What kind of needle lace do you make, and how long have you been making it?
I've been studying needle lace for about 5 years. I used to make a lot of things in white, now I've moved over to embracing the amazing colour used in Elizabethan embroidery techniques, which include a lot of needle lace stitches.
What kind or kinds of needle lace do you want to learn?
Reticello, puncetto, punto in aria, venetian point, Alencon, Argentan. Every time I visit Normandy I go down to the Lace Museum in Alencon, where they have demonstrations given by a retired lace worker from that region.
Tell us about your other lace related interests.
Elizabethan embroidery is the one I'm really concentrating on now. Mainly because it uses colour and because it considers 3-d within the scope of needlelace. I am very interested in the amazing 3-d motifs that can be created using needle lace, without the addition of wires or cordonnets. I'm currently recreating an Elizabethan swetebag. My progress is very slow as I stop off along the way to make little things that spring from looking so closely at the most incredible floral purse I have ever seen.
I'm left-handed too, what a coincidence! Do you find it difficult to read instructions in needlelace diagrams of stitches? Sometimes I do and have to redraw the whole thing. There's a new book, 'The left-handed embroiderer's companion' by Yvette Stanton that I bought recently at the Royal School of Needlework, have a look at that, it's great (nothing to do with needlelace, though...).
And don't worry about my name, people call me Martina and Maria quite often :-)! Actually, my real name is Leila Marina but I've always been called just Marina.
Are your 3D pieces considered stumpwork? I know that stumpwork can be used to make 3 dimensional figures. Your various roses seem to be detached buttonhole. Is there a sharp distinction? I really don't know anything about dimensional embroidery, although it does interest me. The stitchinfingers network on ning has devotees of Brazilian dimensional and stumpwork. I don't quite understand if your "English" form fits into that continuum. i'm just interested. Human creativity never remains static. People are always thinking up new ways to combine various elements.
Hi Beth, Thanks for your comments, I am indeed quite pleased with the work I do. Especially transmitting the things I know to other people, so the nedlework can survive. I see that you've been to the Alençon Museum, I'd love to go there, too. They used to give classes there, do they still do that or have they stopped?
Yes, I think the advent of digital technology is a big boon to lace study. Otherwise you would have one person looking through a microscope trying to sketch what she thought she saw. Now many people can discuss the same image and lend their insights simultaneously.