Dear Friends,
Let me share with you something amazing I learned recently!
It is called Vologda Lace – a lacemaking technique which developed over a few centuries and is still alive in Vologda Region of Northern Russia.

Vologda Lace

Vologda Lace

Vologda’s is a very delicate lace with a distinct pattern created by contrasting densely woven lines and airy open background areas.

Floral and animal motives are characteristic for Vologda Lace

Floral and animal motives are characteristic for Vologda Lace

Creating the design for a future piece is a hugely important stage. Once finalised, the design is drawn on a card, which is pinned on a special working pillow. Now a craftswoman decides where it is best to start lacing the piece and the work begins.

To become a professional lacemaker, girls (for it is mostly women’s metier) attend an art school for 4 years, where they learn all aspects of the craft: drawing and design, lacemaking itself, qualities of the various threads, as well as the history of lace.

Traditional Russian Lacemaker at Work

Traditional Russian Lacemaker at Work

While many areas in Russia are recognised for lacemaking, Vologda Lace developed as a distinct brand in the 18th century and soon became known as the best lace not only in Russia but abroad as well. It was valued on par with jewellery, and in the villages around Vologda women proficient in this craft where the main breadwinners in the families.

On a mass scale, the process involves a designer producing the drawings and a team of 15-20 craftswomen working the patterns. The process is very time consuming, and on special pieces – large and intricate – such a team could work for several months.

Hence, the price of Vologda lace was never cheap. Apart from the church and the monarchy, only the rich could afford to commission and buy most luxurious items: shawls, cloaks, cardigans, hats, throws…

Lace Museum in Vologda

Lace Museum in Vologda

But it isn’t all history. The art is alive even today! Though the numbers of the craftswomen reduced significantly, especially after the collapse of the USSR, there are still devoted enthusiast of Vologda Lace. One of them, surprisingly, is an ethnic Korean living in Uzbekistan!

Larisa Ten and Her Creations

Larisa Ten is an artist craftswoman, who is in love with Vologda Lace. She is a trained architect, and as many creative people is talented in many ways.

Having been always interested in fashion, she picked up a few craft-making skills, untill she found Vologda lace. She trained herself in this technique and realised that it was her metier. Since then she kept growing her skills and became a recognised artist lace-maker. This Spring, an exhibition of her works took place at the Uzbekistan State Museum of Arts

Larisa Ten. Vologda Lace Hats. Exhibit from the recent show at the Uzbekistan State Museum of Arts. Tashkent.

Larisa Ten. Vologda Lace Hats. Exhibit from the recent show at the Uzbekistan State Museum of Arts. Tashkent.

To round up this story, let me invite you to buy Larisa’s pieces from the show in my online shop. There, you’ll find Summer hats (very timely!), collars/cuffs and a top.

By becoming a lace connoiseur, you are joining a very exclusive club! 😉

Kate Middleton Wedding Dress in Lace. The Queen in Blue Lace Hat.

By buying Larisa’s work, you are supporting an artist who is devoted to her art, in spite of being unfortunate to live in a country where basic survival is most people’s daily life.

Here is a recommendation coming from my friend: “I own several of Larisa’s pieces. During Summer, I practically live in her hats – very practical, beautiful and exclusive! They are excellent for wear, and they guaranty you the admiration of the onlookers!”

View full range of Larisa’s Lace Garments.

Lace on a Flee Market

Hot from the streets!

A friend of mine sends me an image of lace from Liverpool Street in London. Flee market is quick to react to a trend, as always!
The price for a collar here is £40!!! It is almost twice the price of Larisa’s stylish unique collar. That’s not mentionning that hers is a work of art straight from an exhibition!
Don’t think about it. Buy!

 

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So, digging myself out of an artist’s “block” is a full time job. I seem to be doing that more often than doing the actual art. I find, it helps to get to simple objects and a format and material I know. At least, it takes away a lot of decision-making…

Still Life With Cheese and Wine

Stilton and Port

More of the Same

More of the Same

More Cheese, Anyone?..

The simpler – the better.

Milk Jug and Camelia Again

Milk Jug and Camelia Again

…at some point, one might even find oneself enjoying oneself…

Still life with Camelia by Marina Kim

Milk Jug and Camelia

…then, possibly, one is rather pleased…

Still Life With Jugs And Camelia

Jugs and Camelia

One wants to press on and pin down something elusive starting to emerge on the canvas…

Still Life by Marina Kim

Jugs and Three Grapes

That’s the moment when ideas start coming… Words “simplify, simplify” flatter about one’s head. Minimalism, spaciousness, white…

One leaves the studio late and wants to rush back early the next morning… Of course, the next morning, inevitably, something happens which prevents one from getting to the studio, creating, implementing. Things like chores, visitors, emergencies and so forth, tumble down, followed by another big slab of artist’s “block”.

Then, I finally manage to go to the studio to stare at the wall and try to dig myself from under it again.

I have a dream…

May 1, 2013

I store it all.

And then, there’ll come a time when I sit down on my little island and write my book.

The words will come to me and lay themselves down into lives, emotions, characters, destinies and stories. And spells.

I’ll weave my magic carpet with secret symbols, and hidden messages, with rivers and mountains of energy flowing in and out, consuming a reader, enchanting, changing, transforming….

(Diary entry on February 16, 2010)