Lace Unravelled Symposium Programme

Thursday 15 March 2018
Venue: Wollaton Hall*
Theme: Industry

We will investigate the history of lace, still evident in the built environment, archives and museum collections of Nottingham. We will also invite reflections on the history of lace from other national and international perspectives, and consider how lace has helped to shape a sense of place.

9:30 – Registration (teas, coffee and pastries)

10:00 – Welcome – Ron Inglis, Service Manager Nottingham City Museums & Galleries

10:15 – Keynote: Sheila Mason: Secretary of the former British Leavers Lace Manufacturers’ Association and a director of Cluny Lace Company Limited, a long established, independent, Leavers Lace manufacturer situated on the border of Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire. Sheila is widely acclaimed for her knowledge of the Machine Lace industry and her book Nottingham Lace: 1760s-1950s, has been described as the ‘definitive’ history of the machine lace industry, along with her publication The History of Worshipful Company of Framework Knitters.

11:00 – ‘Lace Unravelled’ by Ann Inscker and Judith Edgar: Judith Edgar is Curator of Lace, Costume and Textiles for Nottingham City Museums and Galleries. Ann Inscker has been with Nottingham City Museums & Galleries since 2000 where she is now the Curator of Archaeology and Industry and cares for the Designated lace machines, artefacts and samples relating to the design, making and manufacturing of Nottingham lace.

Fascinated by the stories that objects can tell us about the past – of people and places, of ingenuity and industry, of fashions and techniques – Judith Edgar and Ann Inscker have worked with mentors from the lace industry to reveal some of the stories hidden within Nottingham Museums’ Designated lace collection.

11:30‘Missing Persons: Lace and Heritage’ by Dr Amanda Briggs-Goode: Course Leader for BA Textile Design at Nottingham Trent University (NTU), UK. As a printed textile designer herself she has worked in the commercial sector. Her academic work has included practice-based research into digital textile design, which she has exhibited internationally. Amanda will discuss NTU’s important Lace Archive, outlining its role and use within the School of Art & Design.

12:00 – ‘Behind the scenes’ presentation of new work by Carol Quarini. Carol is a textile artist and researcher whose contemporary lace is exhibited internationally and held in private collections. She was awarded a PhD in 2015 from UCA Farnham. Her current work is inspired by the renowned Battle of Britain commemorative lace panel and is a continuation of her doctoral research into net curtains and lace panels. Combining handmade lace, digitally printed photographic images and machine lace, she has created contemporary panels that celebrate the original panel and those involved in its production. The project was commissioned by Nottingham Trent University and supported by an award from The Textile Society.

12:30 – ‘Behind the scenes’ tour of Nottingham Industrial Museum with Ian Pilgrim. Ian’s grandfather Fred Pilgrim set up the company Lace Mechanics when the lace industry in Nottingham and Derbyshire was still thriving. Today with a somewhat depleted local customer base, Ian’s specialism to move, repair, set up, source and manufacture parts for the historic locally manufactured lace machines, takes him around the world. He also holds a much-prized stock of bobbins and carriages, often the stumbling block in deciding whether a machine is viable for future use. Ian has worked with the Nottingham City Museums and Galleries on a number of occasions in the past, relocating lace machines in the Nottingham Industrial Museum and the museum stores. Today he is based within part of the Cluny Lace factory in Ilkeston, Derbyshire, where his services ensure that locally produced quality Leavers lace still rolls off the production line to grace our couture houses and high streets.

13:00 – Lunch (this will be provided, please contact us if you have any dietary requirements)

14:00 – Keynote: Anne-Claire Laronde and Sophie Henwood: Anne-Claire Laronde is Director of the Museums of Calais (Centre for Lace and Fashion and Museum of Fine Arts) and Sophie Henwood is Assistant Curator and Head of Collections. The Cité de la dentelle et de la mode (Centre for Lace and Fashion) opened in Calais, France in 2009 in buildings comprising the 19th century Boulart lace factory and a new extension by architects Moatti & Rivière. The Centre presents the social history and manufacturing know-how of Calais lace makers, along with the uses of lace in contemporary fashion and design.

