I greatly admire the beauty of fine, hand-made lace and marvel at the skills, patience and perseverance of its makers. I read books on museums' collections and visit lace-themed exhibitions . Recently I've enjoyed spotting and reading about contemporary examples of real lace through to the many lace-inspired artworks and designs rendered in cutout, ceramics and print. I love the delicate beauty of Rob Ryan's papercut work, Cal Lane's metal cutout artworks and Janet Morton's lace trees. Closer to home I love the lace-like designs of the ironwork on the old bridges across the Avon in central Christchurch and Lonnie Hutchinson's cutout building paper work sista7, which is back on display at the Christchurch Art Gallery.
However whenever I try to take my admiration of lace to the next step and try to wear it, lace does not love me back. I always feel like one of the super-prim models from my 1975 Golden Hands Encyclopedia and Ken Oath! tells me I look like I'm heading out to sell Tupperware.
The Powerhouse Museum in Sydney has an extensive lace collection and a Lace Study Centre. They have also launched an International Lace Award for which they define lace as "an openwork structure whose pattern of spaces is as important as the solid areas." The award results should be very interesting given that it "seeks to encourage contemporary design and challenge conventional notions of lace and its application in the areas of fashion, the built environment and digital multimedia." With the exhibition happening in July/August 2011 during the museum’s international design festival Sydney Design 2011, I plan to just hang out in Sydney for a couple more months until all the ball-kicking nonsense is finished with back in NZ.
My absolute favourite lace object has to be the fences pictured above. Lace Fence is made by Dutch Design House Demakersvan. I am always drawn to things that are both gob-smackingly beautiful and functional and for me these certainly fit the bill. Stunning. Fingers crossed there will be some examples of these in the Sydney exhibition.