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The Interpretation of Lace: Margins, Edges, Borders and the Decorative.

Utilising the concepts of ‘edgings’ symbolically to address the broader themes of identity, gender and the feminine within the marginalisation of textile’s in contemporary art. My practice currently aims to address the implications of the production of lace and how the creation of decorative textiles was fundamental to the construction of such objects being identified as women’s work.

Highlighting lace’s principal aspects and associations with social, economic and cultural history, examining the role of decorative textile edgings with the intention to integrate its multifarious themes, it has been my intention to retrieve lace from its recognised functional roles, deconstruct and reassemble their common uses to explore their metaphorical values.

Through my practice I have explored these concepts and established some understanding of the numerous embedded meanings and symbolisms of lace. This inquiry introduces the consideration of the importance of lace’s relationship with the proximity to the body, the interconnection between clothing and objects, the spaces and places it inhabits and the external environment. The ambiguous characteristics of lace has also been recognised in this material’s multiple dualities and is reflected in this practice-led inquiry, giving reference to the revealing and concealing nature of this contradictory and complex fabric, referencing lace as a metaphor for female sexuality and investigating the interplay between veiled and exposed areas of the body.

Discovering this materials correlation with wealth, power and authority and reiterating the high status and social significance of lace, this work takes an interdisciplinary approach representing the objecthood, embedded associations and embodied aspects of textiles within the landscape of material culture. It has been my objective to juxtapose these historical connotations with the ‘decorative’ qualities of textiles and the mediums specific conventions while adopting a minimalist approach.

Through the appropriation of surface patterns and textures found in lace my practice is currently concerned with interpreting the materiality of lace and translating it, utilising my own distinctive visual vocabulary, reflecting on the opulence, extravagance and the economic significance of this material. My aim has been to adopt an abstract sculptural language, thereby creating tensions between the minimalist and anti-minimalist aesthetic inciting a phenomenological experience in the viewer.