Festival of Lace at Gallery 76 in Concord West NSW was held by the Embroiderer’s Guild of NSW from Jan 30 – March 4 2021. The exhibition honoured the history of lace making and its evolution through time to present day contemporary works. Thanks to the support of City of Canada Bay, the Festival was able to support a public art component coordinated by me together with fellow lace maker Vicki Taylor.
There were three components to the public art element. The first were stencils designed by Vicki and sprayed with temporary line marking paint in the area surrounding the Gallery. The aim for was to interrupt the space and introduce the concept of lace in unexpected places.
The second was titled Circles of Friendship and Exploration. Members of the Australian Lace Guild and friends were invited to contribute to this installation by sending in remnants of handmade lace and samplers, or to create new lace pieces that fit within circular rings. The loose theme of autumn tones was given.
These 48 rings were hung within the trees of Victoria and Queen St in Concord West for the duration of Festival of Lace. It was a more subtle work with a sense of discovery about it.
The lace community is like a circle of friends who encourage each other, share knowledge and experiment. Some circles were created as a collage of contributions, while others were designed for the provided circles.
The overall piece represented the diversity of the lace community and the lace they make. It captured the beauty and diversity in traditional and contemporary lace techniques and design.
Contributors: Mardie Akers, Mary Campbell, Pam Cork, Lindy de Wijn, Annemieke English, Julie Foster, Margaret Hedges, Dawn Howell, Diane Lowther, Isa Hargraves, Elizabeth May, Megan Robinson, Margaret Small, Rosemary Shepherd, Vicki Taylor, Friederike Wiebke.
The final piece titled Some Days Are Diamonds And Some Days Are Circles was a site specific piece created for the facade of Gallery 76. The 3 level metal armature of the gallery entrance provided the perfect location for lace enabling it to be viewed up close from the 2nd and 3rd floors while being a statement piece at the entry that welcomed all to the Festival of Lace Exhibition.
A series of 25 panels were designed for the space, varying from 60cm to 2 metres in length. Several variations in patterns were made including ‘s Gravenmoer and distorted grids. The colours selected complimented the hues of the building and the surrounding landscape.
Each design was sent, with accompanying threads and working notes, to one of 15 lacemakers who contributed to making the lace for the artwork. Large block pillows or foam panels allowed the lace to be made in a continuous strip, being stiffened as it was made.
Once completed the works were returned to Vicki or me to be stitched on to a dowel support. Come installation day the panels were fixed to the armature as per the design specifications. A boom lift was used for this process.
The title of the work reflects the journey taken to complete this large-scale lace installation during a pandemic. Each contribution was completed at the home of the lace maker and the full impact of their individual banner was only truly seen once installed. The project has been a journey in design, creation, modification, and adaption. Many thanks go to the lace makers who contributed and to the Embroiderer’s Guild of NSW and City of Canada Bay for embracing an idea and nurturing its creation.
Contributors: Margaret Abbey, Diane Bishop, Mary Campbell, Pam Cork, Lindy de Wijn, Annemieke English, Margaret Hedges, Dawn Howell, Hillary MacKay, Elizabeth May, Leonie Mc Neill, Megan Robinson. Isa Hargraves, Vicki Taylor, Patsy Thorpe