I do not write too often about contemporary lacemakers. They are out there, and each one of them is expanding horizons of the lace craft in unique ways. Handmade lace has creative potential that can never be exhausted, as each lace designer finds a new niche and new way of expression. Recently we have seen a great display of creativity in the Lace Not Lace exhibition of contemporary lace art, in Hunterdon Museum in Clinton, NJ, USA.
And there are many more than 28 living lace artists represented in the exhibition.
We, the lace artists, spend so much time dreaming, thinking, designing and making lace, that we lack time to communicate with each other. Maybe it is because we are scattered all over the world. But even when we pursue just our own work we know that we are not alone. We are connected with other lacemakers by invisible threads of lacemaking tradition.
When encounters do happen, though, they can be quite magical.
Last year I received an email Christmas greeting card from the Czech Republic on the other side of the world:
Beautiful lace art from Ivana Domanjova, lace artist, teacher and lace magazine editor.
The image of “Milenci” (“Beloveds”) took my breath away and I felt immediate connection with the work and with the author, whom I never met before. Ivana’s lace art follows the best standards of modern Czech lace design, with clean lines, subtle colouring and interesting, well thought-out patterns. It demonstrates unique talent, which is supported by flawless technique. Skill like this is achieved only by rigorous traditional schooling and years of practical experience. Because Ivana Domanjova has all that, her lace reached beyond craft. It has become true art, capable of relating matters beyond matter.
Since the first strong impression, the “Beloveds” were on my mind and I kept thinking how gently they hold each other, how they reflect and complement each other, how they are two joined into one… During the longest nights of the year, the twosome angel was reflecting the light that comes from the depths of darkness. And then, during quiet holidays, my only time for reading, I happened to come across a quote from Emanuel Swedenborg, that “masculine and feminine will reach entirety in heaven in a form of one angel”*. I am not an expert on teachings of Christian mystics, but occasionally encounter them on my journey to understand women and their place in fine arts, and in the world at large. The “Beloveds” reached me at the right time to illustrate Swedenborg’s hard-to-grasp idea, and did it precisely and beautifully, in the most feminine technique there is, the delicate hand made lace. I have never doubted that lace has that power, but it manifests rarely, only in hands of masters. I am truly grateful for meeting Ivana and her “Beloveds”.
To learn more about Ivana Domanjova and her original lace art, visit her website at www.domanjova.eu and Instagaram at izidora2
*Quote from a book: “Žena a spása světa” by Pavel Evdokimov
(Refugium Velehrad-Roma, 2011, ISBN 978-8074120664)
English version: “Woman and the Salvation of the World” (SVS Press, 1994, 978-0881410938)
French original: “La Femme et le Salut du Monde” (Tournai/Paris: Casterman, 1958)