Lenka Suchanek is a Czech, self taught lacemaker and lace designer, specialising in making lace in metal, using fine wires of, for example, copper, bronze and steel.
Lenka states that she finds that the process of making lace by hand is fascinating – flowing with the rhythm of clicking bobbins, letting one’s hands feel a minute tension of the weave, seeing complex shapes and patterns grow in front of the eyes. It is a simple creative process, yet it can lead to a lifetime path of self-discovery.
As I explore the work of lacemakers and lace artists I am seeing a common theme emerging. Lacemaking intrinsically seems to evoke a feeling of a strong link to the long history and traditions of the craft in those who learn it. Lenka is no exception to this. When Lenka makes lace she describes it as spending time with lacemakers of the past. The more I learn the more I understand and appreciate the depth of knowledge, breadth of skill and height of artistic expression of the past lacemakers. With an utmost respect, I am following in their footsteps, carrying on the tradition of transcending time in pursuit of beauty.
I love the way Lenka takes inspiration from the world around her in creating her lace works. She sees the world in terms of lace, seeing patterns everywhere. Seeing the world through lace is perceiving the delicate, the subtle and the beautiful. Motifs representing nature have historically been found in lace patterns but Lenka puts a very modern spin on this idea. This is demonstrated very clearly in Are We Made of Lace? , Lenka’s exhibit in Sydney’s Powerhouse Museum 2011 exhibition, Love Lace.
When I make lace, I am totally at peace and in sync with the inner rhythm. As if there was some deeper meaning in it. Recently, I came across electron microscope images and it felt like finding the missing piece of a puzzle. The images of cell structures looked exactly like lace. Plants, sea plankton, humans … all made from a primordial lace that cannot be seen with unaided eye, but it pervades everything. We live in an awesome lace world. Lenka’s perspective on lacemaking is charming and engaging, she draws you in to her lace world.
Lenka’s work has won numerous lace prizes across Europe and beyond. You can watch her talking more about her lacemaking in an interview here and you can visit her website to see more examples of her work.
Tracey Wright is an NHS Recovery Worker by day & trying to be creative at all other times! Tracey is a member of the Aragon Lacemakers, who work to keep the making of handmade Bedfordshire lace alive by learning & making lace together. Tracey was taught to make handmade bobbin lace at school as a child & has returned to this craft in the past few years. Tracey is interested not only in learning about the history of lacemaking & its vast range of styles & techniques to contribute to preserving this traditional craft, but also in exploring how lacework is being used in art & craft today in new & exciting ways to show it is still fresh & contemporary.