Live blogging The Young Lace Makers Symposium- Doily Free Zone

I have proposed to Lorelei that those of us who are attending the 1st International Symposium of Young Lace Makers in Pavia Live Blog the event. I don't know if anyone has ever Live Blogged a lace event before, or even if it is a good idea, but in the spirit of innovation, I thought we could give it a try. I encourage anyone who is attending to share their thoughts, observations, pictures and Youtubes as responses to this entry.


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Comment by Lorelei Halley Administrator on April 11, 2013 at 4:01pm

Alicia Jan Boswell's work is interesting, but I think it is just a few steps past what some of our members are doing. By incorporating the lace into jewelry pieces whose basic structure depends on traditional jewelers' methods she remains in the class of jewelry.  This gives her work a "legitimacy" in the eyes of the public that pure lace making methods would not.

Compare to Maria Bissaco: 

Also, go to our PHOTOS, and do a search on              jewelry

Comment by Lorelei Halley Administrator on April 11, 2013 at 3:50pm

See Orla Bresllin's piece, under April 5.  She has a flickr account with more pictures of her work:       

There are some Russian makers of Irish crochet who are doing some really interesting work, in color, and freeform design.  Mostly clothing.  I have seen some of their work on Ravelry, in the Irish crochet group there.  

Olga Stepanets is one.

Antonina Kuznetsova is another: 

For all of these it appears to me that the major innovation is color and an increase in scale (although that increase is not extreme).  I do like the idea of an Irish crochet wall hanging in color.  Clothing is useful, but a wall hanging can be enjoyed every day.  I don't see much difference between laying it on a table or hanging it on the wall.  I also think that doilies are regarded as contemptible because they are women's work.  What they really are is art objects made at home in the evenings by women with a lot of creativity.  The creativity part attaches to those who design their own work.  And even in the heyday of doilies, some did.  A doily or table runner is just another way to display an artwork.

What do you all think about this?

Comment by Lorelei Halley Administrator on April 11, 2013 at 3:07pm

Devon's post symposium trip, April 10.

Post symposium trip to Gandino. Gandino is a small hill town made wealthy by a red dye produced there. As a result the Basilica has a fine collection of laces of the 16th through the 20th centuries. It is of interest to lace historians because the lace is so old, and also that so much of it is made of precious metals.

Considering the age of the pieces the lace is in phenomenally good condition.

Le Pompe lives!

A nice assortment. The Basilica has put out a beautiful new catalogue of it's laces lavishly illustrated with color photography.

White lace, too, for those who are not into bling.

Comment by Lorelei Halley Administrator on April 11, 2013 at 3:02pm

Devon's photos and comments from April 10.

Premysl Knap is on the left in this picture standing in front of his bobbin lace replicas of old Vlacka lace which are intended for the reconstruction of traditional Moravian folk costumes. He first encountered bobbin lace at the age of twenty at the lace museum in Vamberk, which led him to take lessons with the well known lace artist, Iva Proskova. He pursued textile design studies at the Textile School in Brno. It was delightful speaking to him because his English is excellent. Unfortunately, I forgot to ask him about what he wanted to do in the future. Contemporary lace artist and Surface Design Association contributor, Jane Atkinson tells me that he is looking for opportunities to work in the field of lace making, possibly production, and to do more creative design in the medium.

One of Premysl Knap's recreations.

Alicia Jane Boswell Is an accomplished jeweler and metalsmith who incorporates bobbin lace in precious metals (that she makes herself) into enamel work. The lace makers who showed their work at the exhibit were actually in different stages of their careers and Alicia Jane was among those who had already achieved a high level of success and recognition in terms of residencies, teaching opportunities and sales of her work.

Alicia's work.

Alicia's work. I want one!

Alicia's work.

Comment by Lorelei Halley Administrator on April 11, 2013 at 2:52pm

Devon's photos and comments from April 9.

Olivia Valentine's work was exhibited at the Love Lace exhibit at the Power House museum in Sydney, Australia.

It is quite a challenge for an installation artist to provide work for an exhibition such as this, but we were fortunate that Olivia was able to share some of her more recent work that she has been doing in Turkey, which is supported by two grants. I apologize for the quality of the photo which does not do justice to the work. The piece suspended across the top of the photo is part of a body of work that relates the Oya lace of Turkey to the geography and architecture of that country.
(Beneath the piece, Premysl Knap discusses his recreations of Vlacka lace with Guillermo Roig.)

Because Olivia was unable to travel to Australia to install her work, it was installed by a team of people at the museum including the young curator, Rebecca Evans, seen in the center of this photo. We were fortunate to have Rebecca deliver a paper about her experiences working with that exhibit in which tensions arose between the curatorial vision of the exhibition and the views of members of the Australian Lace Guild many of whom are described as traditionalists. 

Rebecca Evans, wearing a scarf and pin in this photo delivered a paper entitled "That's not Lace: A Young Curator's Experience" which is summarized in the catalogue of the Doily Free Zone exhibition. It is a very insightful and sensitive treatment of a topic that is more central to the evolution of lace as a medium of artistic expression than some of us would like to admit. I look forward to seeing more work from this perceptive young curator.

