Four Seasons of Old Wise Trees in UK

Old Wise Trees are flourishing in all seasons! 

Catherine Lillie from East Yorkshire, UK, interpreted the theme in four variations, representing the four seasons in UK:

– pink blossom with a hint of green for Spring; 

– variegated green for Summer; 

– autumnal browns and oranges;

– snow topped, bare black branches for Winter; 

What a wonderful idea! And great interpretation of the Old Wise Three theme – each tree represents the season not only by well chosen colours, but also by the shape of the crown and architecture of trunk and branches –  widely branched fertile mother tree in spring time; relaxed, vigorously growing summer tree; burly, portly tree of autumn; and rugged tree, resilient and strong to withstand the winter weather. So complex, yet so simple – four seasons painted with threads and delicate stitches, with lots of skill, love and dedication. 

If you look closely, you can see that Catherine changed the pattern slightly: She substituted plain torchon ground stitch (CT-pin-CT) with Brussels ground (CTCT-pin-CTCT), which produced bolder net with interesting colour shading. It also made transition between the crown and branches a bit more static, showing the firm footside edge, but perhaps due to use of variegated threads, the difference is almost indistinguishable. This reveals and confirms amazing versatility of bobbin lace technique that allows every lacemaker to explore, grow and create original works.

I am happy to see that the Old Wise Tree pattern inspired such ambitious project.

Congratulations, Catherine, well done!

The Free Old Wise Tree Pattern and Tutorial was published on this website on January 16th, 2021.
As of today – March 10th, 2023 –

  • the page has been viewed 8327 times
  • 1630 visitors downloaded the pricking
  • 25 artworks from 5 countries have been submitted to be exhibited in the Old Wise Tree Gallery

A big Thank You to all participating lacemakers!

Maybe there are more lace trees out there? If you created your own, I would like to hear from you. 

All lacemakers who create their original Old Wise Trees based on the free pattern are welcome to submit their lace art to the Old Wise Tree GALLERY!

Please consider reaching out by sending a photo of your tree with following information to this email address:

Your Name + City / Country + Materials used + Pricking size (if different than the original 100%)
+ Optional: Notes (any specific information you would like to add)


Disclaimer: By submitting the photo/s and requested information you agree that your work will be displayed in the Old Wise Tree Gallery hosted on this website.


Happy lacemaking and old wise tree growing,


Old Wise Tree in Galicia, Spain

An Old Wise Tree has grown in Spain. It is so nice to see the first interpretation of the theme from a country with such long and rich lacemaking tradition. Over the centuries, Spanish lace has introduced many original designs featuring bold patterns, colours and textures. Fine craft of lace is still very much alive in the country, and highly skilled Spanish lacemakers are still producing amazing lace works.

Thanks to Lucia Combarro Mouriño, the first Spanish Old Wise Tree comes from Galicia. 
As part of Green Spain region, Galicia is graced by green forests, lush meadows, and fertile farmland. Lucia’s tree reveals its origins beautifully. Combination of cotton threads in earth and olive tones transforms the simple torchon ground into an intricate pattern, and subtle metallic accent enhances the overall impression of freshness and liveliness. This Old Tree looks not only wise, but also very healthy! Just one look below the surface explains its secret: a spectacular root system, robust and vigorous (and very artistic), supports the growth and supplies ample nourishment to the whole plant. What perfect harmony of nature at work!

Congratulation, Lucia, and thank you for sharing your artwork. It is a wonderful addition to our growing forest of Old Wise Trees.

The Free Old Wise Tree Pattern and Tutorial was published on this website on January 16th, 2021.
As of today – March 6th, 2023 –

  • the page has been viewed 8219 times
  • 1612 visitors downloaded the pricking
  • 21 artworks from 5 countries have been submitted to be exhibited in the Old Wise Tree Gallery

A big Thank You to all participating lacemakers!

Maybe there are more lace trees out there? If you created your own, I would like to hear from you. 

All lacemakers who create their original Old Wise Trees based on the free pattern are welcome to submit their lace art to the Old Wise Tree GALLERY!

