All in all, the day was a great success, it was interesting to hear about traditional lace and lace techniques being used in new and innovative ways and good to see the interest generated by the symposium and the exhibitions.

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