14:45‘What did lace-makers have to sing about?’ by Prof. David Hopkin: a social and cultural historian, working primarily with oral and popular cultural sources: ‘the kind of sources left by people who are otherwise underrepresented in the archive’. He has researched and written about the women who made lace by hand, in the UK, France and Flanders, and the specific repertoire of songs, or ‘tells’ used by lace-makers to regulate their work rate.

Since the time of Shakespeare and Cervantes it has been a commonplace that pillow-lace-makers sang while they worked. Singing seems like a sign of contentment, but lacemaking was also associated with poverty and ill health, so what did lace-makers have to sing about? In this talk, David will explore the dark matters that lace-makers from England, France and Flanders expressed in their songs.

15:15 – Lindsey Bristow: Sales Manager at Swisstulle UK, the world’s largest producer of bobbinet, a woven tulle developed in 1808 by John Heathcoat. Lindsey will talk about the continued relevance of this unique fabric in the 21st century.

15:45 – Beverage Break

16:00 – Panel Discussion – chaired by Ann Inscker

16:30 – End

18:30 – Welcome drinks and canapés at Nottingham Castle, where we will introduce delegates to plans for a new Lace Gallery at the Castle, as part of its £29.4 million redevelopment.

20:00 – End

*Standard parking changes for Wollaton Hall apply, should you wish to park at the venue. Alternatively we will be providing a free bus service picking up from Mount Street Bus Bays outside the Grosvenor Casino in the city centre at 9:00am and dropping back off at Mount Street Bus Bays at 16:45pm. Parking is available at Nottingham Castle for blue badge holders only.

Friday 16 March 2018
Venue: Newstead Abbey*
Theme: Creative Lace

Lace continues to be significant to artists, designers and makers, whether through an interest in the use of lace fabric, reinterpretations of patterns and processes, or its application to smart textiles. We will look at how historical lace has inspired diverse contemporary creative practices.

9:30 – Registration opens (teas, coffee and pastries)

10:00 – Welcome – Deborah Dean, Manager of Visual Arts Collections and Exhibitions, Nottingham City Museums and Galleries

10:15 – Keynote: ‘Expressing the ephemeral’ by Wolfgang Buttress: an award-winning artist who creates multi-sensory artworks that draw inspiration from our evolving relationship with the ‘natural’ world. Wolfgang explores and interprets scientific discoveries, collaborating with architects, landscape architects, scientists and musicians to create human-centered experiences. His work The Hive enjoyed wide acclaim at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew in 2016 following its launch as the UK Pavilion at the Milan Expo in 2015. His sculpture Corona, created in 2017 for the new BioCity building in Nottingham, comprises aluminium extrusions informed by the negative spaces from lace samples; the lighting is linked to 2 NASA satellites which express the real time activity of the sun on the building’s facade.

11:00 – Sara Robertson and Sarah Taylor: Sara is Tutor for Smart Textiles on the MA Textiles Programme at the Royal College of Art and Sarah is Senior Research Fellow at Edinburgh Napier University. They have worked in collaboration since 2014 and more recently have been working with MYB Textiles and Mike Stoane Lighting to develop light emitting lace and a bespoke textile illuminator. Their work can be seen in Unarchived at Bonington Gallery, Nottingham Trent University, curated by Dr Amanda Briggs-Goode (23 February – 29 March 2018).

11:30 – ‘Haute Dentelle, An exhibition about haute couture and lace’ by Sylvie Marot: an independent curator, specialist in fashion heritage, exhibition curator and author. In 2001, she debuted as a curator with the inaugural exhibition Habits de Recherche (Habits of Research) at the Musée d’Art et d’Industrie in Saint-Etienne. In charge of the museum’s textile collections (the world’s 1st collection of ribbons) until 2004, she invigorated the contemporary fashion and Haute Couture acquisition policy. From 2005, she ran the Heritage Department of Marithé+Francois Girbaud and initiated its enhancement.

“Haute Dentelle” Cité de la dentelle et de la mode, Calais, 9 June 2018 – 6 January 2019, offers a unique insight into the contemporary uses by fashion designers of lace woven on Leavers looms. Implicitly, exhibition curator Sylvie Marot weaves a unique dialogue between lace houses and fashion houses, revealing behind these exchanges powerful creative propositions.

