Reimagining lace: A contemporary response to place textile making

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Journal Article
Craft Research, 2018, 9 (1), pp. 135 - 147
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© 2018 Intellect Ltd. Over the last decade interdisciplinary engagement with lace as a contemporary design source has opened up a new emerging space for designers to explore unconventional approaches to traditional technologies and materials. This can be evidenced through International Contemporary Lace exhibitions over recent years, whereby artists outside the discipline of textiles have been invited to explore material innovation as a means to open up new definitions of lace (Radical Lace USA, 2007; Lost in Lace UK, 2011; Love Lace Australia, 2011–13).1 This portrait is an overview of my own contemporary lace practice during this time. I view my work as a practice of a practice made up of iterations of the one intent – that is to explore notions of making as an embodied response to the materials and places that I work and live in. Traditionally lace could be read as a place marker and came to represent the family and region where they were made through the materials and patterns employed to make them. Drawn to the technical complexity that this allusive textile holds I am interested in demonstrating how making knowledges move between generations. Historically embroidered laces for example are known as ‘punto en aire’ (‘stitches in the air’). This prompts me to question how new notions of stitches in the air can be re-imagined as a modern-day place marker. The motivation behind my lace works is to create original work that reflect back a unique recognition of place. It is in the experience of recognition itself that enables us to view our environment in a new light.
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