UK – Looking for lace networks in nature – Gail Baxter

I was delighted to be invited to be one of the artists working on Transparent Boundaries; I hope that my skills and knowledge as a practicing lacemaker will bring an original twist to the work that develops as the project progresses. Reading the background to the Transparent Boundaries project has been fascinating and creating a response to the brief will be an exciting challenge to be undertaken in partnership with our participating group of Elders.

Previous research into the history of lace has made me very aware that its development was heavily influenced by trans-national cultural exchanges and so it seems entirely appropriate that lace should be one of the mediums chosen for this Europe-wide exchange of ideas, skills and experiences.

I should perhaps mention that although I originally trained in classic lace techniques (specialising in bobbin lace) I now have an extremely liberal view of what constitutes lace. Lace can be understood as the material which connects a series of voids and it is these voids which give lace its distinctive identity. Lace forms a porous boundary, a penetrable barrier, which in varying degrees both permits and prevents connections through sight and touch.

One of my favourite forms of lace is the spider’s web:

Wonderful web

This beautiful web is, quite literally, a record of the spider’s movements and as such is an excellent demonstration of the sort of thing we are hoping to achieve through tracking the movements of our group. Hopefully we will be able to use lace to demonstrate the complex web of connections in our Elders lives at the same time as throwing into sharp relief the voids which are formed by the areas they avoid or to which they have no access.