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Black Chantilly pendants made by Lenka Suchanek

Interview with Lacemaker and Designer Lenka Suchanek

With a lecture and introduction to metal lace coming up at the Surrey Museum on Saturday, April 22nd, we sat down with instructor Lenka Suchanek to learn about this ancient art form.

Lace History

Is there a history of lace in Canada?
When European pioneers arrived, the handmade lace industry in Europe was already declining, giving way to machine made laces. Still, despite this lack of tradition, contemporary Canadian lacemakers regularly represent Canada in all major international lace events and exhibits around the world.

How has it changed over the years?
What started in the European Renaissance as a beautiful experiment blossomed into a specialized fashion industry that is still vibrant and profitable today. Antique lace designs are still used for making lace, not by hundreds of thousands hands anymore, but by automated weaving machines.

Can you tell us five interesting facts about lace?

  1. In the past, lace was made and worn as much by men as women
  2. Children as young as 4-5 years were taught how to make lace
  3. It took years of highly skilled labour to finish a large piece of lace, such as a wedding veil
  4. Gold and silver laces were often burned down to recover the precious metals
  5. First lacemaking machines were predecessors of today's computers

About the Instructor – Lenka Suchanek

What got you into lace?
At first, the shear beauty of the delicate fabric. Then, when I realized how intricately it is constructed, I was caught in the lace web, and have been exploring it ever since.

What is your favorite piece of metal lace and or your favorite needle lace pendant and why?
It is usually the one I am working on, because I really enjoy the designing process. I know that each piece will soon become somebody else's favorite pendant, so I try not to get too attached.

About the Lacemaking Sessions at the Surrey Museum

Can someone not terribly crafty take your needle lace pendant class?
Lacemaking is very delicate, and therefore it attracts people who have a keen attention to detail. Since this introductory needle lace class is very affordable, everybody can take it and find out if needle lace jewellery is their cup of tea.

What can someone expect from your lecture?
Lots of interesting information about lace history, supported by images of exquisite historical portrait paintings, and lots of inspiration that can be drawn from a vast source of knowledge and artistic skill.

Register for Lenka's upcoming April 22 lecture (#4520588) and/or her introduction to Metal Lace (#4520588).

Register Now

Not able to make it? Learn about other Adult Programs offered.