Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Designing all over lace patterns

Researching lace patterns in the archive this week has made me think about the way all-over lace designs are produced. The laces we were looking at were all designs from the early 1900s. Most lace designers at that time followed a national curriculum at art schools but there were also several books about design that they could consult. For example in Modern practical design, the author provides some diagrams showing how units of pattern can be repeated and positioned in ‘drops’. This can be based on square, diamond or zigzag shapes in a horizontal or vertical alignment. There are two ways of using repeat patterns as they can either be emphasised or disguised. In many geometric designs the repeats are emphasised and made a feature of the lace, whereas many floral and scrolled designs are repeated in a way that disguises the repeat and gives the appearance of a continuous all-over design. The designs we saw this week ranged from simple small square motifs to large floral repeats approximately 50 cm square with overlapping leaves and scrolls, but they all followed the same system of repeats and drops.

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