Monday, December 30, 2013

Module 5, Chapter 1: Lace research

After much deliberation I chose to look at the very early needlelace designs: Reticella and Punto in Aria as I knew very little of their development.  I am originally from an area of Scotland where Ayrshire lace and other associated whitework embroidery on sheer muslin was more familiar, and I had consequently studied this in the past.  I decided to take the opportunity of module 5 to look into something relatively unknown.

1.1 Supporting information to display boards
Also in an earlier life I had spent some years making bobbin lace and these designs reminded me of the geometric nature of torchon lace.  I guess I also enjoyed the precision of bobbin lace so I had a go at sampling a reticella lace insertion design (1.3).  I had thought that bobbin lace took an age to complete but that was nothing compared to this!

I followed the instructions I found here, and prepared a 2 inch square framework on 32 count linen using cotton perle 12.  Even on this scale, the double running stitches and satin stitches to bind the perimeter tested my patience and eyesight under a magnifying glass, so I don't know how lacemakers could do this repeatedly on a 1 inch square!
The reticella lace was then worked over this framework using buttonhole stitch, woven bars with picots and cast bride threads to create the pattern.

1.5 sample of reticella insertion square
This type of lace was obviously time consuming to make and a fashion feature generally for the nobility and wealthy families of Europe.

The rigidity of reticella lace made it particularly suitable for the proud nature of collars and excessive ruffs often seen in the Elizabethan era.
Punto in Aria lace developed as lace designs moved away from the geometric constraints of the warp and weft threads remaining in the ground fabric, and lace was formed "in the air" without a ground fabric at all. This enabled edgings to be more curved and intricate and whole lace to incorporate motifs of flowers, scrolls, birds using needlelace stitches without cutwork.  Again I found a similarlity to Bedfordshire bobbin lace, particularly the floral designs with many picots.


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Clearing the decks

Gave myself an early Christmas present this week - a clean floor around my workspace - finally organising and presenting my last Module's work in folder format.  It also included finishing the paperwork outstanding for Module 4 and preparing a design board (two A3 sheets) for my PAP3 piece.

Timing involved in PAP3:

Research and design work for this piece started in February 2013 and was completed end April 2013 (covering approximately 35 hours)
Sampling and embroidery work started March 2013 and completed end August 2013 (covering 85 hours)

Costing involved in this PAP:

3m silk organza
150g merino wool roving
1m white merino prefelt
4ply wool for cording
approx 50g landscape dye
approx 3 reels sewing thread
watersoluble stabiliser for lacework
vinegar as mordant for acid dyeing
Total $105 AU

Self Evaluation of PAP3:

I enjoyed researching and developing this piece.  It referenced the faces/portrait design work of module 3, the motif design development of module 4 and the felt making skills develped in module 4, while having connection through the motif origin with my personal research theme overall - floral, vegetation.
It allowed me to explore my liking for lace in a felted environment and the result was well received when exhibited and gave pause for thought.

The design process again showed me the benefit of stepping back and rethinking a composition, creating more of the unexpected rather than the somewhat duller expected view.  The motif work in this case, demonstrated its use in creating a cohesive exhibition of pieces, a technique I'm sure I will reuse in the future.