Lace Challenge Part 2

The Instagram lace challenge hosted by Jane Fullman ran for the month of January 2021, and I began with high hopes that I would complete it. I didn’t, but thought I would use the prompts here on my blog instead. You can read posts 1-7 in my previous post.

Day 8 – Hidden

My MA lace and laser cut artwork ‘Charnia’ had a message about a girl who hadn’t been believed stitched into it’s picot edge. As the lights shift and change the story is revealed, then, just as quickly, is hidden again.

William Hallam Pegg, one of Nottingham’s award-winning lace designers didn’t do much to hide his message about the global financial order in this lace design, shown at Lace Unarchived in 2018.

A detail of William Hallam Pegg lace design held in NTU Lace Archive
A detail of William Hallam Pegg lace design held in NTU Lace Archive

The wonderful @mistercaitlin makes exquisite lace creatures to share messages about depression and self-image.

A detail of Caitlin McCormack lace design
A detail of Caitlin McCormack lace design

Day 9 – Close-Up

Gosh it’s hard NOT to take close up images of your work! But actually this image was taken by my good friend @PhilSimms over ten years ago.

Day 10 – In The Moment

My research has often led me to think about ‘old lace’ which of course was very ‘contemporary’ when it was made. Time spent in archives makes me wonder why we describe designs as modern, when we really mean ‘today’ or ‘now’

front cover of German lace design folio
The front cover of a German Lace Design Folio held in the Nottingham Trent Lace Archive

‘Now’ eventually becomes ‘then’ and so the circle continues. I try to avoid the use of the word ‘contemporary’ when I talk about my lace, but what other words can I use? I want to say that it’s ‘the opposite of old-fashioned’, but even that seems rude to those cutting edge fashionistas who wore lace ruffs around their neck!

Day 11- Filling

In 2018 I had the pleasure of working alongside @gailbaxterlace in the @ntuart lace archive. Each day we would see beautiful (and not so beautiful) examples of machine made lace. Just as our BA students now, students of lace design would make technical samples and these would be assessed by the tutor. They would sketch out lace draughts/drafts for nets and fillings and have them tested on the Art School lace machines.

The two images are of student work, probably from mid 20th century. They were displayed as part of the exhibition ‘Lace Unarchived’ 2018.

Day 12 – Books

I feel bad! I had borrowed a ton of books from @gailbaxterlace for MA research purposes, but due to Covid I haven’t yet been able to return them. They’re still here Gail, I haven’t accessioned them into my own collection quite yet! My favourite is this one about the lace of the Wiener Werkstätte.

Lace books on a shelf

Day 13 – Edge

Local timber framed building about the same age as our cottage. The main difference is that this one is listed and ours isn’t! I think that’s because it was covered in ugly pebbledash when listing occurred.

Anyway… The end timber had rotted out under its jacket of plastic and lead paint, so last year they had it replaced*. Love the threads of colour leaching into the paintwork six months on. Drips and paint trails are fascinating, and I’ve enjoyed looking at all kinds of trails and thready ends in my work.

*Not sure if the paint they used is plastic or not. I guess they’ll find out in a few years if it’s still damp inside!

Day 14 – Obsessed

Am I obsessed with lace? I wouldn’t say so, no. I love it and find it endlessly fascinating, but I’m not totally obsessed.

But go ahead and ask me if I’m obsessed with pylons… Now you’re talking! I LOVE them and will point out new styles as we travel at home and abroad. But that’s a story for another day 🙂

I’m a little sad though, I only found out at my uncle’s funeral that his first job in the 1950s was building pylons for the national grid. Must be in the genes!

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