I love trees, they are amazing. Not just beautiful, majestic or useful… I believe they are truly wise. They live long lives and build a complex community with other organisms within their physical environment. There is an immense number of connections in the living sphere formed by the tree trunk, branches and leaves above the ground and a vast root system underground. And everything, from the crow nesting in that tree to the tiniest bacteria in the soil underneath, works together in a perfect synergy.
People who are close to nature can sense that harmony, and I think that’s why trees were considered sacred in many ancient traditions. The myths and legends about wise trees that help human beings had been shared and passed on in every culture.
In our age, the old legends are being confirmed by modern science, and it’s wonderful to see young aspiring scientist dedicating their lives to understanding the dynamics of healthy forests in order to restore the balance that was tipped by blind human activity. Some of the projects are generously shared via interactive websites, being accessible to the anybody connected to internet.
One of my favourite sites to visitis the Crowther Lab at ETH Zürich, Switzerland. Their research revealed that there is more than three trillion trees on Earth. The data suggests that restoration of forested landat a global scale could help capture atmospheric carbon and mitigate climate change. That’s a great news! I like the idea of smart tree planting, because it is simple and practical, can be done with the available resources most of all it can involve communities, including youth from urban areas, and direct their energy and desire to help our planet to where it will make a real difference. Because, after all, it is going to be theirs, and their childrens’ world.
For those of us who already did their share of tree planting and protecting, and kids raising and educating, the Three Trillion Trees on Earth movement can still provide inspiration – perhaps for a unique, creative tree growing in our wonderful lace world.
Looking back through the last five centuries of lace art, the tree motives appeared in lace as soon as the techniques permitted. From the initial simple intepretation in coarse threads the lace trees grew into exceedignly complex and refined forms.
It seems that in the old Italian tradition, the trees, especially the grape vines, appeared as a part of the stories told in skilfully executed fillet, buratto or needle lace techniques. In Flemish and French laces the tree motives were rather rare, being far superseded by flowers and a huge variety of foliage, quintessential for Baroque and Rococo ornamental style. When depicted, the trees were designed in a higly realistic form, with minute details and shadings, which only the finest threads in hands of superbly skilled lacemakers could achieve.
Interestingly, the tree motif took a prominent part in modern lace design of the twentieth century. Perhaps as a reaction to almost complete industrialization of Europe, many lace artists turned to nature for inspiration. It’s been 100 years now, and this trend seems to continue in works of contemporary lace artists. Trees, deeply rooted in mother Earth are symbols of harmonious life, longevity, ancient wisdom and nature-based spirituality. And lace proves again and again to be the most amazing craft allowing each lacemaker, artist and designer to create their own original trees in technique of their choice.
There is one lace tree that is very close to my heart. One of my early designs, the Old Tree, has has been with me throughout my lace career. I planted the seed almost 40 years ago, and watched it to take root, grow, mature and produce many offsprings.
AStory Old Wise Tree is coming soon!
And an Old Wise Tree Free Pattern will follow… I hope that it will inspire a whole new forest of lace trees which will contribute to healthy and beautiful future of our planet.
BOOKS: Alte Spitzen by Marie Schuette publisher: Richard Carl Schmidt & Co., Berlin, 1914 Twentieth-Century Lace by Ernst-Erik Pfannschmidt publisher: Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1975 Elena Holéczyová by Pavol Michalides publisher: Pallas, Bratislava, 1979 Russian Bobbin Lace publisher: Aurora Art Publishers, Leningrad, 1986 Wiener Spitzen by Hartmut Lang publisher: Barbara Fay Verlag, Gammelby, 2008