T HE continued popularity of lace in contemporary design has fuelled a whole new festival celebrating its enduring appeal this year. Lace:here:now is a season of events continuing over the next few weeks at various venues in Nottingham – once famously the heart of the lace manufacturing industry.
It aims to recognise the value of lace and its importance to the identity of the city, celebrating the heritage of Nottingham lace and demonstrating that lace still inspires, fascinates and excites.
Exhibitions are being held at Nottingham Castle, Bonington Gallery and Lakeside Arts Centre, and there will also be lace-making workshops at New College Nottingham, films about Nottingham lace at Broadway Cinema and heritage weekends. Highlights include:
Lace Works: Contemporary Art and Nottingham Lace, Nottingham Castle, November 10 to February 3: Highlights from the Castle's historic lace collection provide the context for six contemporary artists inspired by lace.
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Framework Knitters Museum Special Weekend – The Cradle of the Nottingham Lace Industry, November 10-11: Recreate the early attempts at developing machine made lace and see demonstrations and pattern books.
Journeys in Lace – Part Two, Bonington Gallery, Nottingham Trent University, November 12-December 14: Students from the Textiles, Fashion and Decorative Arts courses at Nottingham Trent University explore the concept and come up with new designs.
1700s to 2012: Cluny Lace and the Nottingham Lace Trade, Bonington Building, Nottingham Trent University, November 17: Cluny Lace is owned and managed by the eighth and ninth generations of the Mason family. Expert Sheila Mason retells their fascinating story.
Lace Behind the Scenes, Newstead Abbey, November 18: View some of Nottingham City Museums and Galleries' extensive lace collections with the curator of costume and textiles.
Lace Angels Workshop, Nottingham Castle, December 1: Family fun as you get to create a special keepsake for Christmas.
Lace and Nature Weekend, Nottingham Contemporary, February 9-10: Tours and trails around the gallery with lace-making demonstrations and workshops.
Meanwhile, November 17 and 18 has been designated the Lace:here:now Big Weekend, with a chance to visit the first public display of a 75,000 item lace archive at Nottingham Trent University.
A must for lace lovers and anyone who wants to trace the city's lace history, it features anonymous letters and stolen lace samples sent from Paris to Nottingham in the 1930s to ensure the city's lace makers could keep up with the most fashionable French designs.
The archive is the largest collection of machine made lace in the country and has fascinating photos and personal documents of Nottingham lace makers through the ages.
During the weekend, there will also be tips on lace making techniques at Nottingham Castle, bobbin making at New College Nottingham and storytelling at the castle – featuring the sad tale of Robert Blincoe, performed by Peter Davies.
The Big Weekend kicks off on Friday, November 16 with a gothic lace party at Nottingham Castle curated by artist Nicola Donovan, where there will be music, metal Morris dancers, and a dressing up box alongside an exhibition of historic lace and contemporary artists.
Organiser Amanda Briggs-Goode, course leader in textile design at Nottingham Trent University, said: "Lace:here:now is all about celebrating Nottingham and the way lace continues to impact on its identity.
"We have put on a wide range of events so we can capture the interests of people whether they are interested in contemporary fashion and textiles, Nottingham's history, lace making or the lace industry in general. We are extremely proud of the way this has all come together and hope that the event shows just how much appetite there still is out there for lace."