Please consider reaching out by sending a photo of your tree with following information to this email address:

Your Name + City / Country + Materials used + Pricking size (if different than the original 100%)
+ Optional: Notes (any specific information you would like to add)


Disclaimer: By submitting the photo/s and requested information you agree that your work will be displayed in the Old Wise Tree Gallery hosted on this website.


Happy lacemaking and old wise tree growing,


Old Wise Tree in Virrat, Finland

Another Old Wise Tree has grown! This time in Finland, a country renowned for its stunning nature with forests covering more than seventy-five per cent of the land area. There must be a lot of old wise trees there! 

Thanks to Pia Särkänlahti, we get to see one made in lace. 

And what a wonderful interpretation ot the Old Wise Tree theme it is! With branches and roots made in two colours, the tree looks like two trees entwined, merged together.  Pia adapted the original design to create a unique wedding gift, and her idea worked beautifully: two trees have become one in a loving embrace. The branches met and the connection extended all the way to the roots, joining them in harmony to supply the tree with strength and nourishment for years to come. 

A very special wedding gift, indeed, auspicious and symbolic at the same time. 

And so true to the lacemaking tradition of creating family heirlooms, by hand and with love, for the most important occasion, in the most delicate of textile techniques. 

Congratulation, Pia, and thank you for sharing your artwork!

The Free Old Wise Tree Pattern and Tutorial as published on this website two years ago, on January 16th, 2021. Since then

  • the page has been viewed 7666 times
  • 1523 visitors downloaded the pricking
  • 20 artworks from 4 countries have been submitted to be exhibited in the Old Wise Tree Gallery

A big Thank You to all participating lacemakers!

Maybe there are more lace trees out there? If you created your own, I would like to hear from you. 

All lacemakers who create their original Old Wise Trees based on the free pattern are welcome to submit their lace art to the Old Wise Tree GALLERY!

Please consider reaching out by sending a photo of your tree with following information to this email address:

Your Name + City / Country + Materials used + Pricking size (if different than the original 100%)
+ Optional: Notes (any specific information you would like to add)


Disclaimer: By submitting the photo/s and requested information you agree that your work will be displayed in the Old Wise Tree Gallery hosted on this website.


Happy lacemaking and old wise tree growing,


Spring EQUINOX 2022

Spring is here and all seeds know it. Winter hibernation over, it’s time to grow - not just upwards to light, but also to the depth of darkness, to establish new roots able to extract essential nutrients from the soil. Life on this planet needs both, the light and the darkness. If those two principles are, like on today’s equinox, in balance, the miracle of life is sustained. 
If this simple rule applies to plants that nourish us, humans, how can we be exempt from it? 
In the last two years, we had a plenty of opportunity to see the dark side of existence, and maybe there is more coming. Can we learn from the seeds and explore the shadows instead of giving in to fear? Do we have the strength to face the unknown and extract the valuable lessons in order to preserve the light? These are difficult questions and it might seem that lacemaker’s tool box is not adequate for the immense task on hand. But the history of lace proves otherwise: the pillows, pins and bobbins have been through this many times before, and survived. Our beloved lace, the most delicate of fabrics ever made, is still here today, as a testimony to undying human love, creativity and quest for beauty.  
On this equinox day, let’s reach far deep into history for strength and far ahead to future for motivation and unite both into life sustaining vigour conductive to progress in the present moment.

Keep grounded, keep the equilibrium and keep lacing.

One cross and one twist at a time. 

If wire lace leaf tallies happen to be part of your growth plan this spring,  the Seedlings Pattern and Tutorial  offers some helpful advice 🙂

Happy lacemaking to you all!

