This lovely old lady above is one of a small group I saw recently demonstrating the tradition of making lace by hand, as it has been done down the centuries.
I was in Bruges and, it being famous among other things for its tradition of handmade lace, I made a beeline for the Lace museum and gazed in awe at these wonderful works of art.
The fine detail was quite staggering. I then went into the Lace-making demonstration and watched it being done for real. I found it quite mesmerizing; this group of 'little old ladies' sitting over their work, their hands whizzing around at the speed of light, moving numerous bobbins under and over each other, producing the most delicate and intricate work, as if it were second nature to them.
I love lace - not to wear, I hasten to add, as I am not really a 'frilly' person - but to impress into soft clay, as above, in order to reproduce the lace pattern onto the finished piece. It creates a great effect, and is especially appropriate for my pieces as they are mostly influenced by textiles anyway.
And then I drop glaze into the lace imprints to get a border for the quilt-block design on the bowl.
It would be nice to think that the tradition of making lace by hand (and anything else by hand, for that matter!) is kept alive and passed onto the next generations. It would be sad for it to be just something to be seen in a museum.
Speaking of Handmade, I think my little article I contributed to UK Handmade is being published on Thursday this week on their blog - so do have a look and let me know what you think.