Friday, January 15, 2010
Lace In Translation
Today, I visited "Lace In Translation" which is being exhibited by Philadelphia University until April of this year. Philadelphia University used to be known as "Philadelphia Textile", as it was THE school to which people went if they wanted to learn about the science of fabric. Now, it's offerings have broadened, but they still have a strong emphasis on textile design.
The Quaker Lace Company was an industrial powerhouse of Philadelphia in the Victorian Age and the early 20th century. This company made complex, beautiful lace, available to the middle classes. This company operated in Philadelphia, then moved operations to Maine and other areas, until it finally went out of business in the 1980s.
Work from the Quaker Lace Company inspired this exhibit. Various notable artists were invited to contribute artwork.
I was struck by the fact that lace uses both positive and negative space to make its' statement, and this is evident in the exhibit. Also, the fact that lace, and in fact, all material, is ephemeral, seemed to be emphasized in the way the exhibit was composed. In particular, raffia, which was used exclusively by one artist, is by nature, easily decomposed. But this was also part of the oil drum exhibit, which is in the back yard of the museum. As the oil drum artist explains, (and I paraphrase), something as strong and hard as steel is brought to its knees by rust - which is caused by gentle rains - over and over- destroying the hard steel over time.
I hope you enjoy the photos I took of "Lace in Translation" and if you're in the Philadelphia area, you can visit the exhibit.