This chapter is concerned with the research of lace-like textiles. Out of the 4 sub heading of Punto in Aria , Suspended shapes, stitching to create holes around shapes, holes as positive shapes, I have chosen Punto in Aria, or Points in the air.
I’ve chosen this form of lace because I’ve really enjoyed my research into Elizabethan dress, particularly the intricate lace collars that almost appear to defy gravity with their amazing construction.
I’m also very attracted to the idea of lace with no background to interfere with the beauty of its construction.
Punto in Aria was a technique in lacemaking that originated in Burano, Italy and it was a breaking away from the constraint of a linen background and a natural progression from Reticello, which was constructed by removing some of the linen threads and then working geometric shapes into the spaces that were left.
Punto in Aria lace allowed the makers to shaped the designs in any direction as the ground threads could be curved and shaped without the restrictions of the warp and weft threads.
I’ve been very surprised at the breadth of subject matter that the 16th century lacemakers used and having done some sketches of some examples I’ve discovered dragons, devils and skulls amongst the flowers and and curved designs.
During my research I looked for contemporary artists who use Punto in Aria in their work and found Olivia Valentine, who works very large scale pieces with a very loose structure. I like her Punto in Aria (Tacoma Narrows), which you can see
Leaving the bobbins attached gives a feeling of weight to the piece, grounding it firmly to the floor, but still retaining the feeling of
fragility. The space she’s hung it in is reflected in the work by way of the geometric structure. This is particularly poignant in the area of the wall where the lace structure echoes the window shapes in the building outside the window.
In Punto in Aria (Powerhouse Window Construction), you can see the painstaking development of her work here(scroll sideways on the first image)
Both these large scale pieces have been created with a bobbin lace construction and not needle lace, but I presume that as it has no background it still qualifies as a Punto in Aria style. Also the origins of bobbin lace have been a lot more difficult for textile historians to ascertain.
I need to make an amendment here as I have noticed from my course notes that Bobin lace is not Punto in Aria as it is not a stitched lace, slightly confusing as the artist refers to her work as Punto in Aria.
I also discovered some amazing works of a very different nature created by
I've followed up my general research on Punto in Aria lace with some in-depth sketch studies of various pieces to help me get to know the structures and also give me some inspiration for the following experimental exercises.
In the above composite I've taken small portions of the chosen designs and lace and sketched out my favourite parts. It's given me a great insight into just how complicated these structures are and yet they are full of very surprising imagery.
The next image is all about a modern interpretation of Punto in Aria, these panels are seen all over France and make wonderful cafe curtains. I really like the beautiful curves and droplets in the design.
The final pic shows a piece of very special cotton lace on the RHS bought for me by my daughter in Burano when she was on a school trip 20 years ago, I believe it's a modern example of Punto in Aria. On the LHS is a piece of linen lace I found at a car boot sale, it has some of the qualities of the designs and construction of the pieces I have been researching.
Sadly, at this time I have not had the opportunity to do some first hand research, but I'm planning a trip to Burano, hopefully before I finish the course as I've really enjoyed researching this area of textiles.