I love lace. I have always loved lace.
This little thing is my first piece of needle lace. I know it is wobbly and lumpen, but it excites me!
You see, I had an idea! Some years ago I go to spend one day with Maire Treanor. She is an expert in Irish Clones crocheted lace. From her I learned that Clones Irish lace was developed during the potato famine as an ingenious way to keep the families alive. Women developed motifs, loosely based on Venetian bobbin lace that could be made in a third of the time with a simple crochet hook and some thread. Lace motifs were particular to families, identifying the individual and their relations as clearly as insignia or monograms. The individual motifs were collected and assembled by the “Netter”, forming singular items from the contributions of a broader community…crowd sourced lace collars and borders.
In recent years I have been investigating women’s textiles and clothing and the cultural freedoms and constraints inherent in them. I continue to investigate male/female power dynamics in clothing, political content of women’s handiwork and the idea of clothing as self-publishing. These interests have led me into learning textile processes and studying new areas of women’s history.
As I continue on in this obsession, I plan to create an installation, tentatively titled Holding it together: women’s lifesaving stories, whose text content will be largely determined by crowd sourcing. I will use the forms and ideas of discontinuous lace to create an installation that features oversized lace motifs connected by a netting of contemporary language, using the techniques of traditional Clones Irish crochet or needle lace, digital machine embroidery and sound.
Stay tuned! Your stories will be a key part of this project.