Welcome to J.C. Middlebrook Nottingham Lace textiles

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Projects

I’m so privileged to work in so many fabulous collaborations, these are the projects I’ve been working on:

Silver Lace | PorceLace | Synchronise Exhibition

Silver Lace Collaboration -ongoing

I’m working with Brigitte Adolph to make her silver jewellery from my lace designs. Brigitte is a wonderful designer, a fully trained goldsmith who is fascinated by lace and textiles in her work. She describes her work as ‘only revealed through touch’, which is so right- when looking at her precious creations, one assumes it is a textile, such is the detail captured in the process.

Award winning Silver Lace Bracelet

Credit: Ash Brown

I first met Brigitte in May 2011, during a trade show in Karlsruhe, Germany. Brigitte then visited Nottingham as part of a Creative Twinning exchange the following October. It was then that we decided to see if we could work together on some designs. The first pieces made by Brigitte were from my existing ‘Trefoil’ collection, two beautiful bracelets and some stud earrings, which we launched as the renamed ‘Nottingham heritage’ collection at Inhorgenta International Jewellery Fair in Munich. Unknown to me, Brigitte entered the large ‘Nottingham Heritage’ bracelet into the ‘Schmuck’ (German for ‘Jewellery’) magazine annual awards. We won first prize in the ‘Klassik’ category which was an absolute thrill.

Madama Butterfly silver lace collection

Credit: Ash Brown

I was lucky enough to gain access to the Nottingham Trent University Lace Archive which supplied us with inspiration for our second collection, ‘Madama Butterfly’ -based on Japanese style designs.We chose to work from design pages which had been donated to the archive by a Nottingham firm (sadly we don’t know which one). These drawings had actually been created by a company called Schultz based in Plauen- the centre for decorative lace in Germany. We were excited by the idea of the original designs coming from Germany to Nottingham, returned to Germany in lace and back again!

During my second visit to Karlsruhe in May 2012, we were able to spend some time discussing and sketching ideas together. Emails and photographs pinged back and forth during the summer and the hard work was rewarded when the jewellery arrived in Nottingham. This collection was shown in Nottingham Castle during the Lace:Here:Now season.

It can be quite tough working in collaboration with a designer in another country, but we are becoming more familiar with how each other work and what we require for our design process. We email A LOT when we are designing and send photographs of work in progress. We are constantly refining and improving the work and have become firm friends too!

www.brigitte-adolph.de

PorceLace -ongoing

PorceLace – ‘where porcelain meets lace’

Buy PorceLace items here 

I’ve been working in collaboration with Leicester-based ceramist Samantha Robinson since July 2014. In October 2015 we launched our first range of porcelain and lace designs under the name ‘PorceLace’. We worked on exhibition pieces for ‘Synchronise II’ at the National Centre for Craft and Design, taking design inspiration from Samantha’s collection of vintage keys. The exhibition featured five illuminated porcelain and lace cubes, the largest Samantha has ever made, and a lighting element that switched off as the onlooker approached, revealing the glow in the dark lace hidden inside.

PorceLace

Credit:Ash Brown

The new PorceLace product range includes a ‘lacelet’ cuff, earrings and charm necklace, in a range of four beautiful colours. We have also created a range of hanging lace and porcelain ornaments. The PorceLace lacelet has a key motif and tiny embossed porcelain button closure. The earrings and pendant combine lace keys with delicate porcelain shapes.PorceLace Lace Cuff

The use of ‘positive’ and ‘negative’ space in designs began to fascinate us both, and we are pushing our materials to work in a way that is unexpected, creating 3-D work from material usually seen as a 2D covering and using light and shade to create pattern within porcelain.PorceLace tealights

 

PorceLace items can be found at the following galleries

  • Wistow Gallery – Wistow Rural Centre, Kibworth Road, Wistow, Leicestershire LE8 0QF
  • Made Gallery – 14a Orange street, Uppingham LE15 9SQ

In 2016 PorceLace was commissioned by Nottingham’s Creative Quarter to create a street installation for Light Night. It was shown outside St Mary’s Church in Nottingham’s historic Lace Market area. We made a two metre wide lace ‘doily’ lit with over 100 tea lights, each embossed with original lace designed especially for this work. We had a lot of fun lighting and relighting tealights in the windy conditions. Thank goodness for LED tealights!!  Read more about this commission and light night here 

We are delighted to have been commissioned once more for 2017, for the 10th Anniversary of Light Night. Things are moving on apace, so watch this space!

Design Factory Synchronise Exhibition – September 2012 to June 2013

Again I’m fortunate to have found another designer who shares my love of textiles. I worked with Clare Gage to create new art pieces fusing our chosen media, textiles and ceramics. We are both members of Design Factory and met at a show in 2011.

Design Factory encouraged makers to get together and collaborate on new work for an exhibition they are holding in 2013. Clare and I challenged ourselves to create work that is entirely decorative, rather than functional, which was a huge test for us as designer-makers. We had both visited the Lace Archive at Nottingham Trent University and took inspiration from some of the lace samples we saw there to create completely new work. We took a  day trip to the Wedgwood Museum in Stoke on Trent to look at some of the beautiful ceramics there.

Lace and ceramic wall tile

Credit: J.C. Middlebrook

The final pieces were revealed with much fanfare in April on display at the National Centre for Craft and Design in Sleaford.

www.claregage.com

www.designfactory.org.uk