Posted on December 20, 2022
Category: Blog Tagged: bobbin lace in wire, contemplation, winter solstice
Posted on December 13, 2022
This year the annual Wire Lace Supplies Christmas Sale started late. And it was all because of the wires! Since the late summer I was having difficulty communicating with the manufacturer, and eventually it turned out they had difficulty with supply chain. After time of uncertainty, I was able to reorder the wire, but on different spools. Which meant that I had to redo all wire listings in my online shop (WireLaceSupplies on Etsy) and furnish them with photographs that show the new product.
After all, I was happy to be able to restock the wires, because to my knowledge there is no better material on the market. And for lacemaking and other textile techniques, wire really has to be the best quality in order to work!
The new stock of wires is wound on spools that hold 175m (574’) wire, 50meters (40%) more than the previous size. You might remember that the metallic colours were wound on those spools already before. And now all colours come in that size, which means that more projects can be finished from one spool.
Price wise, the larger spool costs CA$10.95, $2 more than the small spool. But since the larger spool is priced at a bulk rate, it actually works out to 15% savings per meter. That’s a good news, especially for lacemakers working on large projects.
For now, both sizes are in stock, so if you prefer the smaller spools, it’s time to buy them now. I don’t know whether they will ever return. Each colour now has a separate listing, and you can choose the available spool sizes. I hope this will make browsing and shopping easier and more enjoyable for you.
Also, there are some colour variations between the small and large spools, therefore the best opportunity to expand shading potential of your colour palette. The new wire colours are gorgeous – rich and bright – and so inspiring. Just unpacking and photographing them, I am already excited about all exuberant lace that they will become!
And not just lace, others textile techniques as well. I learn from my Etsy Shop customers that they are using the wires for knitting, crochet, flower making, basket weaving, model building and more… And I am so happy to be able to provide the best material for all those creative projects.
While I still have only limited time for my lace studio, I remain committed to running the WireLaceSupplies online shop. Despite challenges stemming from ever changing rules and requirements of e-commerce, together with rising fees and taxes, my shop is still here and earning the Etsy Star Seller badge month after month! Positive feedback from my customers is my reward, as well as incentive to stay on track and keep the quality of products and customer service at high levels.
Shipping remains the biggest concern. While the post services are reasonably efficient and the delivery time has stabilized, the costs has been rising steadily. Especially within Canada, where fuel surcharge is added to the postage price. Now mailing one spool of wire from BC to Quebec costs almost three times the item value! Ordering more spools at once, perhaps even pooling orders with friends and thus sharing the shipping, would help decrease the overhead and keep the cost more realistic.
To reduce expense for European customers, Lenka’s Bobbins for Wire Lace (Medium and Fine) are now available from the Belgian manufacturer, Jan de Maertelaere bv. Customers in European Union are encouraged to place their orders directly with Jan by by sending email to : firstname.lastname@example.org and therefore save on shipping and taxes.
Talking about savings, the annual Wire Lace Supplies Christmas Sale is on – until December 29th, 2022. Save 20% on all Patterns&Tutorials, and 10% on wires, bobbins, tools and kits!
Have fun browsing the new colours and let them inspire many brilliant future projects.
Wishing happy lacemaking to you all,
Category: Blog Tagged: bobbin lace in wire, Christmas sale, wire lace supplies, wires for lacemaking
Posted on October 10, 2022
Counting blessings on the Thanksgiving Day, there are two worth special mentioning in my lace blog :
Sun and Lace
Summer on Canada’s West Coast was great this year. It started late, but then brought us beautiful weather that extended past the autumnal equinox. I could not have wished for better inspiration for my ongoing lace project.
The lace sculpture, last in the series of Offerings in reclaimed red cedar frames from the workshop of Colin Hamilton, has been at works for a long time. Like all previous Offerings, it is inspired by West Coast nature, and in a culmination of the theme, is dedicated to the divine harmony of the Mother Earth and Father Sun, which bestows and maintains all life on our planet.
Despite not being able to spent much time in my studio in those strange, chaotic times, I managed to slowly progress with the Earth elements of the piece. The rare moments at the lacemaking pillow were deeply grounding and calming. Like a reassuring embrace of Mother Earth, together with nod of understanding from the generations of past lacemakers, who lived through similar experiences, and were able to make magnificent lace despite all obstacles.
