Wednesday 22 June 2016

Lace collage

These little collages are going to be part of an exhibition in a couple of weeks. There are three of them and they were fun to make. I started by collecting some scraps of paper with different texture – wood chip, tissue, card, then glued them together, added some printing and machine stitched over them to make the background. The lace was made in situ over the brown paper squares. I attached the threads behind on the back of the paper using sellotape, made the lace on the paper, and then secured the ends on the back, again using sellotape. You can see the pin holes in this close up image, but the piece is about 18 x 10 cm, so when it’s hanging on the wall you don’t notice them. The lace is different in each piece, but the colour schemes are the same so they form a pleasing group. They will be part of an exhibition at West Ox Arts Gallery, Bampton in July.

Thursday 16 June 2016

Lace design

Now my ‘No No’ lace is finished I’ve started designing the next piece in the veiling series. This one is to be a black veil and I want the lace along the edge to reference vampires. The essence of a vampire is its fangs with blood dripping from them so I began by making a footside and then arches coming off that to represent the fangs – the blood will be added later in the form of red glass beads! I then needed something to suggest the rest of the mouth so I decided to add a smaller arch within the larger one, but crossing it, to link the lines together and add some interest. Once I had the basic idea drawn out I then copied it on to tracing paper, so I could try out filling ideas and work out the links between each part of the design, without having to keep rubbing out parts or redrawing the outline for each trial. I decided to have an area of rose ground within the main arch shape, as I thought that reflected gothic architecture quite well. What I was unsure about was whether to make the lace in a Torchon fashion, on a grid with blocks of cloth stitch either side of the rose ground, or in a Bedfordshire style, with plaits feeding into it. You will not be surprised to learn I went with the Beds option, because I like that style of lace, and also because I thought the plaits resembled gothic tracery. However, designing with tracing paper made deciding easier, as it meant I could keep superimposing the two ideas until I was happy with the result. Once I’d chosen the design I liked, it also allowed me to trace a series of them, one after the other, to form a length for a pricking.

Thursday 9 June 2016

Lace samples

I was delighted with these little bits of lace I bought in a mixed lot a few weeks ago. They are a mixture of bobbin and needlelace and beautifully worked.
Although they look similar at first glance there are differences between them, particularly in the swag beneath the flower design and the number of couronnes around the flowers. I didn’t have a magnifier on me when I bought them so wasn’t sure whether the net ground was handmade or not, but looking at it under magnification when I got home proved that it was handmade. I’m delighted with my bargain but a little sad that such exquisite work was being sold for next to nothing.

Thursday 2 June 2016

Some curtain terminology

My research last week sent me back to the textile dictionary to check on the meaning of various curtain terms. Like many textile words they are often used with slightly different meanings by different groups but I’ve found Clive Edwards’ ‘Encyclopedia of furnishing textiles, floorcoverings and home furnishing practices 1200-1950’ to be both comprehensive and informative. It seems that casement curtains refers to the lightweight casement cloth used to make them rather than the shape of the window. Brise brise is lace curtaining used for hanging across the lower part of a window using a rod or wire. While store curtains are lace curtains that are hung flat against the whole window and usually have an outer narrow border enclosing a single large design – the ones in the image are taken from a 1926 catalogue. Waterfalls seem to be corner edges of lace to fit the window frame, which are decorative rather than functional; but I have yet to find that term in the dictionaries so there’s still plenty of work to do!