Thursday, 21 August 2014

Contemporary machine lace at Calais


One of the highlights of my trip to Calais Lace Museum was seeing contemporary lace being produced on a vast scale on the Leavers machine. The lace was designed by Gail Baxter as part of the Crysalis project, in collaboration with the Calais designer Frederic Rumigny and with the practical help of the tuillists and machinists at Calais who interpreted the design into a pattern for the lace machine. Gail based her design on the sound of the working lace machine as it rumbles through the Calais Lace Museum, which she interpreted into a pattern of sound waves. She linked this to more solid areas containing holes in the style of jacquard cards, which are used to control the patterning of the machine, and used two different types of filling stitches in the spaces between these design areas. The lace is made from a combination of threads that take up dye in different ways so the lace takes on different aspects when it is dyed - my favourite is the black version with silver accents. It is an amazing experience to see the Leavers machine, developed in the 19th century, still churning out vast quantities of lace, but even more exciting to see it producing contemporary lace


No comments: