I Make Lace

I was recently asked to describe my work in three words. Artist’s statements are notorious for being long-winded, inscrutable and empty of real meaning. I couldn’t think of anything more to say than ‘I Make Lace’. I then cheated and added three more words… ‘Full Of Colour’.

This pair of three word statements sum up my practice. I am frequently asked where I get my lace from, so I guess I should make more of the fact that I MAKE LACE, from sketchbook to lookbook! The fault is entirely mine. Insecurity meant that I was reticent about sharing how I make my lace, thinking people would say ‘Ahh, well that’s EASY’ (it so isn’t!).

I start with a sketch or a shape in my mind, and I might scan or draw that into my computer. My sketches aren’t that good but I have become more confident about putting pen to paper and not worrying how they look to anyone else! I set about turning that sketch into a single lace motif, considering how and where it might join up with other motifs and make a larger piece of lace. This process takes between one and thirty days, it depends how much time I’ve already spent chewing the design over in my mind.Moroccan Heart sketch

Once I’ve made the motif work on the computer, I’ll do a number of test runs to see if the lace keeps it’s integrity after being washed. Once happy with the single motif, I’ll start putting a number together to create a neck lace or lacelet, and maybe decide on what kind of earring I might make with it. It can take months or even years to tweak a design until I’m happy with it. Often I’ll make a couple of pieces and leave the design as it is, until suddenly inspiration strikes and I return to that motif again to make a new shape.

JC Middlebrook Lace
Daisy Dreamer set

This happened recently with the Daisy Dreamer motif. Originally a lacelet commission for a bride, the motif developed slowly and became Daisy Dreamer about six months later, adding a neck lace, earring and brooch. I’ve recently returned to the motif to develop a large chain style neck lace and enjoyed playing with the shape once more.

I also get asked if I make my lace by hand, and it feels like I should say ‘No’ because I don’t use the set of bobbins and pad. That’s what most imagine when they ask that question. But I certainly make it all by myself, using my computer, my machines and my hands.

So is it hand-made? I think so.

P.S. I not only make lace, but sell it too… You can browse and buy HERE!

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