Friday 30 August 2013

Be our guest

There are still a few days left to see this exhibition celebrating the B&B at the Oriel Davies Gallery in Newtown, Powys. Apart from my curtain with pins and needles, marking the passage of time in the same way as a prisoner, there are lots of other quirky and fascinating exhibits. One of my favourites is Janet Farahar’s ‘His/Hers: is He/Are They?’ Two cross stitched panels of the words His and Hers, often seen on guest towels, with the H of His and the rs of Hers smudged so they read ‘is He’. I like the fact this has so many possible meanings: is he faithful; is he gay; is he who he seems? There are many more clever ideas in this fascinating show. It runs until 4 September so catch it if you can.

Monday 26 August 2013

Lace for Valtopina

I’m honoured to have been chosen to mount a lace exhibition in the School of Embroidery at Valtopina, Italy, as part of their 15th exhibition of embroidery and cloth. I’ve been making final decisions about the pieces I’m going to take. Travelling by air means I’ll have to take the lace with me in my hand luggage so I’m choosing pieces that are small, like bags and necklaces, as well as bigger pieces that will roll up for the journey but will fill a larger space when they are hung. The exhibition runs over the weekend, from 6 to 8 September.

Wednesday 14 August 2013

Lace handkerchief edging of the Infanta Isabella

The lace edging on this handkerchief, held by the Infant Isabella Clara Eugenia, Archduchess of Austria, reminded me of the lace I recently saw in Bologna. This painting by Frans Porbus the Younger was shown in the In fine style exhibition and dates from the end of the 16th century – the same time as the lace. It is very accurately painted and shows how valuable lace was to be included in such a portrait.

Friday 9 August 2013

Old bobbin lace

I saw this late 16th century Italian bobbin lace in a museum in Bologna. Unlike some of the more ornate early laces I think the design of this works well. Often the areas where all the bobbin threads come together swamp the rest of the design and look out of place, but here the thicker areas of cloth stitch complement the more open plaited areas quite well.