Posted on June 21, 2022
The summer season is officially here and summer weather is apparently on time, arriving in Vancouver this weekend. Finally! It’s been a long wait for the bright and warm sunshine.
I plan to continue working on a lace sculpture for the last red cedar driftwood frame from Colin Hamilton of Thuja Wood Art. Colin and I have collaborated on four sculptures so far, with Colin designing the original frames allowing me fill them with metal lace. It’s been a very special project which inspired me to take the lace art into new territory. Most of my previous works had been firmly connected to great European tradition that started five hundred years ago and carried the Renaissance ideals of beauty and harmony of material and spiritual dimensions of human existence.
Colin’s unusual creations reflecting his deep connection to the West Coast nature, invited me to traverse the big divide and use my beloved technique to manifest a completely different energy. It was quite an amazing experience seeing each piece taking shape reminiscent of nature and it’s cycles, while using symbols similar to the ancient cultures of North America.
I talked about it with my friend, an artist who – like many creative people on this continent – had been struggling to find an original expression in the seemingly irreconcilable influences in the modern Canadian society. She listened and simply said, “You have arrived.” We both knew that this “arrival” happened twenty years after I actually landed. Some things just take long, very long time… And they are well worth the wait.
Thus the last frame from Colin’s original batch have been sitting in my studio, year after year, standing by patiently. It happens to be my favourite driftwood frame, because it is shaped as a womb that holds a sacred feminine energy. About two years ago, after a substantial gestation period an image of a new work has taken shape, and slowly, very slowly I started to work on the lace. I dedicated the previous winter to fern design, and after that I submerged for almost an entire year to explore the depths of the soil.
Today’s Solstice, marking another zenith of the Sun, is bringing me closer to completing the piece. All it needs now is the power of the Father Sun to unite the earth and heaven in a sublime harmony… Humbly, I will follow, working on long summer days, absorbing the life-giving energy, and rearranging it into a radiant lace pattern. Hopefully, with Sun’s blessing, I will be able to carry out the work to live up to the image in my mind’s eye. If it’s successfull, I will share it with you.
Wishing you all wonderfully creative summer!
And equally amazing winter to all lacemakers in Southern Hemisphere, because each season can bring something new if we are attuned…
Happy lacemaking to all!
Posted on December 20, 2021
Celebrating the Sun today… the amazing hot ball that is dashing with a tremendous speed through the vast space, dragging our wobbly planet (with us, the equally wobbly inhabitants) along the way. Provided that the sun will keep supplying all energy for our needs, we have a chance to grow and evolve until we are able to understand and appreciate the true scale of the cosmic miracle.
Let’s enjoy the ride and use the new energy for something good and creative!
Posted on June 20, 2021
Posted on December 21, 2020
Posted on December 14, 2020
Old Wise Tree is one of my oldest patterns. I designed it a long time ago, when I was learning basics of Torchon Lace. I came across a circular pattern that was supposed to be a simple doily, yet I saw more creative potential in it. The fans looked to me like a tree crown, and the ground like a net of twigs. At that time I did not have enough skills to design lace branches and tree trunk, so I decided to braid the threads and see what happens.
To my surprise, the idea worked and produced an interesting result. The perfect geometry of the crown dissolved into naturally shaped branches that braided towards the trunk and continued to disperse into a labyrinth of roots. The piece illustrated the complexity of bobbin lace, which is made with many threads yet creates a light and open weave. It was a good beginner’s piece and I really enjoyed making the lace as well as free form finishing. Every tree turned out to be different and seemed to share its unique wisdom of a long and fruitful life.
To my even bigger surprise, the finished tree pictures became popular and I created many of them.Many years later, when my lace studio branched out into more directions and projects, I decided to offer the Old Tree Pattern as a free download on my first website and invited lacemakers to grow their own lace plants. I don’t know how many trees were made based on that pattern, but I received some lovely responses from lacemakers worldwide — from editors of various lace magazines, a lace club members who featured the trees in their printed calendar, and also from nuns in a convent who used the image on postcards printed for a fundraiser… Those were special encounters and I still remember them, others were lost with all other materials when I closed my Silver Pin Studio and website. Somewhat, the Old Tree working instructions did not completely disappear from the cyber space, and lacemakers were still able to find them. Time went by and the trees kept growing.
Many more years later, one of the students in my New School of Lace found the Old Tree picture online and brought it to the class, asking if we could do something like that. It was a happy reunion. The pattern was re-drafted to accommodate also the new wire medium, and soon after we could show a new mixed forest of cotton, silk, linen, copper and bronze trees – each as unique as the lacemakers who created them.
In the strange year of 2020, the lace school was closed and all live lace events cancelled, and I needed some calm lacemaking time.
I retrieved my old Torchon bobbins, wound them with lovely Barkonie linen threads in an amazing range of browns, and prepared the familiar pattern. It felt so good to be working on the simple Torchon ground again, slowly and mindfully. Spaces between the pins were filled with memories which went back all the way to the first design. If so many impression have been accumulated during mere thirty-five years, how vast is the memory of old trees that are hundreds years or even 1000 years old… and how truly wise they must be!
When the lace was finished, starched and mounted on a canvas, it was time for the root work. I attempted shutting the mind that thinks in patterns in order to work with the threads freely, without planning. It is harder to do than to say, but after a while one taps into a flow and the roots start growing and spreading instinctively. In the creative process, the calmed mind allows access to the unconscious realm that is hidden in the depths, just like the roots are buried deeply in the soil. There, in the darkness of the earth and psyche, lies the secret of life.