When the soil and vegetation parts for the sculpture were finished. time has come to turn to Father Sun. But how does one do that, and is it even possible? As the divine harmony on earth needs both energies equally, there was no way around it. I had set out to find out this summer. Time was not on my side again, but the hours when I was able to take my pillow outside and play were so rewarding. The sun rays were warm and the natural light just amazing for the fine work. While trying to capture the brilliant shimmer in a weave of golden wires I realized that it was harder than I anticipated. I made one sample after another, testing patterns and winding more and more bobbins. It was slow, meticulous work, but I enjoyed every moment of it. What a bright, creative adventure!
Only when the shadows on my pillow started to grow quite long, I found what I was looking for: a simple pattern that carries the light naturally and effortlessly. With the pattern finalized, I have the template for finishing the whole sun in the months to come. And I feel that after the amazing summer I have also enough energy stored in my body and soul to complete the final Offering.
So much to be thankful for!
Category: Blog Tagged: bobbin lace in wire, earth, metal lace sculpture, summer, sun
Posted on July 28, 2022
That ripe, succulent season is here again.
Driving out from Metro Vancouver towards the Cascade Mountains, a popular summer escape route for city people, one gets to pass through a blueberry paradise. On the farms stretching along the highway as far as eyes can see, little bushes in orderly rows are laden with clusters of blue berries. Pop-up sale stands entice the travelers to stop and try many tastes of the bountiful harvest. If you happen to be a blueberry lover, it’s a heavenly time!
After this introduction, it would be hard to pretend that I am not one of them. I love blueberries and enjoy their abundance to the fullest, picking them, eating them, baking with them and preserving them for sustenance through long, wet and cold winters…
This year, curiously, the blueberries made it to my lace work as well. In a surprise commission, I had an opportunity to imagine a happy chicken. I took an inspiration from a touching story of a rescued chicken who, in his new adoptive home, enjoys, and demands, fresh blueberry snacks…
Once I had a design in mind, I set out to find the right beads. I was lucky, because in Preciosa’s range of glass beads there are gems of blue and purple rounds with opaque satin finish that closely resembles blueberry’s delicate bloom.
What a joy it was to make little blueberries and then add them to the stems among green leaf tallies! I savoured the slow work, and while my hands were creating one berry and one leaf at a time, I let my mind to wander and ponder…
The musing took me back to my childhood, to the very beginning of my blueberry passion. Every summer, my family – otherwise culture and sports loving city folks – rekindled their gatherers’ instinct and roamed Western Bohemian countryside in search of sweet berries. The memories of fragrant forests full of singing birds and buzzing insects, dispersed light falling though the tree canopies, and the tangy sweet taste of wild blueberries are so vivid as if it all happened yesterday. Another impression reminded me of a joyous discovery of Canadian native blueberries in the Coastal Mountains, large berries that grow on bushes so tall that harvesting does not require kneeling or crouching. Fast-forward to an unforgettable conversation with a wise woman, First Nation Elder from Northern British Columbia, whom I asked about the regional berries, and her list of nourishing wild edibles was so long that we ran out of time in our precious chance meeting. Yet another thought of witnessing the harvest of farmed blueberries, and the fact that in order to be mechanically collected, they have to be ripe, and therefore healthy, unlike many other commercially produced fruits nowadays.
While the lace bush was growing in my hands, I realized that the blueberry connection, while being very simple, is also deep and profound. In Canada, a country old and young at the same time, people still struggle to find common ground. Yet there it is: simple goodness of a humble blueberry that everybody can agree on – from the aboriginal peoples, through generations of settlers, up to modern day farmers. It has strucked me as rather amazing.
But maybe it’s not, maybe we truly need to simplify things and return back to basics to find the common thread of life, in order to understand and appreciate each other.
Maybe it is that simple – blueberry simple – to live and share, to gratefully accept gifts from nature and pay back with our gifts. To receive and to give, to love and to respect, to learn and to create.
