Saturday 31 December 2016

Lace review of 2016

2016 has been a busy year with lace exhibitions and events. I’ve exhibited in a variety of venues, including the lace event at Peterborough, the West Ox Arts venue in Bampton, the Hybrid lace exhibition in Limerick and the Knitting and stitching show at Alexandra Palace and Harrogate. I made a new body of work based on veiling inspired by Victorian gothic novels for the Knitting and stitching show in the autumn, which took up most of the year. It comprised two veils with bobbin lace edges, five with silk paper edges and two incorporating pins and embroidery. I had to schedule the work so that I had some bobbin lace on the pillow all year, the pieces with pins were also long term projects so I made them concurrently with the bobbin lace. The silk paper veils were made in batches and then embellished. The other exhibitions involved work I’d made previously which was easier and good to see the pieces exhibited again in different venues. My research also continued with visits to Nottingham and the V&A to discover more about curtains and lace panels, and I also spoke about my use of tambour lace in contemporary work at the Hybrid lace conference in Limerick. Thinking of the future, I applied to the Textile Society for a professional development award which I was honoured to receive and which will help fund my new project for next year – more details about that in the next blog!

Thursday 15 December 2016

Biology based lace

I hadn’t realised how much lace I had made based on biological themes until I wrote an article about it last month. I then found that I couldn’t include all the pieces in my 1000 word limit so had to leave many of them out. In the article I concentrated on my cell like pieces which are made of free bobbin lace without a formal pattern and include beads and tallies to suggest the parts of the cell. Some of those I had to exclude are the series based on a theme of genetics, chromosomes and cell division. An example is the piece above which was inspired by dividing cells seen under the microscope. It was made by producing a spiral piece of lace and then attaching pairs to the first piece of lace to add another layer to it, to give a three dimensional effect, as if the two layers were separating. Lace lends itself so well to reproducing the appearance of biological structures, with its combinations of holes, threads and more solid areas, that it should be no surprise that I’ve used it to represent so many different types of biological tissues.

Friday 9 December 2016

Everyday lace

A friend has recently given me some of her lace and I’ve been looking through the pieces. There is nothing spectacular in the collection, no museum would be interested in any of it, but there is something special about lace that has been used and loved. Most of the pieces, such as the crochet edging below, would have been made at home by someone who enjoyed making a complicated pattern and was proud of her neat technique and it would have been appreciated by her friends and family.

The piece at the head of this post is made from a combination of tape lace and crochet so might have been made at home, perhaps following a pattern in a magazine, or might have been bought abroad.

The Nanduti style lace (above) was probably bought on holiday, but it is well used and has obviously been laundered. We admire so much of the finest laces in museums but tend to forget that there is great beauty in the everyday laces that used to be much more a part of our lives.