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Village Art & Literature

A place for lace

Posted on April 29 2015 at 11:15:34 0 comments

Gateway to Eternal Life

Hopwood-based artist Paula Hamilton enjoys a lace exhibition with a contemporary twist.

An inspiring exhibition is taking place at Forge Mill Needle Museum this May.

This is an exhibition called Gateway, showing work by The 98 Lace Group who are a fellowship of lacemakers with varied textile backgrounds, united by a common goal of giving modern lace a livelier public profile. 

The 98 Lace Group is a national group of around 30 members who take the potential of traditional bobbin and needle techniques and push them to expressive new places.

When we think of lace we think perhaps of lace used in royal wedding dresses, antique fans or christening robes. At the other end of the spectrum we might think of lace curtains or antimacassars used to keep hair oil off the back of chairs in our granny’s sitting room.

So seeing a contemporary twist on the art and craft of making lace will be a welcome thing and is heralded as “contemporary lace as a feast for the eyes and food for the soul.”

The exhibition, which originated in Cambridgeshire last autumn – at Wisbech and Fenland Museum – has been created in all scales, from a small clutch bag to a large folding screen, and many different materials have been put to use, including wire, beads, linen, silk and cotton. 

Spectacular pieces include Lily Wills’ large and colourful cruciform, Gateway to Eternal Life (right), based on a stained glass window, and the product of two months’ flat-out lacemaking. 

Christine Gibson explored a ring-shaped portal, Stargate, as a wormhole to transport time travellers to other ages and universes.

Jane Atkinson took part of a spectacular ice formation on local marshland to explore how precarious modern lives can be with a piece entitled Black Ice.

Other subjects tackled by the exhibitors have included the slave trade, Metamorphosis as a caterpillar emerges from its chrysalis, and the memory of three relatives with Pearly Gates open and welcoming.

Pat Brunsdon, the exhibition’s organiser, and a team of helpers have initiated large numbers of adults and children into the joys of lacemaking and all have thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to get hands-on with this stimulating, but sometimes hidden, medium. 

Lace making can look complicated but, I am reliably informed, it is actually quite simple to understand under the guidance of a skilled tutor or enthusiastic demonstrator.

Visitors to the Needle Museum will get the opportunity to see for themselves on May 30, when they can “Meet the Makers” from 11am to 3pm and get involved in some hands-on lace making.

The show at Forge Mill Needle Museum runs from May 2 to June 2. More information at

Please get in touch if you would like me to write about an art event near you. Contact me via The Village or at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) 

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