The next time Gail and I will exhibit the work from ‘Lace at the edge’ is at Harrogate, still as part of the Knitting and Stitching Show. Our stand at Alexandra Palace was rectangular but the one at Harrogate is much more square so we are having to rethink our display. When we started planning the exhibition, the aim was to intermingle our work, but when we actually came to set up that just didn’t seem to work effectively, so we ended up with my work at one end and Gail’s at the other. I think now we’ve seen the work on display we have a much better idea of which pieces work well together which we’re bearing in mind as we redesign the stand for its new shape. Other factors we will have to consider are the placing of the stand. At Alexandra Palace we were quite well inside the gallery block, but at Harrogate we are right near the opening so we’ll have to consider air draughts blowing the work and of course the temperature if it’s cold. We had a few draughts in London when the ceiling vents were opened and they wafted my black veils about in a suitably languid and sinister manner, so let’s hope we achieve that effect!
Thursday, 13 October 2016
The book we had out for the audience to write in at ‘Lace at the edge’, our exhibition at the Knitting and Stitching Show last week, is full of interesting comments. Many say they thought the work was stunning, fascinating, inspiring or beautiful, which is always encouraging to hear. Others are more informative and comment on the ideas behind the work, the textures and techniques. But I think my favourite is ‘Wonderful exhibition – I’m glad that I took the time to read the labels, it made all the difference’, mainly because that was how I approached the exhibition. I wanted to make work that would look beautiful from a distance, so would be interesting to those passing by, but would have a deeper message for those who took the time to engage with it and find the stories hidden within the folds of the veils. Another aim was to show people that lace can be used as textile art and carry a deeper message - it isn’t just a decorative technique. I know I achieved that with many people who spoke to me about the work and I lost count of those who stopped to say how nice it was to see lace being displayed at the Knitting and Stitching Show.
Wednesday, 5 October 2016
Our exhibition at the Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace is now up and running. Its title is ‘Lace at the edge’ and it features work by me and Gail Baxter. Although we are both lacemakers our work is quite different but it is linked by a common theme of netting. In Gail’s case fishing nets and traditional netting techniques and in mine the fine nets used in veiling. It is great to see all the pieces displayed as a body of work, hanging them in the studio just doesn’t give you the same effect. I was especially pleased to see that my three black veils worked well together pinned to the wall like bats in flight. Also the group of white veils linked to literary themes show up well on the circular plinths they are displayed on. It’s always good to see the work in situ, as however many plans you make it’s not until everything is hung that you can see the overall effect. The exhibition is on until Sunday 9 October and the gallery number is TG21 so do come and visit us. However if you can’t make it we are exhibiting the work again in Harrogate at the end of November.
Thursday, 29 September 2016
I’m in the middle of the final preparations for the Knitting and Stitching Show next week. Gail Baxter and I have an exhibition entitled ‘Lace at the edge’ in gallery TG21 at Alexandra Palace next week and it will then move on to Harrogate in November. The work will be packed up after the London show, stored, and then transported to Harrogate for us, which is very convenient, but does mean we have to pack our work securely but in a way that won’t crease it while it’s in storage for 6 weeks. I’m buying masses of tissue paper and bubble wrap and hoping that will do the trick. I’m sure it’s stored very carefully, but you also have to take into account that the boxes might be kept upside down or on their side, and pack accordingly! Luckily the hanging system for my veils isn’t very complicated; all that’s required are pins and a hammer, so I don’t need many tools, although I am taking things like scissors, sellotape, and white blu tack just in case I need them. We have ordered labels, an information board and a board with our names on in advance so they should be waiting for us and I have my nice new business cards! Do come and see us and say hello if you’re going to the Show it’s on from Wednesday 5 October to Sunday 9 October.
Thursday, 22 September 2016
I’ve just had another batch of business cards printed so I have enough for the Knitting and Stitching Show galleries at Alexandra Palace and Harrogate this autumn. It’s always difficult to decide on one design that represents the entirety of your work. I want to convey the idea that my work is based on lace but might include other fabrics and embroidery and is conceptual in nature, so I don’t want anything too specific. I think going for a close up image works well as it isn’t really linked to any particular body of work. My previous card had a frill and some tambour lace from my lace curtain work, so it incorporated the curtain, lace and text in a fairly unspecific way. This time I’ve gone for another nonspecific image. This one is taken from one of the veils in my latest body of work, showing fine netting, pins and the edge of the veil. I hope it conveys the idea of lace and beauty, but that the juxtaposition of net and pins adds a layer of uncertainty and subversiveness - beauty with a hint of menace!
Wednesday, 14 September 2016
I was honoured to be invited by Maria Bissacco to take part in the recent exhibition at The Lace School in Valtopina entitled ‘Interpretare il segno’. Maria sent each of the participants a series of drawings of stylised flowers and asked them to interpret the drawings as they liked. As I have previously designed and made some unusual lace doilies I decided that I would make another non-functional lace mat. I selected one of the flower shapes and expanded it to a diameter of about 25 cm, then widened the petals so that they touched one another and formed a unified mat-like shape. I wanted to acknowledge the floral origin of the doily without it looking exactly like a flower so I added chains of lace and fringes at certain points around the edge of the design, which also held it together more effectively. I worked the piece as a continuous tape lace, following the curves of the petals, and joining the sections as I worked around the design. Once I’d finished the main outline I added fillings to the shapes by working a continuous two-paired plait across each petal. I had to work out the path of my threads before I started and make sewings and crossings as I needed them, but mostly I managed to fill the entire space with just two pairs. As I made some of the crossings I also inserted some small strips of iridescent fabric to add a third dimension and give the suggestion of butterflies resting on the flower. They also subverted the idea of a traditional lace mat by making it completely non-functional.
Friday, 9 September 2016
I was interested to see this ‘Stevengraph’ at Macclesfield Silk Museum as it reminded me of the commemorative lace panels I’ve been looking at recently. Both the lace panels and these silk panels were used to commemorate and advertise events. According to the information at Macclesfield, Thomas Stevens of Coventry began making woven bookmarks in the 1860s. They proved so popular that in 1879 he started producing silk pictures as well. The one in the image shows the venue of an exhibition held in Chicago in 1893 and appears to have been woven during the exhibition presumably as a souvenir for the audience to purchase. During a recent visit to the Newstead Abbey lace collection I saw a larger panel celebrating the 1862 International Exhibition held in London. That one, about 60 x 40 cm in size, could have been available to purchase or, more likely, was used as advertising on a lace manufacturer’s stand to show the skill and versatility of the lace machines. The patterns on both the silk and lace panels would have been produced using Jacquard cards.