Jean Horne has written two books about using colour in lace, Colour Why Not and
Colour- What Now? In May 1999 Jean gave a talk to Preston lacemakers about colour
and I was truly inspired. This is the only time I've ever been to a talk, then just had to
come home, wind some bobbins, find an empty pillow and try it out myself immediately.
Jean uses many colours in her passives and keeps the workers in a fairly neutral colour for that piece of lace. She gets her colour inspiration from nature, photos of plants, wildlife etc. The reason that Jean started working in colour was to try and make lacemaking attractive to some of the non European communities in South Africa. As well as Africans who do a lot of beadwork, she also mentioned communities from the Indian subcontinent who do brightly coloured embroidery. This set me off thinking, so I came home and made a 'sari' bookmark, inspired by the colours of Indian clothes, using Indian rayon thread and some gold. It needs redoing, as the pricking was too large for the thread size, even having used it double in the passives and I want to try some other colour combinations. I used doubled thread for passives but only single thread for the workers, to lessen the impact of the worker thread colour, and was pleased with the outcome.
The background has a very big influence on the appearance of this work, as can be seen below.
Pricking and images copyright Stephanie Peters
For a second attempt I used Brenda Paternoster's pricking for a "One Hour Bookmark" from the UK Lace Guild magazine, reduced to 60% of original size. The passives are in Indian rayon thread used single, with invisible sewing machine thread for the workers, and Goldfingering, a thicker metallic thread, as gimp.
Pricking copyright Brenda Paternoster, images copyright Stephanie Peters
With these colours the background makes much less difference to the look of the piece. The 'invisible' thread does almost disappear. However it's unpleasant to use as it stretches.