I never knew that the Powerhouse Museum has a Lace Study Centre. Yep. Here's a link to an ABC story about Love Lace.
The museum also hosts the International Lace Awards. 130 lace works from 134 artists from 20 countries. entries from And I was in the room with these international experts. Everyone I met told me where their entry was in the exhibit. When they asked who I was "just a sewer" made me feel in awe of their experience and dedication. I sat in the back row with the Lace Study Centre volunteers and next to the previous curator.
The speakers at the Symposium were all finalists. Unbelievable.
Love Lace Curator, Lindie Ward walked us through 14 pieces within the Lace collection. One piece that you'll find on the PHM website depicts a 1650's women placing her husband's chopped head into a basket. There was a 1930's lace piece that was from an Aeroflot chair that had a star and sickle laced into it. She showed traditional lace pieces showing industrialisation and metal lac using water jet cut steel. During Sydney Design 2011 there is even a bike tour around the CBD looking at lace in building structures - modern and heritage styles.
This lead us to the first speakers from Demarkersvan's owner/designers Joep and Jeroen Verhoeven Netherland. These guys were inspiring with their range of design ideas, collaborative work with other artists and design schools, their approach to funding of the arts and their more than fair work practices at their factory in Bangalore, India. Joep and Jeroen have brought together industrial design and lace embroidery to bring attractive urban design everywhere with lacefence. They were passionate and chilled about their work.
Their Cinderella table consists of 57 pieces of plywood that took over two years to put together. Their company began in 2006 and they have really gone ahead in leaps and bounds. They have used solar panels and created a butterfly light installation that took 2 1/2 years to produce. Their project based work is extensive and they definitely do things in a collaborative and sustainable way.
Helen Pynor is an artist that produces sculptures with human hair. This talk about hair extensions. Her work covered grooming Afro-American hair referring to Susan Bordo's Cassie's hair. She discussed international hair-trading and a UK court case that argued whether hair is dead or alive. Helen then told us a story about someone who had donated their hair and showed the hair plait to us. Then she showed us pictures of her hair sculptures ranging from clothing through to body parts in her more recent works.
At the break I met two of the younger lace award entrants from Canada. They both do other art installations - I was in awe.
We then had a panel discussion about what is lace and it was clear that each speaker was passionate about their work and took the time to articulate what lace was - and there was no talk of doilies. Liz Williamson, Ingrid Morley, Douglas McManus and Diana Brennan are all artists and all deal with lace in their works but were not lace experts. Ingrid's work is an Lorrie installation that has metal lace. Ingrid found lace themes in the countryside. Pelvic CT is one of Douglas's works. Liz's textile work is quiet extensive, beyond what my small mind is aware of.
At lunch I ended up sitting next to the assistant curator and then chatted to Helen Pyno's mum about getting onto Skype.
By this stage I was pooped and definitely out of my depth so I thanked Deborah Vaughn for her hospitality and when I got home I spent a good hour cycling in the afternoon sun thinking about 'what if" with my own work. At this stage I can safely say it's great that we have such designing minds out there that we can draw from.