My husband has an expression he likes to use, "like a pig looking at a wristwatch" which pretty much describes my relationship with fashion, so I do not feel qualified to comment on it. But unfortunately none of the other people who thought they might contribute to the blog have been able to get their Internet service to work here. (Cheers for AT&T, boos for T Mobile.) So, here goes. Alessandra Francesca Capurso works macrame directly on the body. In the catalogue she describes it as "The interplay between pulsation and com-pulsion: music and body but also thought..." I think I might describe it as a traditional Italian method for trimming table linens heavily informed by bondage aesthetic.

More work by Alessandra Francesca Capurso.

Kim Wille is a Belgian fashion school graduate currently working as a shoe designer. In 2010 she started to take bobbin lace lessons and became passionate about it. Within three months she started to make her own designs in combination with fashion.

Bodice of a wedding gown with handmade lace by Kim Wille.

Earlier in the blog I described Stefanie Mittman's series based on treating dance movements as a two dimensional surface. Here are three works she exhibited at the event.

Stephanie is a textile designer currently based in Berlin. She learned bobbin lace in order to create this work which I believe was her senior thesis. Stephanie would like to be a lace designer in the machine made lace industry. I think that employing a textile designer who understands how hand made lace is constructed would be very beneficial in to a machine made lace manufacturer as would her energy and enthusiasm. Here is a detail of her work.

Marianna Kosic is an amateur lace maker who attended a lace making course during her elementary school years in the Province of Gorizia, which is a part of Italy with a Slovenian Cultural Heritage. When they wanted to cancel the course she (and her mother) became activists, collecting signatures for a petition to continue the lace classes which is an important part of the Slovenian cultural heritage. Here she shows her entry in an exhibition in honor of International Tango Day. She is the founder and president of Mandala Institute, a scientific-cultural association. She is shy about her lace skills. Slovenians must have very high standards. Mandala organized "Laced Tango" as part of it's mission to promote the cultural heritage of bobbin lace, foster a culture of peace, and celebrate diversity and similarities between countries and cultures by being united by the passion of making bobbin lace. She is holding up her entry in Laced Tango".

Some of the other entries in Laced Tango: The Art of Bobbin Lace embraces the Elegance of Argentinian Tango.

Marianna's institute is promoting several other opportunities to enhance intercultural understanding through bobbin lace. One deals with celebrating motherhood, another with World Human Rights Day. If you would like to find out more or possibly enter a work you should contact her at


Comment by Lorelei Halley Administrator on April 8, 2013 at 2:58pm

Devon's photos and comments April 8.  If the pictures are wrong side up, click on the photo to see it right side up.

Emer Finnegan with her Kenmare lace. She is a lace maker by day and performs music at night. A double major in music and French, she translated the letters of Colbert concerning the establishment of the French lace industry as part of her academic work. She enjoys Traveling and being a cultural ambassador for Irish lace.

Detail of Kenmare lace star.

Armel Barraud studied at the School of Applied Arts in Paris, then at the School of Decorative Arts. She learned bobbin lace making in Portugal, before developing a new way of using the technique of bobbin lace. This series is called Mur Mur which means The Wall Whispers. It is hard to get a satisfying photo of the work since the creation of changing shadows is part of the visual effect.

Close up.

With degrees in fiber arts, photography and architecture Olivia Valentine explores correlations between textiles and architecture. In that she is an installation artist her art is very large, so I have reproduced an image from the catalogue of the show to illustrate the kind of large scale work that she does.

Comment by Debra J on April 8, 2013 at 8:44am

Thank you, thank you for sharing! I have enjoyed these last couple of days! It is refreshing to view lace from different points of view--it gets my creative energy flowing.


Comment by Lorelei Halley Administrator on April 8, 2013 at 1:47am

Devon's photos and comments

Tracing the origins of tatting to decorative rope work practiced by fisherman and sailors Guillermo Roig creates large scale tatting. Because of the size of the materials the process is very physical. The cord is contained within a child's rubber balloon rather than on a shuttle, secured beneath his foot, and the making of the knots resembles the motion of pulling a net out of the sea. The entire body is employed in the work. In fact, he has considered creating a work of performance art, bordering on dance, from his work which I think would make a great video or live entertainment for a cultural event.

In another reversal, he wants to remove tatting from it's role as decoration to create functional pieces. This piece holds a wine bottle.

Would you like to swing on a Doily? Guillermo would like you to be able to do that. This is his Doily Swing.

Daniel Iglesias Prieto makes headwear and accessories inspired by natural and geometric form and the culture and traditions of Galicia. All of the pieces presented for this exhibit are trimmed with hand made Carmarinos lace, either in the form of traditional or in the form of flowers and other three dimensional structures.

Hat with Camarinos lace inspired by the Culture of Galicia.

Detail from hat.

Comment by Lorelei Halley Administrator on April 7, 2013 at 2:13pm

Devon's photos and comments on April 7.

Guillermo Roig with his "guillermotting".

Orla Breslin with her contemporary Clones Irish Crochet.

Comment by Arlene Cohen on April 7, 2013 at 12:40pm

This is so fascinating!  Thank you, Devon, for allowing us to "tag along" on your adventure.

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