Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Lace Architecture

As I go through these books I am constantly amazed at how the threads can be made to move through the textile and the cleverness of our ancestors who figured this out.

This is a small table runner and rather than work with a bazillion bobbins, the lace meanders back and forth to create a much larger textile with a more manageable number of bobbins.

While I can't yet quite follow this diagram, I get just enough of it to be blown away by whoever figured this out.

After seeing Ivan Sayers collection of lace at Fibres West, the fineness of the threads used, and the designs that were created, usually in very low light conditions, I can only offer up my respect to the (mostly) women who made these lace textiles.

And, while I am intimidated, I am also inspired to dig my pillow and bobbins out.  I just wish I didn't have so many crunchy deadlines right now.  But never mind, I have the books and I can feast my eyes on these incredible patterns and - who knows - set up a pillow for a very very simple lace.

Currently drooling over Discover, Explore, Master Torchon - a three part series written by Ulrike Voelcker.  Available in Canada from Trillium Lace in Ottawa, ON.


Nancy said...

I have the Voelcker trilogy, too! I love working on lace when I'm able, and my long term project has that same similar undulation of design that you show on your photo - though of course the pattern is different. One of the fun things about lacemaking for me was to learn that 'up' and 'down' are relative. With weaving we have warp and weft and they're pretty much set in place physically - in lace it's passives and actives... and those actives can go in all kinds of directions. When time isn't so crunchy for you, I hope that you'll share some of your lace journey! I love that both you and Daryl Lancaster do lace - it's fun for me to hear about weavers also talking about weaving lace. Yippee!

Laura Fry said...

I fell down the lace rabbit hole in 1995 and did quite a bit for a few years. Then life got busy and for the last few I have barely touched it. Perhaps as I retire’ more from production there will be more time for other things. :)

Jacquie said...

As a lacemaker and teacher of nearly 40 years, I am constantly amazed by this idea that lace was 'usually' made in low light conditions. The lace makers would have used dawn and dusk to do their household chores and kept the best of the light for their lacemaking. As was common in poor families in the past, they went to bed in the dark to save the cost of oil or candles, and made the most of the daylight hours. Whilst demonstrating at a show I heard a lurking visitor say to her friend, "It's so amazing to think that all the old lace was made by candlelight", and friend nodded knowingly. I looked up and remarked that there was daylight available right back to the start of the earliest lacemaking. Looks of surprise while they thought about that, then they agreed with me that it's easier to do the laundry, make beds, wash dishes and floors or peel vegetables in poor light than to make lace. Yes, there are lacemakers' lamps using a water filled glass sphere to enhance and multiply the light from a single candle, but those were used most in lace schools where there were a number of lacemakers. For the solo lacemaker working at home, who could sit by the window or outside, they were probably less essential and out of their price range. They are much rarer as antiques than bobbin winders for example, which is a reflection on how common they were historically.