Happy New Year and the first New Moon of 2022

Lacemaking, as a craft that has not changed much in the last five hundred years, guards a very special secret: through a subtle mind-body connection, it allows the faithful practitioners to access their inner space, which is the very core of the being.
In today’s world, the outside stimuli are becoming  faster and more intense, constantly drawing one’s attention outwards. It is true for contemporary lacemakers as well, as they can find unlimited information online, and spend a lot of time browsing the patterns and images for guidance and inspiration.
But when it comes to actually making lace by hand - winding bobbins, preparing the pricking and working the stitches one by one - our attention turns away from the outside world, and concentrates solely on the lacemaking process.
In such focus we reach a state of calm and tap into the deep inner reservoir of our innate energy. The whole body aligns and works in harmony with our intention in a rhythmic motion of twists and crosses, periodically anchored by a pin placement. This perfect harmony of body and mind is a state where we are one with the creative energy of the Earth, the Moon, and the whole Cosmos. Whether we notice it or not, it is the reason why we find lacemaking so calming and deeply fulfilling. This experienced equilibrium then empowers us to face the chaos of the world, no matter how crazy it seems, with a certain composure and detachment. 
Ever since I started to teach lacemaking some forty years ago, I had a notion that the value of the fine craft will not be as much in the artefacts created, but rather in the lacemaking process itself. I could not perceive then, of course, how much will the world change in my lifetime, and how much will all those changes imperil the equilibrium of human life. 
I am glad that handmade lace is still here, alive and contributing to the astonishing weave of our world. It is great to know that we, the sole lacemakers of the 21st century, don’t have to do anything more special then to turn off all ‘smart’ gadgets, find a quiet place and make the lace the best way we can. When we lose ourselves in the meditative process of our delicately beautiful craft, and live in the moment from our inner source, everything else aligns and takes care of itself. It is that simple and we better keep it that way 🙂

Happy lacemaking to all of you, in 2022 and beyond!

Lenka’s Bobbins for Wire Lace – Thirty Years of Evolution (1991-2021)

1991 – First Attempts

From the very beginning of my lacemaking journey, I had a vision that the delicate lace weave would look amazing in metal. I don’t know where that thought came from. My love for lace grew from love for textile techniques, and I never saw bobbin lace made in wire. When I settled in Canada, a land without any lacemaking tradition and open to new ideas, I started to pursue the wire medium in earnest. It felt like discovering a completely new field. Little I knew that it will become a lifelong adventure.

The search for wires in fine gauges was successful, because at that time copper was still used in electronics. Limited colours did not bother me at all, as I was at first exploring the wire lace texture and its sculptural possibility. Finding the right tools was much more difficult. There were no special bobbins for wire lace on the market. Some suppliers were selling bobbins for work with metallic threads, which I tried, but ithey were not a good match for wire. After the first trials it became obvious that while the traditional bobbins could be used, they were far from ideal for wire work. 

Wooden Bobbin for Metallic Thread
Metal Bobbin for Metallic Thread

Compared to thread, wire is strong and willful, and doesn’t obey as readily as fibre. Despite its strength, wire can break easily when it is pulled or bent, so even a simple function of a hitch for securing and releasing the thread causes a problem. I quickly realized that for any serious wire work, I will have to accept the material limitations and cater to its needs. Designing a special bobbin was the first step.

1992 – First Prototypes

I imagined a smaller, lighter bobbin with a clever solution for securing the wire. I made the first prototypes from a polymer clay and baked in my kitchen oven. The bobbins were fragile and did not last long, but at least allowed me to test sizes and shapes and get the feel of them in my hands.

In the next step, I looked at adapting traditional bobbins that were close in size. I experimented with Danish mini-bobbins and Mini Cub Midland Bobbins. I added a small screw eye to the top to test if it solves the problem of securing the wire on the bobbin. The eye was pried open just enough to allow a single wire to pass through. The wire held securely in the loop, and did not unwind, but there was a drawback – to release more wire during work, it had to be unhooked, unwound and fixed in the screw eye again, which was time consuming. Despite this inconvenience, the bobbins were usable and quite handy for small projects requiring only small amount of threads.

Through this experimental stage, I was actually working on my first wire lace projects, and I had a lot of fun. Regardless the technical difficulties, I enjoyed working with wire and I liked the strength and pliability of the finished lace. Seeing a big potential of the new medium in bobbin lace, I was encouraged to continue improving the bobbin design.

Workbench in my old Silver Pin Studio

It became apparent that the bobbin functionality would be much enhanced if the screw eye was positioned on side of the bobbin, instead on top. Because the bobbin neck was too narrow for the screw, I used a thick wire and wrapped it around the neck to form a loop. The result was good and the side hook worked much better for releasing the wire. Unfortunately, the method of attaching the loops was awkward and labour-intensive. Maybe I should explain here, that none of my designing efforts would come to fruition without steadfast support of my husband, who not only provided feedback to my ideas, but would often helped with their execution. I appreciated that I could always rely on his resourcefulness, so when he started to get tired of wrapping the loops on many bobbins, I knew that I must find a better way. 

