Posted on January 16, 2021
The first new moon of the new year has been born in the midst of darkness to mark a new beginning. Days are getting longer in the Northern Hemisphere, which means that the solar system is still in sync, and we are safe to make plans for the months ahead.
With an obvious bias I say: “Let’s make a lot of lace this year!” And I really mean it.
The virtual world that is a part of our present experience is bewitching as it flounders in a perpetual chaos. But the real world, and real everyday life benefits from at least some order. Handmade lace craft inherently contains that harmony. I believe that throughout the centuries, lacemakers were finding tremendous satisfaction in transforming a multitude of loose threads into symmetrical patterns. And today is no different.
In our times of exaggerated efficiency, it may seem useless, or even wasteful and selfish to spend hours at the lacemaking pillow, with no other purpose than to enjoy peaceful, slow, ‘unplugged’ activity. But if you have ever experienced the inner peace achieved through the handwork, and noticed how that tranquility fills the surrounding space and transfers to the lace itself, you know better.
You know that the true purpose and true fulfilment in life comes from within.
To contribute to a good start of the New Lace Year 2021, I am offering a free Old Wise Tree Pattern and Tutorial to all lacemakers who are looking for a new creative project. The pattern is suitable for fibre or wire lace, and it would be great if it inspires lacemakers to work in both mediums.
The comprehensive tutorial includes step-by-step instructions with detailed photographs of the whole work, from preparations to mounting the lace to the background. The Old Wise Tree Gallery is coming soon to showcase the unique lace trees, and you can add yours too, if you wish to share it.
Enjoy, explore and create!
And keep in mind, that the fine balance of this world might as well be in lacemakers’ hands 😉
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!