Staff Picks: Bobbin Lace Weekend Intensive

One of my favorite aspects of working for a growing textile community is the exposure to uncommonly practiced artistic mediums. Case in point: lacemaking.

Bobbin Lace is a traditional textile technique involving the braiding and twisting of threads wound on bobbins. The work in-progress is held in place by strategically placed pins set in a lace pillow, which ultimately determine the pattern of the lace. It is sometimes referred to as “bone lace,” as bobbins were traditionally made of bone or ivory when the art form originated in late 16th century Italy. In time the industrial revolution marked a decline in the practice of this highly meticulous art form, as machine production quickly replaced fine, detailed handwork in the textile industry.


The Judgement of Paris (after Wtevael) (detail), 2013. Pierre Fouche. Macrame and bobbin lace in polyester braid. 2000 x 800mm.

Despite the rarity of traditional bobbin lacemaking, there are many contemporary artists and designers creating new and exciting work incorporating similar concepts. Lace Fence is a Dutch design company that produces architectural fabric, melding ideas of decoration and functionality to create handmade motifs in an industrial landscape:

Additionally, in 1978 artist Lieve Jerger started using copper wire in place of thread to create work incorporating traditional Flemish bobbin lace designs. The results were 3-dimensional lace sculptures of breathtaking detail:


Quantum Cube. Lieve Jerger. Copper bobbin lace.


Quantum Cube (detail). Lieve Jerger. Copper bobbin lace.


Quantum Cube (detail, inside cube). Lieve Jerger. Copper bobbin lace.

A few months ago I had to opportunity to meet with former TAC Artist in Residence, Kaelyn Garcia, to discuss her work with traditional bobbin lacemaking. In case you missed the article, you can check it out here.

Similar to hand knitting and embroidery, bobbin lacemaking is a patient art. As with all classes at the Textile Arts Center, the focus is on process rather than product. So while it may take several hours to complete a six-inch tape lace, you’ll soon find the sound of wooden bobbins clinking and the repetitive motions of twisting and turning threads inexplicably relaxing!


BOBBIN LACE – Weekend Intensive (August)

With Kaelyn Garcia
TAC Brooklyn
Saturday/Sunday, 11AM-5PM, August 2nd-3rd

Sign up here!

Staff Picks are a monthly series of discounted classes. Take 10% OFF enrollment for the Bobbin Lace Weekend Intensive – just enter STAFFJUL14 at checkout!

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