Derby lacemaker takes a piece of England to the US
Derby Lacemaker, Louise West, took a piece of England to the USA recently with two visits across the pond to teach about the intricacies of lacemaking and gain some new knowledge too.
Louise, who is based at Friar Gate Studios, received a bursary from respected industry body Artists Newsletter to attend the 66th Annual International Organization of Lace, Inc convention which took place in Spokane, Washington.
A.N. are an artists' membership organisation that award bursaries of up to £5,000 for the professional career development of artists. Louise received her bursary to attend the seven-day event and learn about lace beyond her own wheelhouse - attending workshops about binche, a Belgium style of lace, taught by Japanese expert Kumiko Nakazaki.
Last month, student became teacher as Louise attended the 39th Annual Ithaca Lace Day and Convention in New York to deliver a two-and-a-half-day workshop to attendees and lace enthusiasts on Bedfordshire Lace.
The theme of this year's event was 'Fans of Lace' - a variety of workshops were taught on lace-making techniques from countries including Russia, Italy, Belgium, Denmark and England, as well as ones focused towards beginners looking to get into the craft.
Louise's Bedfordshire Lace workshop demonstrated a selection of motifs from her book 'Bedfordshire Lace Designs', which was published in 2017.
Her demonstration also featured a number of new, never before seen motifs based on English wildflowers, which were specially designed for this visit.
Louise has more than 25 years' experience in making, designing and teaching traditional and contemporary lace. She has exhibited and published internationally and recently moved into the world of ready-to-work digital lace patterns, using a crowd-funded high-tech laser cutter, which has seen her win two high profile business awards recently.
Speaking of her recent trips to the US, Louise said:
"The IOLI convention was a lot of fun and it was an honour to get the chance to learn so much from experts in the field - something I couldn't have done without the bursary!
"It was great to be able to deliver my workshop at Ithaca Lace Day. I ran the two-and-a-half-day workshop for twelve lovely ladies, hopefully inspiring them to get even more involved in Bedfordshire Lace in all its beauty."
Ann Bhatti, head of Connect Derby, added:
"Louise is an incredibly talented lace maker and businesswoman and we're thrilled to see her continuing to gain exposure for her hard work. She adds something really special to Friar Gate Studios and we can't wait to see what she has in store for everyone in 2020."
Louise started lacemaking in 1992. She went on to complete an MA ADAPT (Art and Design Applied Practice and Theories), at the University of Derby in 2013, majoring in 3D contemporary lace, then set up her own business, which is now based at Friar Gate Studios, the home of the city's creative industries.
In 2017 she published a book of original patterns which has been in high demand worldwide.
Derby Lacemaker Louise West took her talents to the USA