On Friday my friend Catherina and I ventured north, up the M6 to Birmingham to visit the exhibition Lost in Lace, held in the large architectural space that is Birmingham's Gas Hall. There was a nagging concern that driving 100 miles to see an exhibition could be a bit of an exhausting waste of a day but we were not disappointed. The work in the exhibition is stunning. Each installation is by a different artist and plays with ideas connected with the holes, spaces, boundaries and structures created by lace. The scale is what impresses first.
Elena Manferdini, Inverted Crystal Cathedral. 2011
On entering the hall, the visitor is greated by a huge inverted cathedral created from wire and crystal, stunning in both its scale and beauty. Around this centre piece are numerous other breath taking works such as the wall of lace created by Annie Bascoul, using traditional Alencon needlelace techniques but on a massive scale
Annie Bascoul, Moucharabieh +Jardin de lit, lit de jardin, 2010
Another favourite piece for me was a whole room filled with a network of black wool, trapping the ghostly dress forms within, sinister and menacing, almost like spider's webs.
Chiharu Shiota, After the Dream, 2011
There was so much to see, all of it interesting and thought provoking, it would be difficult to pick a favourite but I was particularly drawn to the beautifully executed work of Piper Shepard. Inspired by traditional lace patterns she hand cuts fabric, painstakingly removing the negative spaces to create her own lace fabric. For this exhibition she had made large black hanging panels inspired by traditional point de gaze lace held in the collection of the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery.
Piper Shepard, Lacing Space 2011 (detail, work in progress)
This exhibition alone would have been worth the journey but we also enjoyed the accompanying exhibition Concealed and Revealed featuring traditional lace from the Birmingham Museum's collection as well as exploring the lively German Christmas market in Birmingham's city centre. And then purely by chance, whilst grabbing a quick sandwich we bumped into a mutual friend, Ruth Issett which was a lovely surprise. All in all a fabulous day out and I can definitely recommend the exhibition if you get a chance.