Lace:Here:Now – Ask the Expert: Dr Amanda Briggs-Goode
“Lace:here:now aims to brings together the cultural heritage of lace and the ways it is being reused to create contemporary design. The season of events aims to both educate and inspire many more.” Dr Amanda Briggs-Goode.
We were given the chance to put questions to Dr Amanda Briggs-Goode, Programme Leader for Textiles at Nottingham Trent University. Read on for more information about the NTU lace archive and highlights of the lace season.
What is your role at Nottingham Trent University’s School of Art and Design?
As programme leader for textile design I am responsible for the management of the programme which comprises of print, embroidery, weave and knit. My specialist area is printed textiles including digital design and print.
How did Lace:Here:Now come about?
Lace Here Now evolved from a series of discussions between myself at Nottingham Trent University’s School of Art & Design and Deborah Dean at Nottingham Castle Museum & Art Gallery through a collaborative PhD project. Through these talks we decided to put on corresponding exhibitions relating to the contemporary reinterpretation of lace through art and design and then invited other venues to see if anyone else would like to be involved. We had an overwhelming response and tried to involve as many venues as possible.
What is the aim of the season?
Despite the industrial decline of lace manufacturing, it has seen a continued resurgence in recent years, not least given a boost by the Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding dress. So it is important to recognise the significance the lace manufacturing industry has had on the heritage of Nottingham and the way that it continues to inspire art and design practice and contemporary culture.
What can people expect when they come to visit Nottingham for The Big Weekend?
The Big Weekend is the highlight in the Lace:here:now calendar. It provides an opportunity to experience a number of the lace season key events over two days in and around Nottingham. The university is offering the opportunity to visit our lace archive, Journeys in Lace – part two exhibition, see the film premier of The Lace Makers: The Forgotten Story of English Lace by Edward Jarvis, and hear historian and lace manufacturer Sheila Mason tell us the fascinating history of one of the countries remaining lace companies.
There will also be a special opportunity to go behind the scenes at Newstead Abbey and view the extensive Nottingham City Museums and Galleries lace collection. The Castle will also be hosting the story of Robert Blincoe by Pete Davis and the Lace Works: Contemporary Art and Nottingham Lace exhibition. There will also be the opportunity to try your hand at Bobbin lace making at the Adams Building in the Lace Market.
What are the highlights of the season for you?
I am very excited by both the historical and contemporary events that are happening all over the city and county as part of the season. For us in the School of Art and Design it has been a great opportunity to take inspiration from our historical lace archive and use it as a starting point for new work by staff and students from textiles, fashion and decorative arts courses.
Our exhibition Journeys in Lace – part two will be displayed as part of the seasons at Bonington Gallery, Nottingham Trent University from 12 November till 14 December . It will also be a good opportunity to open the archive to the wider public for them to see our special lace collection over The Big Weekend.
Tell us a bit about Nottingham Trent University School of Art and Design lace archive?
The collection was acquired by the University and its forerunners over many years through bequests from lace manufacturers and the lace federation it features many significant items, including photographic and design portfolios, sample books of lace and artefacts from the industrialisation of lace making.
What are your stand out items?
The collection is vast and varied and offers a cross section of artefacts that reflect the many processes involved in the manufacturing of lace, so it is difficult to pick out only a few. From a design perspective we have many interesting and significant portfolios bought by Nottingham lace manufacturers at the Great Exhibitions of Europe during the beginning of the twentieth century which contains intricate lace patterns and motifs and has been used as inspiration for lace designers here in Nottingham.
I am also fascinated by the skill and innovation shown in the G.W.Price Memorial Collection (1948). It was assembled for the use of lace students at the school and contains a large number of detailed technical drawings along with corresponding samples reflecting the draught skills needed to produce detailed lace designs. Contained within this collection is the patent documents along with images and samples for a snake skin lace developed by the company to be used on shoes.
Why are you so fascinated by lace?
My preoccupation with lace started when I was involved in a staff drawing exhibition at NTU’s Bonington Gallery (2006). I was given the opportunity to use the lace collection as a starting point and became fascinated with the use of structure and pattern held within it. In 2008 I became responsible for the lace archive and have been involved with it ever since on a variety of levels, including academic research and as inspiration for my own design work. I am also fascinated by the context of lace making and its impact upon the city of Nottingham. It has shaped the architecture and the civic pride it still shows.
Events for the Lace:Here:Now big weekend can be enjoyed on 17-18 November 2012.