Adventures in Time & Lace – Manca Ahlin


Adventures in Time & Lace

I have been totally blown away this month at Adventures in Time & Lace HQ by the lace artwork of Manca Ahlin. I’m going to try and keep the words short and treat you to lots of images. These works really need to be seen and my descriptions cannot do them justice!

Manca Ahlin - Lace Cube - Lacework Installation
Manca Ahlin – Lace Cube – Lacework Installation – All photos are by the Artist

Manca is a Slovenian artist, currently based in New York, working under the brand name Mantzalin. Her website biography tells us that “MANTZALIN explores the potential of bobbin lace to form three-dimensional shapes and to transcend the domain of a mere decoration to become an independent functional object in space.

Manca Ahlin - The Cosmic Egg - Lacework Installation
Manca Ahlin – The Cosmic Egg – Lacework Installation

Being true to the traditional fabrication method of bobbin lace, Manca works with unconventional materials used in lieu of the thin thread – for various scales different materials are used from metal wire and cable to thick rope. Nature’s organic shapes are the most common inspiration for Manca’s works in which she looks for the primary forms to combine them with the decorative geometric patterns of the lace structure to give lace a new, spatial significance.

Manca Ahlin - The Earth Egg - Lacework Installation
Manca Ahlin – The Earth Egg – Lacework Installation

Manca Ahlin received comprehensive education in handcrafts (everything from crochet and knitting to basket weaving and carpentry) from her grandparents during her Heidi-style childhood in the highlands of Western Slovenia. During entire primary school she was also attending the Lace School in Ziri, which is with its 110 years of operation one of the main centers of lacemaking in the region. She augmented her practical knowledge by studying product design and architecture in Ljubljana and Barcelona.

Manca Ahlin - Corona - Lacework Installation
Manca Ahlin – Corona – Lacework Installation
Manca Ahlin - Corona - Lacework Installation
Manca Ahlin – Corona – Lacework Installation
Manca Ahlin - Firefly - Lacework Installation
Manca Ahlin – Firefly – Lacework Installation
Manca Ahlin - Firefly - Lacework Installation
Manca Ahlin – Firefly – Lacework Installation

Like other lace artists that I’ve featured in previous Adventures, Manca Ahlin is interested in the relationship between architecture and lace. Her lace installation pieces have very deservedly received international acclaim. I just love everything about her work – from the variance in scale, to the three dimensional nature of her work, to the interesting and unconventional materials she uses to create her lace pieces.

Manca Ahlin - Starflower - Lacework Installation
Manca Ahlin – Starflower – Lacework Installation
Manca Ahlin - Starflower - Lacework Installation
Manca Ahlin – Starflower – Lacework Installation
Manca Ahlin - Another Kind of Shoe Lace - Lacework Installation
Manca Ahlin – Another Kind of Shoe Lace – Lacework Installation

I urge you to visit Manca Ahlin’s website as the pieces I have shared with you here are just scratching the surface of her amazing work.

Over to you: what do you think?

Tracey Wright

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.

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