Lace not lace

 Lace Not Lace: Contemporary Fiber Art from Lacemaking Techniques. Eds Elena Kanagy-Loux, , Amy Mills, Nancy Neff. Soft cover, 76 pp. ISBN: 978-1-7326224-0-1, 2018, Devon Thein, Hunterdon Art Museum, Openwork Imprint. Purchased from Booktopia, $69.

This book is an academic catalogue of an exhibition of the same name held at the Hunterdon Art Museum in New Jersey. It commences with three short essays, highlighting first the concept of lace as art (Devon Thein), then the work of lacemaker Milča Eremiášová in the context of contemporary Czech lace (Dagmar Beckel-Machyckova). The third essay, “The Carriage of Lost Love”, is a description by the maker of the inspiration and making of this 40 year project, a three-dimensional life-sized work in copper wire using Belgian bobbin lace techniques (Lieve Jerger).

The remainder of the book deals with the artists and each piece in the exhibition. There is an editor’s account of the artist, followed by the artist’s own words describing the motivation and practice of their art work. And what a cast of exhibitors! Without listing them all, here are some familiar names: Jill Nordfors-Clark, Ros Hill, Lauran Sundin, Pierre Fouché, Lenka Suchanek, Jane Atkinson, Maggie Hensel-Brown (Australian).

The works themselves vary from the architectural-scale crocheted Urchins designed by Choi+ Shine for Singapore to pieces with dimensions of just a few inches, and the materials range from traditional white threads to wire and “thread” made from discarded plastic bags. Techniques include bobbin lace, needlelace, crochet – but mostly bobbin lace. A beautiful and inspirational book.