Students’ Work – New School of Lace 2017-18

The New School of Lace school year 2017-2018 just ended and what a year it was!

Lace on and off our pillows had grown, evolved and expanded in many directions, showing that creativity is without boundaries, and handmade lace techniques are exceptionally suited to limitless interpretations. Throughout the last nine months, we have practiced lace skills, learned new techniques and applied them in various projects in fibre as well as wire mediums.

There were fewer one-day workshops, and more weekly classes, which demonstrates that New School of Lace students are dedicated to deeper study of lace techniques and lace design. The results are promising, and well worth sharing.

Students’ Work

Candice Okada completed an ambitious lace art project for her graduation show, Postscript, an exhibition of work by the 2018 graduates of the University of British Columbia’s two-year Master of Fine Arts program at the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery, in Vancouver, BC.

The work, titled “Eva Hesse, I have a present for you:Mind all the little Pricks” (2018) offers a unique look at handmade lace. The artwork consist of two embellished boxes with their sides open to expose the pins that were used in lace construction. The luxurious object with delicate lace pattern thus uncovers a rigorous process of bobbin lacemaking, which relies on support of hundreds of strong steel pins.  This surprising revelation presents both sides of handmade lace – the outside form, pleasing to senses, and the inside framework that engages the mind. The temporary pin structure, exposed to viewers, confirms the laborious nature of lacemaking process. It also delivers a fact usually hidden to the uninitiated – that the fine lace work requires not only patience, attention to detail and nimble fingers, but also a very logical, mathematical mind.

In the title of the work, Candice acknowledges her source of inspiration,  Eva Hesse’s work “Accession II”.   Drawing on her own experience with lacemaking process, Candice transform the idea of a plain industrial box with prickly inside walls into a new entity, with a stronger visual impact as well as deeper meaning. In the unexpected juxtaposition, soft, sweet and and delicate surface of the boxes contrast with the forest of sharp steel pins inside. Open skin reveals bones, offering a powerful experience to all viewers, not just lacemakers whose fingers had been pricked often enough to recall the pain, which inevitably accompanies pleasures of the lacemaking process.

Candice’s original lace artwork, along with her embroidery and bead weaving, attracts attention, triggers curiosity and brings  fresh outlook for the traditional craft techniques.  Quite an achievement for a young artist, who only recently added handmade lace to her textile art vocabulary.

Another up-and-coming lace artist, Urzula, of Zula Jewelry, is exploring bobbin lace applications in jewelry making. Her new line of Fairy Catcher earrings combines a delicate wire lace nets with nature inspired designs, and the Light Shield infuses lace with light in bold wearable art pieces.  Zula had a special opportunity to present her new work in the juried show at SNAG Conference in Portland, Oregon, USA, in May.

Donna Leong finished her Five Meters Club entry in wire lace and her Seedlings and Primrose picture (completed with a lace garden snake) won People’s Choice Award at the BC Lace Getaway 2018 competition “From the Ground Up)

Angela Kikuchi and Donna Leong excelled at the 1st lace|heart|art Challenge, our very own International Online Exhibition of Handmade Bobbin Lace in Colour, winning top prizes in wire lace category. Angela was the only lacemaker among 60 participants from 10 countries, who submitted entries in both fibre and wire lace. Congratulations!

First Prize in Wire Lace – Donna Leong, Canada

Third Prize in Wire Lace – Angela Kikuchi, Canada

Marina Szijarto, a multi-media multi-talented artist, and occasional lacemaking student, traveled to to Spain to participate in Girona Flower Festival. Within a cloister walls she discovered an exposition that combined things she loves – plants, community art installations and lace – and she shared photos with us.  What an inspiration!

All these achievements, along with genuinely positive atmosphere in the classes and workshops, are proving that the New School of Lace is fulfilling its goal of keeping the fine craft of lace alive through creativity.

Good work, everybody!

I look forward to our future lace endeavours that will push boundaries, challenge our skills, inspire our growth and create more lace art.

Have a nice summer, absorb the warmth of the sun and beauty of nature for the future lace inspiration 🙂


For a preview of the upcoming lace exhibitions, read the next blog post.


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