Many of the beads on these lace bobbin spangles were originally made for trading in Africa and North America. Trade beads were made in varying sizes and colours and the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford has several trade cards of beads in graded sizes and colour ranges labelled according to the market they were made for. The card labelled ‘Trade beads for South Africa’ has round, plain beads coloured blue, brown and yellow like those in the spangles in the photo. The beads on the Central African trade card are much more decorative with patterns and come in a variety of bright colours and lozenge shapes as well as spheres. The beads were sold by weight and are also known as pound beads. They were imported from Amsterdam and Venice and although their main destination was the shipping companies of Liverpool and Bristol some must also have been sold in the home market as they are quite common on lace bobbins. The traditional beads on lace bobbins are the square cut type made in the lace making areas (like the clear ones on the second bobbin on the right) and I’ve not been able to find out where the lacemakers obtained these trade beads. Perhaps the bobbin makers acquired them and sold them or the lacemakers bought them from travelling salesmen.
Wednesday 29 September 2021
Wednesday 22 September 2021
Raised tallies and leaves worked over flatter areas of ground are also a traditional method for including texture. Tallies are small dense rectangular woven areas worked generally with two pairs of bobbins, while leaves are made in the same way but shaped with pointed ends to resemble leaves. Both can be used in open work or made over flatter parts of the work. As you can see in this piece I’ve worked a branch of leaves over a half stitch background. This was done as the work progressed not added later and the bobbins were incorporated back into the work.
Rolled tallies were also used in East Midlands lace in which a rectangular tally is made and then rolled back on itself to incorporate the bobbins back into the work leaving a raised rolled line of weaving on top of the lace. This image shows a couple of rolled tallies made in the cloth stitch ground and a line of paired leaves in the background all adding some texture to the lace.
Wednesday 15 September 2021
I also keep general sketchbooks where I keep samples and things I’ve tried out as well as images of interesting things I’ve seen or read about. My sketchbooks are not particularly beautiful or full of lovely drawings but they are indispensable documents for future projects.
Wednesday 8 September 2021
Colour is the textile prompt for today so I thought I’d take a look at colour in bobbin lace. The piece in the image is a detail of the lid of a small container I made from grey silk and felt with embroidered edges. When I start to make a lace design in colour I generally start with a idea of the general colour I want and then choose a selection of threads in that colour palette with a few contrasting threads, making sure that I have a variety of thicknesses of thread as well. I then just start working adding in new threads as I need them and removing others when I no longer want that colour any more. I find in that way that I can lighten or darken the work as necessary and also include some texture when I need it. I generally include a fine worker thread in a neutral colour as well to tie areas of colour together and include little spots of contrasting colours to highlight certain areas. I usually find at the end of the work that I haven’t used all of the threads I chose at the beginning but gathering a colour palette together does help to crystallize my ideas about the overall look of the final piece.
Wednesday 1 September 2021
www.carolquarini.com. If you’re thinking about setting up your own website I can also recommend Bright Sea Media who designed mine for me – they are very helpful and easy to work with.