Lace by Louise West
“Lace combines the qualities of the phoenix and a chameleon; it has risen again and again from the ashes of a seemingly final slump, to reappear in a different guise to suit a different age”
Hashagen, Joanna & M Levey, Santina . Fine and Fashionable: Lace From The Blackbourne Collection, The Bowes Museum, 2006
Louise started lacemaking back in 1992, after seeing a demonstration. She found a 5-day residential course at Denman College in Oxford. After completing many other courses in lacemaking she still continues to learn as there is so much to explore within the different types of lace. Have a look here for a great archive on lace types. My favorite type of lace is Battenburg which I actually saw on an Art Deco style wedding dress last weekend. How I wish I had taken a photograph of it to show you! I asked Louise about her favourite Lace; Bedfordshire, which led us to the work of Thomas Lester who has been one of her inspirations since seeing one of his designs, in the Cecil Higgins Art Gallery and Museum in Bedford in 2002. The design of Ostriches which has additional lace mounted onto the surface to make the wings look 3D has specifically inspired her to develop in 3D. During her MA in Art and Design Applied Practice and Theories, she took it a step further with lace 3D sculptures. Louise says that “Making lace 3D changes the audience perception of the object and very often they do not see it as lace first, and so it catches their attention and draws them in”
Other inspirations include Lauran Sundin who produces jewellery using lace techniques, Nora Fok, Cal Lane and Wim Delvoye. The latter three artists have taken lace to another level to appeal to a different audience. This is something she wanted to do with her MA work and is also a direction she will continue to pursue.
Above is a piece of Bedfordshire lace drafted and adapted from an antique collar from the 1890’s. Louise says that this type of lace is one of her favorites to work with as there is still so much to learn from it. Thomas Lester is renown for Bedfordshire Lace, his designs were complex and there are few lace makers today who can work his designs; this is something Louise aspires to do and is continually studying his work. Upon researching Lace myself it led me to a few museums which house collections of lace such as the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and Wardown Park Museum in Luton. If you are interested in Lace I would suggest a trip to these 2 museums.
“Lace has given me so many opportunities from getting into university on a BA (Hons) Textile Design course to the Commission on Nottingham Contemporary, to an MA in Art and Design – in contemporary lace and to the current exhibition in Buckingham Palace. None of which I could have imagined at the start”
Louise has been teaching for a few years running regular workshops in Derby and Leicester and a weekly class in Nottingham. Additionally, lace making workshops can be arranged with Louise, this year they include a 7 day Summer School in North Wales and a 5-day course in Cornwall during October. Her workshops are very varied and are tailored to suit individual students. A new evening class in Derby is on the horizon too which will land in September. It will be suitable for all levels including complete beginners! So if you are interested in making lace, have a look at her website for all dates and venues. She said it is continually being updated too so keep checking back! After seeing her work I am even considering a workshop myself. Have a look at this video which is currently being featured at the exhibition ‘In Fine Style: The Art of Tudor and Stuart Fashion’ at The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace. The exhibition is on until Sunday 6th October 2013.
I am now completely in awe of the art of Lace Making. There are just so many techniques and ways to portray it.
Why try your hand at Lace Making with some of these amazing Tools?
Gemma Louise Kimpton
Founder, A Place for Creation
Founder of A Place for Creation & Creator of 'My Creative Business Planner' + designer of awesome websites for creative businesses.
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