Sunday, September 16, 2012

All Things Lace

I just want to thank everyone that regularly leave comments on my blog, it is much appreciated, and I treasure each one of you as a friend.

For the last few years I have been itching to do two things, learning how to make bobbin lace and miniature porcelain dolls, lace I have never made before, dolls, lots of them but in full scale sizes and many years ago, but I still have my kiln and lots of china paint.

Last weekend I went to the Johannesburg Embroidery Guild's bi-annual exhibition, but what blew me away was the room box full of miniature lace and right there and then I decided the time is now. So in the last week every spare moment was spent on researching lace making and all the necessary equipment needed. fortunately for me the Pretoria Lace Guild met yesterday and one of the ladies sells the threads etc, and I had a fun time meeting them and seeing some examples of beautiful handmade lace.

Yesterday afternoon I made myself a lace pillow from a piece of 6mm thick MDF cut in a circle, topped with a piece of styrofoam that I bought cut ready to size from a craft store. I shaped the edges with a knife and sandpaper to give it the dome shape. I glued the styrofoam to the MDF with white wood glue and covered the whole thing top and bottom with a thin layer of batting and then made a removable cover out of cotton. Most lace makers choose a plain colored cotton so that the white thread will show up, I found this wonderful blue fabric with just a bit of a darker flower print, the thought of plain blue was just too boring!

On top of the pillow is very fine Egyptian lace thread, some pins for miniature lace making, they are only 0.45mm thick and 17mm long, a pricker for making holes in your printed paper pattern and a neat little tool for pushing the pins in and take them out again.

One item that I need a lot of is lace bobbins, one isn't too expensive, but you always use them in pairs and you could need anything from 6 pairs for the simplest lace to 50 pairs or more depending on your project and that can get quite pricey. One of my new friends was so kind to lend me a bobbin to copy, so guess what, the rest of the afternoon will be spent in turning my own bobbins, I have plenty of wood and a new lathe that needs trying out.

And on the subject of dolls, I thought I would show you a few photos of an antique reproduction Armand Marseille doll that I made way back in 1995 and dressed in a dress made of antique lace with an overcoat of muslin and lace. I also made her wig and lace bonnet, knitted socks and leather shoes.

Most antique dolls were made of white porcelain with a thin coating of pink china paint added all over the head before the painting of all the facial details, painting the eyebrows etc is done in a few successive firings, the lip and cheek color is also built up in thin layers with each firing.

Isn't the lace just gorgeous?

I am so looking forward to making dolls again, I will be going for mini doll classes from next month on.

Have a great week everybody


otterine said...

How exciting to try new things! :D I get the biggest kick out of knowing you can make your own bobbins! You have such a talent with wood. I look forward to pretty lace and pretty dolls.

Catherine said...

I would LOVE to try to make bobbin lace. Looking at pictures of it in progress has always mystified me. I think... How do they know which one is next to move??? Oooh you are brave.

The doll is lovely!

Daydreamer said...

Oh, Elga!!! What wonderful new projects you are beginning!! The mini doll making is something that fascinates me.... I look forward to seeing your progress! And the reproduction doll you made is GORGEOUS!!!!

Sanschichis said...

Un nouveau projet!!! Je n'arrive pas à suivre!
Et je suis sûre que comme les autres, il va être rapidement et magistralement mené à terme.
Je suis vraiment très admiratives de tous ces projets si bien réalisés . Cela confirme l'impression que j'ai de travailler à la vitesse d'un escargot!!!

Fabiola said...

This doll is lovely. I like her dress.
Kiss Faby

Ilona said...

Wow Elga, so many plans and ideas,I can feel your excitement right here in The Netherlands :D!! This doll you've already made is GORGEOUS!!!!
I also would love to try to make bobbin lace, because everywhere I look around: the most tiny lace isn't to be found by me :(! I like to know WHERE I can find it and unfortunately I don't!
Hugs, Ilona

Dorien Litjes said...

Oh what a big job !! I've made bobbin lace. I like it !! Ohh I would like to meet you !! You're doing things I liked to do but I can not do anymore..please progress!!! And share !!
Hugs Dorien.

John said...

Hi Elga,

You just sound so full of energy and excitement! Your doll is breath-taking...I bet your new, miniature dolls will be, too! Have a great week,


miraclechicken said...

Your doll is beautiful! Making lace sounds exciting---

Fi.P said...

Is there no end to your talents Elga!!

Your doll is just beautiful and the lace she is wearing exquisite. I can't wait to see what you make with your bobbins.

ML Fi xx

Contrastes-Rosa Mª said...

Helga a fantastic doll and a wonderful dress.
Learning bobbin lace will be wonderful to see the dresses of your wrists.
I love the bolillos and wrists and thumbnails, of course, agree on the same taste. Kisses :)

Giac said...

Hello Elga,
It's my pleasure to follow your incredible work my friend. I have always been fascinated by bobbine lace...I've watched several clips on youtube and decided to wait before starting tests...THe doll is lovely. you really have immense talent and I just love everything you really are a Master Craftswoman!
Big hug,

Debora said...

Ha! now there's a lovely challenge. And i can relate cos after a visit to Brugge in Belgium (many many years ago) i just hád to learn it. And let me assure you, it isn't even half as difficult as it might seem at first glance :)) There are basically just two different ways to twist a bobbin pair. It is in the variation and combinations of only those two, that the broad styles in which bobbin lace comes vary.

Knowing you, your skills and your patients you'll master it in no-time i'm sure!!! Have fun

Josje said...

Hi Elga, I remember our conversation about this last summer. Your doll is beautifully made and dressed, but not my thing at all. I look forward to seeing your miniature dolls though!

Just this weekend I came across my lace making materials in the attic, and thought I should give it another go, oh maybe in a few months time or so. ;-) I really like your energetic approach!

Have fun!

Gee said...

what an absolutely lovely doll, and her clothes are gorgeous as well.
Bet your smaller scale dolls will be beautiful too.
Exciting that you are going to learn how to make bobbin lace !
I think I'd go nuts with all those pairs of bobbins to work with, but I admire anyone who pulls it off.
Have fun with it!

niels said...

Here is inspiration for other than standard bobbon lace bobbins

Have fun

Lucy Coles said...

I am excited to hear of your lace making...what fun, please keep us up to date. Also, I hope you enjoy the miniature dolls, they are by far my favorite to dress.

Sandie said...

How exquisite! I adore dolls, and I adore clothing in this style. Why am I not surprised that you are talented in this area as well as in needlework and woodwork? :-) Mini hugs, Sandie