My great-grandmother, Cilka Kiralech, belonged to the last generation of bobbin lace makers in Slovakia. She died just days before I was born, and with her and many other of her contemporaries, so did this gorgeous art of weaving.
It’s no wonder. While the supplies and equipment necessary to this craft are simple and few, aside from the mandatory bobbins, pins and a pillow, one needs a tremendous amount of patience. Bobbin lace in made by twisting and crossing thread wound on pairs of bobbins. The virtually infinite number of possible shapes, textures and designs that can be created by these two simple hand movements usually follows an outline drawn on a pricking, or pattern, securely attached to a pillow.
My bobbin lace making skills are far from perfect. With the busy life we lead these days, they might never get to the level of my great-grandmother’s craftsmanship. I am told she would regularly spend eight hours a day sitting behind her pillow, working tirelessly. Imagine!
Still, I keep on working hard whenever I get a chance. While I admire beautiful yard laces and smaller doilies, I found true joy in creating small and simple shapes. Almost two years ago, when thread suddenly wasn’t enough to satisfy my need for a Christmas ornament that would keep its shape, I dove into experimenting with wire instead. It never ceases to amaze me what gorgeous effects – when done right – wire on bobbins can create. And even though I still like to use natural fibre from time to time, wire has become my primary medium.
My dream and hope is to get to a point of technical and artistic skill when I can proudly offer wearable art, or jewelry, made by using traditional techniques of bobbin lace making mixed with a much less traditional sterling silver wire.
And to track my progress and creative growth, I decided to keep this online journal.
It is dedicated to the memory of Cilka Kiralech, and welcomes each and every admirer of the art of bobbin lace making, of which she was a master.