June Solstice 2021

May the coming season bring much needed healing energy to our wobbly planet 

and lots of creative ideas to all lacemakers!

December Solstice 2020

Story of the Old Wise Tree

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!

 

Offering: Red Berries

 

Frame:
Cedar driftwood (designed and made by Colin Hamilton of  Thuja Wood Art
Lace:
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.

majestic cedar tree in my backyard

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.

NEW: Spring Garden Pattern & Tutorial

Hot off the press: Pattern & Tutorial #13 – Spring Garden

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!

Meganeura


Material:
 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.

New Patterns for Wire Lace

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

New School of Lace 2018 Winter Classes and Workshops Schedule

Winter 2018 Schedule has been posted:  weekly classes and workshops in traditional Bobbin Lace in Fibre, contemporary Bobbin Lace in Wire, Needle Lace Jewellery, Lace Design and more…

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.

 

 

Offering: West Coast Mandala

Frame:
Cedar driftwood (designed and made by Colin Hamilton of  Thuja Wood Art)
Lace:
Enamelled copper and stainless steel wires 

Semi-precious stone cabochons and beads (from centre):
Nephrite (BC jade), Almandine Garnet, Shell, Rose Quartz, Bamboo Coral, Rhodochrosite, Clear Quartz Crystal, Calcite, Blue Tiger’s Eye, Shell, Hematite

 Technique: handmade bobbin lace – free form

Dimensions in centimetres: 64 x 61 x 12 ( 4 cm without stands)
Dimensions in inches: 25 x 24 x 5 (2 inches without stands)

West Coast Mandala is an Offering to the magnificent Pacific Northwest nature.

In harsh climate of the temperate rainforest, human life has never been easy. Ancient people called upon spirit powers to receive guidance and protection. They were taught to live in harmony with the land and the ocean, and respect all plants and animals. This wise, timeless teaching still resonates on the West Coast.

The Offering: West Coast Mandala is presented in a frame made from red cedar driftwood, which carries the spirit of the tree of life, and creates a sacred space for reflection and meditation. In its centre, the mandala holds a cabochon of the B.C. jade, and radiates the energy outwards through the copper wire weave. Inner sacred geometry circle with semi-precious stones, coral and shell beads, represents the earth’s depths. Surrounding three currents symbolize underground, surface and ocean water bodies. Water brings fertility and abundance to the soil and to people, and they present offerings of flowers and fish. Fertile land is encircled by a protective range of the coastal mountains, which merge into the mist of the sky dome. From above, water motion, vegetation growth and people’s lives are governed by the moon cycle. All is connected and therefore in harmony with the timeless wisdom.

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This artwork is now exhibited in Talisman Gallery on Pender Island, BC.

Copyright©2018. Lenka Suchanek. All rights reserved.

Reframed: Lost Art I & II

 

Reframed: Lost Art I
Material: Bronze  wire   Technique: Milanese tape lace
Size: 56 x 56 cm (22 x 22 in)

Reframed: Lost Art II
Material: Bronze  wire   Technique: Concentric continuous lace
Size: 56 x 56 cm (22 x 22 in)

In North America, handmade bobbin lace has been often called “a lost art”. I could not agree, because the lace I have known was very much alive – present, vibrant, breathing and growing. I followed her intricate patterns and looked for materials and forms that could carry the lace forward. In one of my many projects I explored pattern connections between various craft disciplines – wood work, stone carving, tile work and lace work – and set out a testing ground for new connections. Two pieces that remained from the project were put away, and literally, lost in my studio storage.

When I found them this summer I realized how much has changed in the last 10 years. The lace craft as I knew has been almost lost. The gossamer lace weave is getting weaker as the threads are ageing. Traditional schools closed, lace museums activities were reduced, and major international events abandoned because of lack of funds. At the same time, more and more independent artists started to use lace techniques in their work, creating imaginative lace art. As if lace had left the past and entered the future…

I decided to re-frame these two works to reflect the change. I covered painting canvas with silk fabric and cut the centre out to expose black background. As the lace stretches over the opening, it casts shadows, and the illusive pattern is dissipating into the black hole of the passing time. Lace remains, but only very few people can connect it to the history.

Can lace live detached from her own history? Can we?

Only time will tell…

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These artworks are for sale in my WAYofLACE shop on Etsy.