We are delighted that professional lace maker, Louise West, will be joining us as an exhibitor at this year’s LQ&N Fair in Peterborough on Sunday 8th May.
Louise has been making lace since 1992 and very quickly became fascinated in Thomas Lester Bedfordshire lace, the organic and flowing plants interpreted into lace designs. It is this fascination and continuing questioning of ‘what happens if…?’ that drives her designing and teaching today.
After undertaking a BA in Textile Design at the University of Derby, Louise went on to an MA in Art and Design in which she focused on researching and designing from plants and historical lace in collections, and used the research to inform a collection of contemporary 3D sculptural lace. It was during this study that Louise took on a studio for her own designs and commissions, and began running lace workshops in Derby.
Continuing with the ‘What happens if…?’ theme, Louise started producing fine silver jewellery with lace as the surface decoration. Designs that she initially worked in traditional techniques of bobbin lace, in Bucks and Beds, were transformed into wearable hallmarked fine silver jewellery. These pieces continue the ethos of lace being something to make the wearer feel good about themselves, which was one of the main functions of lace historically, along with using it to flaunt wealth. It is this strand of the business that Louise brings to many of the lace events throughout the year, the next being the Makit LQ&N Fair.
While the contemporary lace has its own challenges, Louise’s roots lie with traditional lace and particularly Bedfordshire lace. Since completing the MA, Louise has continued to design in traditional techniques and, last year, launched the first of her designs as individual patterns. The first patterns, Bedfordshire Angels, were designed to commemorate and celebrate friend’s lives.
A year ago Louise moved into a new studio at Friar Gate Studios, Ford St, Derby, where she can teach classes of up to 10 students in warm, modern and completely disabled accessible facilities. Louise says of the move, “It has been an amazing year since moving and continues to get better. Who thought you could still work as a professional lacemaker today?”
Louise is currently featured in the Selected Makers Gallery for Craft and Design magazine annual awards – you can add your vote at www.craftmaker.co.uk/louisewest if you would like to see lace in this prestigious magazine.
More images and information about Louise’s stunning work can be found on her website at www.louisewestlacedesign.co.uk and on social media at:
Be sure to follow Louise for regular updates on lace and events.