Sunday, 27 June 2010

Fragments of Family

Bobbin Pillow


On Monday afternoon I went round to my grandparents house so my gran could teach me how to make pillow/bobbin lace. It's important to me to learn how to make traditional bobbin lace because it's a craft which has been being handed down through my family and is deeply rooted in the Belgian flank of my ancestry, so for it to stop seems ridiculous considering the applications I could use it in.

Gran has also, very kindly, honoured me with a Belgian Lace Pillow & Continental Bobbins which were made by my great, great grandfather & was used by my great gran until she was in her 90's. It still has her last piece on it which makes it even more poignant. Though one in the photos above are actually of my grans lace pillow, which is similar to granny grans but was made by her father (N.B.: I may be getting my greats and great great grandparents muddled in relation to who made the pillows, but you get the jist - they're old, handmade & full of history).

Bobbin Lace

Anyway, for the past week I've been trying to master the basic stitches which are used to make more ornate designs and from the above picture I took on Monday, I've made a 15cm piece of lace using: cloth stitch, cloth stitch & twist and half stitch. Which I unpinned a couple of nights ago to start a new piece - hand winding the bobbins being a complete pain - and gran thinks I'm doing really well when I showed her it.

I've turned back into an excited child with doing this and keep making my mum come and look at what I've done! But it is exciting because it's part of our heritage, plus it's suitably handsy/fiddly for my liking and has stopped me knitting for a few days - knitting post to come at some point.

My lack of making since Christmas has made my brain stagnate a bit, well, a lot. Though I reassured to hear from one of my friends, a wonderful artist & fellow blogger that she's been feeling equally despairing and lost since finishing university. This in itself isn't a good thing, in fact it's down right bad because I don't want my friend feeling that way, however, it does make me feel less ridiculous for my designers block.

The lace however, I think has started to give my designer self a bit of a jump start and my friend pointed out that a blog should be about sharing the whole process, not just the final pieces. That's what my portfolio site is for. So I'm going to try and be a better blogger.

"Honest to blog!"


Buy Design said...

I'm trying to learn tatting and getting nowhere fast. Your lacemaking looks really interesting. Is there any way you could combine the technique with silver ? I knit and crochet with enamel coated wire though I haven't moved on to silver wire yet. Might be a bit costly if it goes wrong.

Emily said...

Hi Fiona, I'm really enjoying making lace, & I'm definitely going to incorporate it in jewellery & used silver wire. Though I have a feeling that'll be fiddly. I'll try in fine copper or brass first so I don't waste it. Sometimes the mistakes do just add to the whole 'handmade' aspect. Makers are only human after all. Mistakes happen!

I've crocheted & knitted silver wire before too, I've also done some weaving with it on a bead weaving loom. It give a nice effect, especially when you use mixed metals.

Hope you move onto silver wire soon, it's worth it. One of my friends makes most of her jewellery with partially knitted elements and I think she found silver easier than copper & brass because it was softer. Especially using the fully annealed reels. 40m for about £20 isn't bad going.


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