Hi all of you amazing felting and fiber Creatives! My name is Tesi Vaara and I do not work with felt but I really enjoy following this blog and seeing your work and your processes! Ruth Lane asked me to blog about some recent machine lace work I have done, so here goes! I met Ruth in Feb 2017 when we both began a journey with Gail Harker in LaConner, WA. USA. We spent two plus years taking Gail’s Level 3 Art and Design course together. I really admire Ruth’s art work and her journey to express herself through her work.
My maternal grandmother was always working on some type of project. She was a weaver who also did pillow lace and tatting and other fiber work. She had her own “tribe” back in her day that would get together every week. The women in her group were an important part of her life. They were a pretty tight group. When I was young, I would take her hankies that had tatting around the edges around to all our neighbors and sell them for next to nothing.
I recently took a Machine Stitch class from Gail Harker. http://gailcreativestudies.com/. One of the techniques we learned was to make lace using our sewing machines on wash away stabilizer. I was playing with some designs in my sketchbook and remembered that I had a box of my grandma’s lace pieces stored away. I’d never really studied her work before. I had watched her create her work, but she never taught me how to do any of it. I’m not sure that she had the patience for teaching a young child to do such fine work.
It was interesting to study her patterns and figure out if I could mimic them on my sewing machine. I felt a deep connection to her as I studied her work. I have a greater appreciation of her skills now. I don’t know if her patterns were her own design or if she followed someone else’s design.
This first piece is part of a table runner. Back then the threads she used all seemed to be white or off white.
The second photo is my interpretation of her work.
Her second piece is also from a table runner. This is some of her pillow lace work. My grandfather made many of the tools and devices my grandmother used for her work. Lucky her to be married to such an ingenious man! He made several different size pillows that she worked her lace on and I think he even made some of her bobbins. They had beads and trinkets hanging off them. I can still hear them clinking together as she worked. I have fond memories of watching her work on her pillow lace. I had strict orders to never touch anything but sometimes I just had to fondle her bobbins when she wasn’t looking and take a closer look!
The following is my version of her pillow lace work. My first passion is creating art quilts and I had envisioned placing this piece on a fabric background and adding machine stitch in the open areas to mimic the woven look of her piece.
Then the vision of this piece becoming part of a garden gate popped into my head. I had to quickly sketch that idea out for future use. I can make lace flowers, lace leaves, lace stems, lace pebbles!! My very own rabbit hole…
I’m pretty sure my love of lace came from my grandmother. I had designed and crocheted a shawl for an assignment in my Creative Clothing class to create a statement piece to be worn around your neck. A few months after I made the shawl I came across the box filled with my grandma’s work and found a pink shawl wrapped in tissue paper. It was pretty delicate after all these years but I was so amazed at how similar the two were! In 2018 I participated in an exhibit at the Pacific Northwest Quilt and Fiber Arts Museum called “Making It My Own”. https://www.qfamuseum.org/. It was a great honor to be able to exhibit my work next to hers at the museum.
Create passionately and without fear!
Thanks for letting me share. Tesi Vaara