Many prototypes of wire lace bobbins, designed and tested from 1992 to 1995

1995 – First Small Bobbin Design

A special wire lace bobbin designed from scratch was inevitable. I envisioned a bobbin with a thick neck for the screw eye and a dome-like head above. In addition, a hole drilled at the lower part of the neck would serve for anchoring the wire and preventing it from unwinding. Wire thus attached could be worked until the last few centimetres, which in case of precious metals meant considerable cost-cutting.

With the bobbin design all thought out and finalized, the production should be easy, I thought. But searching for the bobbin maker in a city with no lacemaking tradition was much harder that I  anticipated. After many tests and trials, I was lucky to find a local wood turner, Jay Bowdish of Richmond, BC, who was capable and willing to make the bobbins. 

My original small bobbins for wire lace – handmade by Jay Bowdish in Richmond, BC, Canada

I liked working with those cute hand turned bobbins. Over years, they have become to feel like extensions of my fingers. I used them for creating many works in copper, bronze, steel, fine silver and gold.

Original wire lace bobbins with steel wire

Original wire lace bobbins with copperl wire

Original wire lace bobbins with bronze wire

The original wire lace bobbins served well for many years, not only in my own work, but also in hands of many wire lace students in Vancouver, BC, and numerous workshop participants in Canada, USA, Australia, UK and Spain. After the Silver Pin Studio closed, and production of the original wire lace bobbin ceased, the design was reproduced and sold by other bobbin makers.

Some bobbins with screw eyes can be still found today: Bobbins made by John Beswick in Australia are available in Raincity Lace Supplies shop , bobbins made by Simon Toustou in Canada from Provo Lace Shop and bobbins turned by Laura De Bruyn in Tasmania, Australia, directly from her website Laura’s Lace Supplies

Bobbins made by John Beswick in Australia

Bobbins made by Simon Toustou, Canada

Bobbins made by Laura De Bruyn, Tasmania, Australia

2007 – Spanish Bobbin

My wire lace projects were growing in size and complexity and a need emerged for a bigger bobbin that would hold more wire. I discovered traditional Spanish bobbins and I added a pack of them to my tool box. They were not very refined, but that was not a huge obstacle, because wire is not as fussy as thread. I used those boxwood bobbins mostly for gimps and for thicker wires.

Original small bobbins with Spanish bobbins used for making Chantilly lace jewellery

2015 – Spanish Bobbin Modification

As I grew used to working with the bobbins from Spain, I tried to adapt them like the previous bobbins, but the bobbin head was too narrow for shielding the attachment. Consequently, the exposed side hooks were catching wires of nearby bobbins. Untangling the bundles was a tedious job that was wearing the wires, and my patience, thin.

I contemplated other options – if the screw eye wouldn’t work, what else could be used? Turning the bobbins in my hand and ideas in my head, I zoomed in on a typical feature of the traditional Spanish bobbin – its shallow head groove. I imagined that a snugly fitting elastic might hold the wire without damaging its surface. But will the grip be strong enough to allow steady work flow?  After many tests, I found elastics in the right size with optimal strength.  And there is was, a modified Spanish bobbin that worked like a charm! The rubber ring held the wire in place gently but firmly and released it, when necessary, with one simple maneuver, just like a hitch on fibre. This was a huge improvement and I knew that I have invented a tool that will open wire lace field to many more lacemakers.

Spanish bobbin modified for wire lace – two variations

Modified Spanish bobbin used for point ground lace in enamelled copper

Modified Spanish bobbin, copper wire with beaded gimp

This important milestone couldn’t had come at a better time.  I was returning to lace teaching and needed bobbins for my students. The adapted medium bobbin was so easy to use, that I did not hesitate recommending it even to complete beginners. Soon after, I was able to incorporate wire lace instruction in the New School of Lace curriculum.

