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.

Beloveds

I do not write too often about  contemporary lacemakers. There 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)

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.

Fiber and Lace Show

 

Organizer: Langley Arts Council
Curator: Sybille Kissling
Artists: Sybille Kissling, Donna Leong, Wendy MacKinnon, Zula, Lenka Suchanek, Marina Szijarto, Pat Wrigley

Please join us for exhibition opening reception, on Thursday, September 20th, 2018, from 7 to 9 pm, at Langley Civic Centre, 20338 65 Ave, Langley, BC.

Upcoming Exhibitions

ARTS 2018

Arts Council of Surrey Annual Juried Art Exhibition of Visual Art
at the Surrey Art Gallery, 13750-88 Ave, Surrey
On Display from June 30 – September 1 with Opening Reception June 29, 7-9pm

Offering: West Coast Mandala will be exhibited in this popular show that highlights Surrey visual artists.


Richmond Maritime Festival

Richmond Maritime Festival at Britannia Shipyards, Richmond, BC 
Saturday & Sunday, July 28-29, 2018, from 10am – 6pm

New School of Lace is returning to this popular festival to demonstrate a historical  connection between fishing nets and lace! We will be set up at Seine Net Loft on the waterfront among many interactive exhibits about innovation and human ingenuity.

This festival is always a lot of fun, so make sure to experience it yourself this year!


Art in Found Spaces: Fiber and Lace Show

Langley Civic Center (Township of Langley City Hall), Langley, BC
Langley Art’s Council’s exhibition curated by a designer and textile artist (and also the New School of Lace student), Sybille Kissling.
September 19 – October 2, 2018.

In this first exhibit dedicated exclusively to lace art, all Metro Vancouver lacemakers get a chance to show their creative lace work. We are very excited to have such great opportunity, and everybody is already working on their entries. Join us to promote modern lace and show the beauty and creative potential of this fine traditional craft! Become a part of BC lace history making!


Lace, Not Lace

Contemporary Fiber Art from Lacemaking Techniques (curated by Devon Thein)
Hunterdon Art Museum, Clinton, New Jersey, USA
September 23, 2018 – January 6, 2019

This unique exhibition will be curated by internationally known lace expert Devon Thein. It will showcase the work of contemporary fibre artists applying bobbin and needle lace techniques to a multitude of fibres and filaments in unlimited colours and textures to interpret their world. This exhibition will explore how lace makers are expanding the traditional boundaries of that art form and creating exciting work that investigates contemporary themes, materials and forms.

The work of more than 20 lace artists from across the United States and around the world will be highlighted in this exhibition, which will introduce bobbin and needle lace as techniques that reach beyond tradition and are now taking their place in contemporary art.

Works Are We Made of Lace? and Large Genoese Scallop will be included in this show.

Are We Made of Lace?

Genoese Scallop Large Necklace

 


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Students’ Work – New School of Lace 2017-18

The New School of Lace school year 2017-2018 just ended and what a year it was!

Lace on and off our pillows had grown, evolved and expanded in many directions, showing that creativity is without boundaries, and handmade lace techniques are exceptionally suited to limitless interpretations. Throughout the last nine months, we have practiced lace skills, learned new techniques and applied them in various projects in fibre as well as wire mediums.

There were fewer one-day workshops, and more weekly classes, which demonstrates that New School of Lace students are dedicated to deeper study of lace techniques and lace design. The results are promising, and well worth sharing.

Students’ Work

Candice Okada completed an ambitious lace art project for her graduation show, Postscript, an exhibition of work by the 2018 graduates of the University of British Columbia’s two-year Master of Fine Arts program at the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery, in Vancouver, BC.

The work, titled “Eva Hesse, I have a present for you:Mind all the little Pricks” (2018) offers a unique look at handmade lace. The artwork consist of two embellished boxes with their sides open to expose the pins that were used in lace construction. The luxurious object with delicate lace pattern thus uncovers a rigorous process of bobbin lacemaking, which relies on support of hundreds of strong steel pins.  This surprising revelation presents both sides of handmade lace – the outside form, pleasing to senses, and the inside framework that engages the mind. The temporary pin structure, exposed to viewers, confirms the laborious nature of lacemaking process. It also delivers a fact usually hidden to the uninitiated – that the fine lace work requires not only patience, attention to detail and nimble fingers, but also a very logical, mathematical mind.

In the title of the work, Candice acknowledges her source of inspiration,  Eva Hesse’s work “Accession II”.   Drawing on her own experience with lacemaking process, Candice transform the idea of a plain industrial box with prickly inside walls into a new entity, with a stronger visual impact as well as deeper meaning. In the unexpected juxtaposition, soft, sweet and and delicate surface of the boxes contrast with the forest of sharp steel pins inside. Open skin reveals bones, offering a powerful experience to all viewers, not just lacemakers whose fingers had been pricked often enough to recall the pain, which inevitably accompanies pleasures of the lacemaking process.

Candice’s original lace artwork, along with her embroidery and bead weaving, attracts attention, triggers curiosity and brings  fresh outlook for the traditional craft techniques.  Quite an achievement for a young artist, who only recently added handmade lace to her textile art vocabulary.

Another up-and-coming lace artist, Urzula, of Zula Jewelry, is exploring bobbin lace applications in jewelry making. Her new line of Fairy Catcher earrings combines a delicate wire lace nets with nature inspired designs, and the Light Shield infuses lace with light in bold wearable art pieces.  Zula had a special opportunity to present her new work in the juried show at SNAG Conference in Portland, Oregon, USA, in May.

Donna Leong finished her Five Meters Club https://lacegazette.com/five-metre-club/ entry in wire lace and her Seedlings and Primrose picture (completed with a lace garden snake) won People’s Choice Award at the BC Lace Getaway 2018 competition “From the Ground Up)

Angela Kikuchi and Donna Leong excelled at the 1st lace|heart|art Challenge, our very own International Online Exhibition of Handmade Bobbin Lace in Colour, winning top prizes in wire lace category. Angela was the only lacemaker among 60 participants from 10 countries, who submitted entries in both fibre and wire lace. Congratulations!

First Prize in Wire Lace – Donna Leong, Canada

Third Prize in Wire Lace – Angela Kikuchi, Canada

Marina Szijarto, a multi-media multi-talented artist, and occasional lacemaking student, traveled to to Spain to participate in Girona Flower Festival. Within a cloister walls she discovered an exposition that combined things she loves – plants, community art installations and lace – and she shared photos with us.  What an inspiration!

All these achievements, along with genuinely positive atmosphere in the classes and workshops, are proving that the New School of Lace is fulfilling its goal of keeping the fine craft of lace alive through creativity.

Good work, everybody!

I look forward to our future lace endeavours that will push boundaries, challenge our skills, inspire our growth and create more lace art.

Have a nice summer, absorb the warmth of the sun and beauty of nature for the future lace inspiration 🙂

Lenka

For a preview of the upcoming lace exhibitions, read the next blog post.

 

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.