Sunday September 19 2021



Village Art & Literature

Beyond traditional lace

Posted on February 25 2019 at 1:05:23 0 comments


Bromsgrove artist Richard McIlwraith encourages readers to visit a contemporary lace exhibition at Artrix.

Intricate, involved, elaborate, enmeshed,
Fine, precise, flowing, smooth,
Winding, restless, shifting, soothing
Warmth of tone, tinge of webs.

98Lace is a fellowship of UK lacemakers with varied textile backgrounds who use traditional techniques to create lace for the 21st century.

United by a common goal of bringing modern lace a lively public profile, its members produce original work, breaking through classical boundaries.

Throughout March at Artrix in Bromsgrove, you can immerse yourself in an intriguing exhibition of lace work from this talented national group.

Expect the experimental. Witness the individual artists’ journeys from customary to contemporary. The complexity within the works is staggering.

I visited the exhibition on the evening of the Young Picasso screening in February and there are evident similarities between the creative new directions the famous artist pursued and the unique courses followed by the members of 98Lace.

Tradition is stepped past and you see wire, silk paper, wool, felting, grids, patterns, William Morris and Celtic designs, perspex rods, paper yarns, shadows, images hidden, paint, technological themes, architecture, nature, weather, landscape, fractals and a tea-cup!

Just being there releases your imagination. Just consider what jolt of creative energy is liberated in the patient and resilient hands of these master lacemakers.

This exhibition is well worth viewing. Its strength is its attention to detail. The textures are selected carefully to give a particular emotional impact. Take your time and peruse the message in each piece.

Take Rothko’s advice when he was asked how far back an observer should stand to most fully engage with his famous colour-field paintings: “Right back,” he replied, “about 18 inches”.

Go to to find out more about the fellowship. The exhibition runs until March 31 and can be viewed on weekdays 9am to 2pm; Saturdays 10am to 2pm; and on performance evenings.

There is a cafe on site and I have always found the staff and volunteers to be extremely welcoming. Artrix is on Slideslow Drive, Bromsgrove, B60 1GN.

Please get in touch if you would like me to write about an art event near you: 
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Right: Lace by Pat Brunsdon.

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