Even if it is nothing more than a little lacy happy chicken…
Category: Blog Tagged: blueberry, bobbin lace in wire, happy chicken, metal lace sculpture
Posted on July 3, 2022
Wild, strong and full of character – that’s how I see the new bobbins from Jan de Maertelaere’s bobbin turning workshop.
Fine Bobbins in amazakoue wood are replacing the original Fine Bobbins in rosewood that are now sold out. Initially, the bobbins were made from Jan’s remaining stock of rosewood at time when tight restrictions were placed on international trade in rosewood due to its endangered status. The embargo is still in place, and the last Fine Bobbins from the original rosewood batch were sold out in Wire Lace Supplies Christmas Sale in 2021.
Looking for replacement, I asked Jan to suggest an alternate dark wood for the Fine Bobbins.
From the provided samples I selected the Amazakoue wood. Also known as Ovangkol, Mozambique or Shedua, Amazakoue is a superior hardwood lumber from Central West Africa. It has a deep yellow ochre/brown colour with contrasting dark streaks running throughout the wood grain. Zebra-like pattern shows well even in the small size of Fine Bobbin. The smooth wood, enhanced by a superb finish which Jan’s bobbins are famous for, has a wonderful touch. This is an important feature for a fine lacemaking tool, and especially for the bobbin that is recommended for palms-up working style. Holding these bobbins is a pleasure and twisting them in palms is an easy task – they move smoothly, swiftly and without a hitch.
And, as a bonus to connoisseur lacemakers, the Amazakoue, as a tone wood, promises a fine music on the lacemaking pillow!
The new Amazakoue Fine Bobbin for Wire Lace is available exclusively in my WireLaceSupplies shop on Etsy.
European lacemakers can purchase the bobbins directly from Jan De Maertelaere in Belgium.
Why Are the Dark Wood Fine Bobbins better for Silver Lace Work?
Pure silver is wonderful to work with and the Fine Bobbins are the perfect tool for a very delicate lace work.
When one project is finished and there are wire leftovers on the bobbins, it is easier to leave them for the next project instead of rewinding them back to a spool. Each manipulation, including the gentle winding and re-winding, affects the wire structure and as a result, its malleability. In the delicate lace work these changes are perceptible: with each handling the silver hardens, becomes a bit more brittle, and therefore slightly more difficult to tension. Leaving wires on the bobbins is a practical solution, but it poses a challenge:
Silver naturally tarnishes over time, especially in humid environment of maritime regions. My studio in Metro Vancouver is close to the seashore and fully exposed to moderate oceanic climate elements. Despite all preventive measures the silver wires tarnishes really quickly in this environment. Tarnish is actually a deposit of silver sulphide on the metal surface, which accumulates over time and eventually creates a black layer. When the tarnish develops on the wire wound on bobbins, the dark sulphide deposit can stain the wood. And it very obviously shows on Fine Bobbins made from light woods, like maple. For the perfectionist kind of a lacemaker (aren’t we all?) the dirty bobbins can be a bit of an eyesore.
The dark wood, such as Amazakoue, is forgiving, and makes it possible to store the silver wire on the bobbins until the next project. When the bobbins are emptied, they can be wiped clean with soft cloth.
The finished lace is easy to clean as well, and because the tarnish does not harm the silver beneath, its original lustre can be fully restored.
There is so much potential in lacemaking with precious metals, and I hope that the Fine Bobbins in amazakoue wood will find their way to serve many creative lacemakers/jewellers!
Category: Blog Tagged: bobbin lace in wire, Lenka's fine bobbins, silver
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!
Category: Blog Tagged: bobbin lace in wire, gold, metal lace sculpture, offering, summer solstice 2022, sun
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!
Category: Blog Tagged: bobbin lace in wire, gold, Lenka's Fine Bobbin, sun
Posted on June 20, 2021
May the coming season bring much needed healing energy to our wobbly planet
and lots of creative ideas to all lacemakers!
Category: Blog Tagged: bobbin lace in wire, circular pattern, gold, plaited lace, semi-precious stones
Posted on December 21, 2020
Category: Blog Tagged: bobbin lace in wire, gold, stainless steel, star
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!
Category: Blog Tagged: Bobbin Lace in Fibre, bobbin lace in wire, handmade lace art, old wise tree