I have always been drawn to the intricate beauty of lace and it has featured in many of my creative projects. I think what makes it appeal most is the detail and femininity it exudes as well as the fact that it is a traditional craft which although extremely time consuming, is a labour of love for many. It also holds a timeless quality. Practised and coveted by Catholic nuns in the 19th Century, yet still appearing incredibly modern and desirable in the current shop window of Liberty's.
When starting my fabric sample, 'SWATCH' book I wanted to spend time to consider fabrics of real interest to me that would prove to be helpful in informing future choices. As a technique, lace making is definitely something I would be eager to learn. Although I am aware that machine made lace has the potential to appear just as delicate and detailed there is something moving about the slow, considered effort of creating a fabric by hand. I definitely can connect with this after completing my weave and knit technical blocks.
One of my favourite shops has to be Ashman's Antiques and Old Lace near where I live in Mid Wales. The lovely owner Diane is a vintage fabric enthusiast and overwhelmed me with her incredible knowledge of lace and endless samples. I decided to dedicate 3 sections within my sample book to fabrics from this vintage shop- Hand-made lace, Machine-made lace and crochet. Some samples hold significant emotional connections and I love that a fabric has the potential to bare such personal importance. The relationship between fabric and emotions is exemplified perfectly by the Foundling Museum's 'Threads of Feeling' exhibition by presenting the textile tokens used by mothers to identify their abandoned babies. I was particularly moved by the commemorative handkerchiefs which were widely sent and received during the World Wars. It made me question whether there was any modern day equivalent? A hand made keepsake sent to reassure and comfort? I could not think of any. It is really unfortunate that our modern society is now dominated by digital media and people would rather spend a few minutes sending an email than spend 8 months crafting a 'good luck' handkerchief.
My fabric sample file.