Doily Free Zone | Modern Lace

Adventures in Time & Lace
I am really excited to have come across Doily Free Zone.

This is an international movement started by Angharad Rixon, a historian specialising in textile techniques; in particular lace, embroidery and decorative braids, and it aims “to encourage lace making as a form of artistic expression among young creative people and to safeguard and promote this rich textile tradition for future generations… All the lace makers and scholars who present work, research papers and teach workshops at this event are under the age of 40, a decision which is not meant to discriminate but is rather an attempt to focus on the work of a generation which for various reasons is not associated with the major guilds and organizations.”


Doily Free Zone Symposium 2013
Photo Credit: Doily Free Zone


They held their first international symposium in 2013. Entitled ‘Raising The Profile of Lace’ the event encouraged presenters and attendees to contemplate the future of lacemaking. Whilst I would never deny the importance of the older generation of lacemakers passing on lacemaking traditions and their unique skills to the younger generation to preserve the craft, it really excites me that young lace artists and designers are being celebrated and encouraged to look at the future of lacemaking. The symposium featured a number of very inspiring such young lace artists and designers. I’ve picked out just three here, who each take the traditions of lacemaking and use them in very different ways.


Armel Barraud Chien Sur La Colline
Photo Credit: Armel Barraud


Armel Barraud studied art at The School of Applied Arts in Paris. She learned the art of spindle lace in Portugal and became interested in using this unique technique in her art work as a way of preserving the heritage of this traditional craft. She creates beautiful lace drawings in silver and metal threads in a series called ‘The Wall Whispers’. In her portfolio this series is described as “The wall equipped with this thread becomes alive and evolves along the day. The daylight projects shadows made by the metal threads on the wall. What was perceived at first slowly changes along with the day. A story unravels in the daylight, each look at the wall is different and shows a different picture.”


Clizia Ornato - Lo Voglio
Photo Credit: Clizia Ornato


Clizia Ornato is an Italian jewellery designer. I love the way she delicately uses very traditional bobbin lace in silk and combines this with silver filigree to create beautiful, contemporary and luxurious pieces of jewellery. Her collection, titled ‘Lo Voglio’, is stunning. From the Doily Free Zone website “Filigree frames develop flowers in bobbin lace: the silk thread continues and completes the architecture of the silver wire in a continuous game of solid empty spaces and transparencies, sensations of lightness and strength of materials.”


Premsyl Knap
Photo Credit: Premysl Knap


Premsyl Knap makes traditional Czech lace. He studied at the Textile School in Brno, specialising in bobbin lace and embroidery. His work concentrates on understanding and reconstructing traditional patterns of past centuries. He prides himself on precision in his lacemaking and so he should. Look how beautifully precise and crisp it is! And he’s a man, which to me sadly still seems to be a bit of a rarity in the world of lacemaking! If I’m wrong about this, and I do hope I am, please let me know!

The deadline for proposals for Doily Free Zone’s Second International Symposium for Young Lacemakers has just passed. The symposium will take place in Italy in June 2016 and the theme is ‘Inter/Lace Inter/Face’. I can’t wait to find out more about the young lace artist and designers that have been chosen to present at the event.

For more information about Doily Free Zone and all the exceptional designers and artists that participated in the first symposium follow them on Facebook for their latest news and inspiration.

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