Back in the 1980s I attended a workshop at the Art Institute of Chicago on the Turkish textiles exhibit that was currently on display.  Virginia Bath encouraged the participants to design a piece in their technique of choice, but based on an object in the exhibit.  I chose a brocade. It had a sort of ogival half drop design: marquise shapes stacked in columns, with the neighboring column starting half way down.  I decided to do torchon bobbin lace.  But since torchon is all angles I used diamond shapes instead of marquise shapes.  I had to decide how I would execute the parts.

This was going to be the basic layout.  There are 2 shades of purple to represent differing degrees of fairly dense work.  The half drop part of the design would be relatively open.  The dotted parts would be a variation of fairly open.  No specific decisions were made yet on just exactly what would fill those various shapes.

Then, since very wide bobbin lace is very awkward to work on, I had to decide how to break it into strips: should I use 5 strips or 3?

Above -- 5 strips.

Below - 3 strips.

And I had to decide how to work the connecting parts to disguise the join, and what the gimp path would be.

I used several differnt shades on the white-beige continuum, linen, cotton, slubbed, shiney.  I made no attempt to control where the colors went.  I wanted a mixture of control and randomness.

The spider motif in the center of the large diamonds is from Cook & Stott's first book of grounds.

This is how it looked in process:


I still do my designing the old fashioned way -- with pencil and graph paper.


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Replies to This Discussion

Lovely work Lorelei!  I love to see how others' design processes work.  It is interesting to see each step in the design/ thought process.  Sometimes you have to let it rest before you proceed to the next step. Thank you for sharing this with us.


I haven't attempted anything this ambitious since.  I'm mostly trying to expand my skill level in certain traditional styles.  But I do want to work examples of all the designs I have filed away.  The major thing with lace design is the variation of dense and transparent.  Color is beautiful and fun to work with.  But once color is in the design, the dense/open dichotomy becomes less important.  So, for me, it is a constant struggle to decide between color and emphasis on lace.  So mostly monochrome, or staying to a narrow color range works best to have both color and density variation in the same piece.

Nice. an interesting piece of work, and taken all the way to completion. It's interesting to see the process.

So you designed this work too! It makes me have more respect for all the patterns out there, someone must of had to design them all.

To think you designed such a lovely piece is amazing, i was already taken with the chosen colours and how they make the woven parts have an almost ancient look, the subtle changes in the colours give the stitches so much more depth, its in the way the progressive blending from light to darker within the threads used that also gives this piece its magic.

A very unique piece indeed.

thank you Selena


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