It is the beauty of lace, and creative work in general, that it becomes a gateway to such journey that enriches one’s life experience. Therefore, I decided to make the pattern available on my website again. So that any lacemaker who wishes to explore the secrets of trees, can give it a try and experience the creative power of nature.
Free Old Wise Tree pattern with working instructions is coming soon!
Posted on March 26, 2019
Cedar driftwood (designed and made by Colin Hamilton of Thuja Wood Art
Enamelled copper and stainless steel wires
Semi-precious stones and beads:
Bamboo Coral, Clear Quartz Crystal, Hawk’s Eye, Rudraksha Seeds
Technique: handmade bobbin lace – TesseLace pattern
Dimensions in centimetres: h:43 x w:43 x d:5
Dimensions in inches: h:17 x w:18 x d:2
If cold winter months are good for something else than hibernating, it is for lacemaking. Long, dark nights offer quiet time for uninterrupted work and allow sustained focus that reaches almost a state of meditation.
Cocooning in my studio, I was looking for an idea for lace that would fit in one of Colin’s driftwood frames. Dried by sun and fresh air the wood feels so warm, as it is radiating energy collected over many summers. Just like standing cedar trees, the driftwood offers assurance that we, too, will survive yet another winter. Living on the West Coast of Canada for thirty years, I came to understand why cedar has been considered sacred by indigenous people.
An empty red cedar driftwood frame has been standing on the shelf in my studio for more than a year, patiently waiting for lace. Upon invitation, the images kept appearing, but none of them strong enough to stay and prompt me into action. One day, on a walk through fresh snow in Kwomais Point Park, I was amazed by dark lines of underbrush with embellishments of ice and red berries, set starkly against pristine white background. There is a lot of lace to be found in the forest, but rarely in such plain sight.
I started to work on my next offering. Once again, my connection with Veronika Irvine and her TesseLace worked miracles, and I was able to find the right grid and use the Circular Grid Templates for designing the mandala.
It worked so well that the piece was finished before the snow in the forest melted… It became my offering to the season that makes us revere cedar, to the beauty of snow and ice, and to the berries who know how to say ‘fertility’ like no other.
The Offering: Red Berries will be shown in juried exhibition ‘Just Gates’, organized by Arts Council of Surrey, in April 2019.
Copyright©2019. Lenka Suchanek. All rights reserved.
Posted on March 26, 2019
Just in time for spring festivities, the Spring Garden Pattern and Tutorial is here to help you to create original gifts and decorations for all special celebrations that come with the season – from Easter to Mother’s day, from spring weddings to showers for spring babies, from birthdays of the lucky spring-born to spontaneous merrymaking of green-thumbed people… Because all the flowers areblooming and all the birds are singing to remind us that we are taking part in a miracle of life.
The Spring Garden lace can be finished as an egg holder or napkin ring, used as a greeting card insert, framed as a picture, or shaped as fanciful free standing 3-D decoration.
Cheerful grass greens with colourful beads brighten spaces and minds, especially after long winter. It is a wonderful gift that does not take too much time to make, and it is sure to surprise and impress the lucky recipient.
The pattern is easy to learn, and is therefore suitable for lacemakers of all skill levels. The tutorial is very thorough and detailed, with almost forty photos to illustrate the techniques from start to finish. If you bought any of the previous New School of Lace Patterns and Tutorials for Wire Lace, you know that you can expect quality instruction and original ideas. And you can combine the new design with other spring themes – Flower Earrings, Seedlings and Chicken Egg Stand… All available exclusively from my Wire Lace Supplies shop on Etsy.
There is always more room to learn and grow and expand your lace skills.
Happy spring and happy lacemaking!
Posted on September 14, 2018
stainless steel and enamelled copper wires
drift wood, crystal beads
Technique: handmade bobbin lace – free form
Dimensions: 48 x 72 x 5 cm (19 X 28 x 2 in)
Meganeura is an offering to Gaia and her transformative powers.
Meganeura, a dragonfly’s ancestor from the Carboniferous period, symbolizes transformation, survival, and incredible ability of Earth creatures to adapt and evolve with the environment. Watching dragonflies and knowing that their progenitor Meganeura lived 300 milion years ago, always fills me with awe and reverence for this planet and all life it carries.
This offering is a prayer for us, people of this Earth, to listen to Gaia, and learn from her wisdom… before it is too late.
This work is listed for sale in my Way of Lace shop on Etsy.
Copyright©2018. Lenka Suchanek. All rights reserved.
Posted on March 8, 2018
Two new patterns are published, just in time for spring celebrations!
The Snail Pattern & Tutorial (B#004) explores, thoroughly and carefully, Cloth stitch and Whole stitch in wire lace.
The Chicken Egg Stand (PT#11) is popular not only for spring celebrations, but the egg holder can be used as decoration all year around. It is one of those charming little gifts that bring about big smiles. First pattern in new Animal Series.
To find more about these new patterns and to purchase them, please go to WireLaceSupplies shop on Etsy
Posted on December 12, 2017
Join the growing group of lacemakers in Ocean Park in British Columbia (Canada) and see what you can create! Here is a collage of 2017 students’ projects for your inspiration:
Looking forward to the new year filled with lace, fun and friendships!
Feel free to contact me by e-mail at laceaway at gmail dot com or by phone at 778.288.0720 if you need more information or to register for upcoming classes and workshops.