August 2015 – Lenka’s Fine Bobbin from Jan de Maertelaere

The students were quickly learning the basics, and I kept designing new patterns. Among the many projects, wearable wire lace art was the most popular, and paved the way to fine lace jewellery. The medium bobbins that worked beautifully until now, would be too big for very delicate lace. And the original small bobbin with the side hook seemed outdated in comparison. It was, after all, twenty years old and belonged in every respect to the past century. 

Based on the positive experience with the elastics, I concieved the design of a new fine bobbin. But remembering my previous troubles with bobbin production I was not sure if I want to go through it all again. 

Luckily, I had a very positive experience at that time with buying traditional fibre bobbins for my school from Jan De Maertelaere, a bobbin lace manufacturer in Belgium. I found his company online, and the logo intrigued me. My first order of torchon bobbins confirmed that the slogan was not just advertising. The bobbins were truly the best I have ever worked with, made with great care and utmost attention to detail. And that was exactly the quality I envisioned for my new project. 

When I approached Jan to ask if he could produce a custom designed bobbin, he was very busy, but agreed to look at it when time allows. That was a great news and I commenced designing the bobbin, using all experience I gathered over the years of making lace jewellery. When the time had come, it was a pleasure to collaborate with Jan and witness his skills and knowledge, as well as his dedication to the bobbin turning craft. I will never forget a comment he made, when – after many back and forth e-mails, video calls, and prototype samples – the bobbin was close to fulfilling all technical aspects on my list. That was all I was able to see then, but Jan said, with a disarming smile: “Do not forget, that each lace bobbin must not be only functional, but also beautiful.” And he worked his magic on a lathe and produced a beautiful bobbin within the constraint of the unusual dimensions. 

Lenka’s Fine Bobbin made by Jan De Maertelaere BV in Belgium

Lenka’s Fine Bobbin became the precision tool required for high-end lacework: slender and light, fitting perfectly into palms of hands; superbly balanced for quick crossing and twisting; silky smooth but hard enough to withstand occasional abuse by wire medium; gracefully tapered for easy sewings. All in all, the Fine Bobbins have fulfilled my lace-perfectionist dreams. Since day one, I have loved to use them and I still cherish every moment of working with them. They allow me to produce the most delicate lace, especially in precious metals.

Lenka’s Fine bobbins used for copper wire lace

Sterling silver lace made with Lenka’s Fine bobbins

Lenka’s Fine bobbins used with gold plated copper wires

2020-21 – Lenka’s Medium Bobbin from Jan de Maertelaere

In the the strange year of cancelled lace classes, workshops and all other lace events, I was grateful for each and every sale in my WireLaceSupplies online shop. Not only because the income was somewhat sustaining my lace studio during the dormant time, but also because I believe that lacemaking can be of tremendous help for people in isolation. The slow, rhythmic work calms the mind and the creative process fills it with purpose, contentment and delight. Total absorption facilitates deep relaxation and brings about overall well-being. And that was exactly what we needed for surviving and thriving in the unpredictable times.

Between my own lacemaking therapy sessions, I was cleaning and organizing my studio. I found many projects that were set aside during the last five years of harmonizing many events of the New School of Lace, maintaining the Wire Lace Supplies shop, producing lace|heart|art challenge competitions, and creating original artworks. In my “FUTURE” folder, there was a sketch of a bobbin with a scribbled title: next Medium Bobbin. I remember drawing it one day as I was lamenting the diminishing quality of Spanish bobbins. The vision of the new bobbin was waiting to emerge from its cocoon, and the time has come to bring it to life.

I contacted Jan de Maertelarere and since he had some free time on his hands as well, we teamed up again to design and produce the new Medium Bobbin for wire lace. It was great to collaborate again, and we both enjoyed the creative process. 

The new Medium Bobbin was born this year, and it brought a ray of sunshine into the dark winter days and pandemic worries. As its Fine predecessor, the Medium bobbin is a highly functional tool, designed and made to serve well for many wire lace projects. And of course, it is beautiful! After all, they are sisters, one big, one small, and they do look very much alike.

Lenka’s new Medium Bobbins are coming soon!
They will be sold exclusively in my WireLaceSupplies shop and in Jan de Maertaleare’s brand new web shop. 

