Wednesday 26 April 2017

Inspiration for an installation

I’ve been looking through old copies of Craft magazine and came across some inspiration for an installation I’m designing. I’ve been commissioned to produce a contemporary response to the Battle of Britain lace commemorative panel and as part of my response I would like to design an installation commemorating the airmen who lost their lives during the series of battles that constitute the Battle of Britain. I would like to produce a work that fills the room so Chiharu Shiota’s piece ‘In Between’ which fills the room with threads she uses to ‘draw in the air’ seemed very apposite as a way of linking lives with the air and the land. Angela Woodhouse’s ‘The waiting game’ also struck a chord, not because of her subject matter, but because I have been considering the use of parachutes and this suggested the idea of using a vast parachute to fill the room. Najla ElZein’s installation ‘The wind portal’ also suggested the propellers of vast numbers of aircraft. None of these ideas were what the original artists had in mind and I will not be copying any of them, but they have been very useful in crystallising ideas that have been running through my head and will help me define my own installation

Tuesday 18 April 2017

Embroidered sleeve ruffles

I’ve been reading a beautiful book by Heather Toomer called ‘Embroidered with white’ which describes the eighteenth century fashion for Dresden lace and whitework in general. It is lavishly illustrated with photographs of lace and also includes drawings and patterns by Elspeth Reed, in the same style as those used in Janet Arnold’s books. Heather explains that sleeve ruffles in this period were made separately from the chemise and gathered onto a tape. They would have been sewn onto the band at the end of the chemise sleeve for wear, but would have been removed for laundering as they required special care. Rather than being circular many of them had a wider section that fell below the elbow such as the one in the image. They were often made in sets with perhaps a matching apron and cap. Although the ruffle in the picture only has one layer they were often made with several layers and some were embellished with the addition of a lace edging. They are beautiful items and with the current fashion for ruffled sleeves perhaps they’ll make a come back?

Tuesday 11 April 2017

Lace in Rome

I haven’t found much lace in Rome but did come across several ecclesiastical shops selling vestments for priests, which had some lace in their windows. The selection here all came from one shop and included a variety of types. The main image shows needle lace and cutwork.

While the second image includes some handmade bobbin lace as well as chemical lace and the tape lace that is common in Brugges but made in the Far East. I assume they’re used to edge vestments and other church linen such as altar cloths.