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 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. 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 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.
Like other lace artists that I’ve featured in previous Adventures, 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.
I urge you to visit Ahlin’s website as the pieces I have shared with you here are just scratching the surface of her amazing work. You’ll find more details there about each of the stunning pieces.
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.