Stay tuned for the launch announcement!

Spooky All Hallows’ Eve 2020

It’s been lonely in my lace studio lately – the only soul that has kept me a company was my dear friend, the Lace Maiden, who has been with me for twenty years and shared many of my lace adventures. When the local health authorities suggested a physically distant Hallowe’en celebration, I did not have to look far for my substitute. To make the best from the situation, I decided to send the Mysterious Maiden to greet the kids and oversee the fair distribution of candies. The masked figurine has a strange presence that never fails to surprise people (and dogs!) … especially on clear autumn night when breeze is gently moving her black veil and the full moon illuminates the silhouette of a creature that could seemingly move between the worlds of the living and the dead… It would be a shame to skip the popular spooky night because of not so popular spooky virus… and it’s never a bad idea to add some lace art to the favourite neighbourhood events 😉 Cheers to a chilling All Hallows Eve!

4th lace|heart|art challenge postponed

Due to the New School of Lace temporary closure, the 4th edition of the lace|heart|art challenge has been postponed.

In previous years, when the school was in full swing, it was possible for the lace|heart|art team to meet and plan, and for Lenka, the main designer, to prepare the lace|heart|art project for lacemakers around the world. Unfortunately, with the disruption of the regular schedule and ensuing changes, we cannot support the development of the next challenge at this time.
We had to accept the decision to postpone the 4th lace|heart|art until things in the NewSchool of Lace, and in the world at large, return to normal.

For time being, the free downloads for all three editions of the lace|heart|art challenge are still available online (1st lace|heart|art challenge 2018, 2nd lace|heart|art challenge 2019, 3rd lace|heart|art challenge 2020). Prickings and working instruction will assist any lacemaker who wishes to work on the heart patterns.
They were designed for anybody who wants to express love and gratitude in a unique and delicate language of handmade bobbin lace. Remember, you can modify them to make them your own!

lace|heart|art team

Are you looking for free heart patterns for bobbin lace?


Heart design has become very popular among artists lately, and lacemakers are no exception. That’s great to see!

What is a better way to say “Thank you!” or
“I love you” then through a unique lace artwork? Special occasions require special presents, and handmade lace can truly deliver the heartfelt message. 

When you dedicate your attention single-mindedly to the task, the positive energy flowing from your heart and mind, through your hands and delicate fingers, is capable of transforming a spool of thread or wire into a very personal artifact. Your spirit will be woven in the lace forever, stored for those who are open to feel it. Even if the person doesn’t know anything about you or handmade bobbin lace, and how long it takes produce a piece of lace (let alone the time needed to master the craft) often they can sense that they are looking at an uncommon work. 

That’s why handmade lace artifacts are kept in museums, private collections and family heirlooms. 

And that is why the rare lacemaking technique, and the skills that come with it, is now becoming really valuable.

If you have been searching for free heart patters for bobbin lace, on this website you will find a collection of prickings for fibre as well as wire mediums. The patterns were created by Lenka Suchanek of the New School of Lace for three editions lace|heart|art international challenge of handmade bobbin lace in colour.  Working instructions and diagrams are included. The patterns can be worked exactly as is shown in the provided samples, or they can be modified and expanded according to your artistic vision. 

Links to free downloads:

(The author would appreciate a credit mention to when you share your lace with recipients or on social media.)

For inspiration on how to work the lace hearts, visit the online exhibitions of hearts from all over the world:

1st lace|heart|art Online Exhibition 2018

2nd lace|heart|art Online Exhibition 2019

3rd lace|heart|art Online Exhibition 2020

Happy ❤️ lacemaking… keep the love and lace alive!


Super Pink Moon Tonight

Everybody is looking for some magic, and the one coming from above never fails…

Pink Moon Pendant in fine and sterling silver, with rhodochrosite moon and rose quartz mist drops. This piece is quite old and I had to dig deep in my archive to find the photo. It brings back some good memories, and also a wish to create another one… will see what the Moon says tonight…

Enjoy the celestial spectacle and then come back for the opening of the 3rd lace|heart|art online exhibition of handmade bobbin lace in colour!