12:00 – ‘Behind the scenes’ tours – with Judith Edgar, Curator of Lace, Costume and Textiles Collection, and Tonya Outtram, Lace Unravelled Project Assistant, Nottingham City Museums and Galleries. There will also be an opportunity to view Lace Unveiled, an exhibition of contemporary art by Lucy Brown, Joy Buttress with designer Manolis Papastavrou, Joana Vasconcelos and Shane Waltener, staged throughout the house.

13:00 – Lunch (this will be provided, please contact us if you have any dietary requirements)

14:00 – Keynote: ‘Reimagining Lace: a contemporary response to the transient nature of place’ by Cecilia Heffer, Senior Lecturer in Textiles at the University of Technology, Sydney. Cecilia’s focus is on innovative textile concepts that explore the integration of the handmade with emerging technologies. Her work is represented in both private and public museum collections. Cecilia has been guest curator for the Group Exchange, 2nd Tamworth Textile Triennial (2014-2016), a national exhibition providing an overview of Australian contemporary textile practice. Currently she is a PhD candidate at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, exploring ephemeral material processes in a contemporary lace practice.

‘This presentation will give an overview of Australian lace practice and will present my own contemporary lace enquiry. Over the last decade interdisciplinary engagement with lace as a contemporary design source has opened up a new emerging space for designers to explore unconventional approaches to traditional technologies and materials. Re-imagining Lace explores the making of a textile as a contemporary response to the transient nature of place. How can new notions of traditional embroidered laces known as ‘stitches in the air’ be re-imagined as a modern-day place marker?’

14:45 – Shane Waltener, artist will talk about his two most recent works commissioned for the symposium at Newstead Abbey. At its core Shane’s work is rooted in ideas of ecology and the reuse and recycling of material. His sculptures and installations, often site responsive and performative, draw inspiration from craft traditions, from needlecraft and sugarcraft to weaving processes and techniques, textiles and basketry. The talk, a tour of the commissioned pieces, will be an opportunity for the artist to share an insight into his practice and the particular context leading him to create these new works, to prompt a conversation about them.

Projects and commissions include Score for the Atlantic Wall, Atlantikewall, Raverijde, Oostende, 2016; Bobbin Dances, Cecil Sharp House London and CC de Ververij, Ronse, 2015; Land of Plenty, De Site, Ghent; Panoramic Pathways, Make Believe, Nottingham Castle Museum and Art Gallery, Nottingham; Drawn to motion, woven in space, stitched over time, Siobhan Davies Studios, London, 2012; Knitted and Looped at the Sydney Design Festival 2011; Love Lace, Powerhouse Museum, Sydney.

15:15 – Beverage Break

15:30Janis Jefferies: is an artist, writer and curator and internationally recognised for her curatorial work, publishing and exhibitions of research practice in Europe, Canada, Australia and Eastern Europe. She is one of the original 3 founders of Textile: The Journal of Cloth and Culture in 2002 and with Diana Wood Conroy and Hazel Clark, she edited The Handbook of Textile Culture in 2015. In 2017, her introduction to From Tapestry to Fiber Art: The Lausanne Biennials 1962-1995 was published by Fondation Toms Pauli Lausanne and Skira Editions Milan. She was chief editor for TECHSTYLE Series 2.0: Ariadne’s Thread, Hong Kong: MILL6 Foundation/CHAT and author of Ravelling and Unravelling: Myths of Europe, texts, textiles and political metaphors, for the EU project, Philosophy of Weaving, Nissos Publications in Athens. She exhibited Weaving Europe: Pafos, EU City of Culture at the Othellos-Attikon Cultural Centre, Pafos and Weaving & We, in the 2016 Hangzhou Fiber Art Triennial, China.

Janis will share her reflections on the Lace Unravelled symposium and chair the final panel discussion.

16:30 – End

* Parking at Newstead Abbey will be free for Friday 16 March to those with a Lace Unravelled ticket, alternatively we will be providing a free bus service picking up from Mount Street Bus Bays outside the Grosvenor Casino at 8:45 and dropping back off at Mount Street Bus Bays at 16:45.