Art and Lace

Earlier this year, I made a couple of visits to mima (Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art). For more information about mima click here. I wanted to see two video installations by Jane and Louise Wilson Undead Sun, We Put the World Before You (2016) click here for more information, and separately, I wanted to see paintings by Winifred Nicholson in an exhibition entitled Liberation of Colour. I particularly like Winifred Nicholson’s paintings of flowers in vases and pots, like this one, which is entitled ‘Polyanthus and Cinararia’ :


The exhibition was co-curated by Jovan Nicholson, and it looked at ‘the major periods of the artist’s creativity’, including landscape, still life, portraits and abstraction. I enjoyed the whole show, but the floral pieces remain my favourite. The exhibition has finished now at mima, but it continues to Djanogly Art Gallery, Nottingham, 4 March – 4 June 2017 and Falmouth Art Gallery, 24 June – 16 September 2017.

Part of the pleasure of visiting mima is The Smeltery, the excellent cafe/restaurant on the ground floor. The food there is tasty – and unusual. I discovered that the person behind it is Luke Harding, who ran The Waiting Room in Eaglescliffe where I had previously enjoyed lovely vegetarian food. The food at The Smeltery includes meat.

The Smeltery, mima.JPG

The furniture and furnishings are intriguing and unusual. The floor looks like this:

the floor at the Smeltery, mima.JPG

It was a while before I realised that this must be recycled wood from a gymnasium floor – so inventive!

A number of the chairs had clearly been recycled too.

recycled chair at the Smeltery, mima (3)

Further investigation revealed that before the opening of the cafe in Autumn 2015,an interesting ‘Localism’ project had been run by artist/designer Adam Clarke, which encouraged creation of recycled furniture. Adam Clarke is the initiator of New Boosbeck Industries. This references a local 1930s initiative: ‘a response to unemployment through creativity’. Find out more here:

Other furniture in the restaurant is made by Artisan, a company based in Bosnia. Click here to see more about them.  You can just see one of their beautifully-shaped chairs (with a green seat) from The Smeltery in the photo below.

Chairs and the table at The Smeltery, mima

And as a postscript, the well-stocked museum shop sells fabric patches by Jennie Maizels, which I love! I bought an anchor here and a bird at the Flo-Jo Boutique fabric shop in Bristol (click here for more about that). Click here for Jennie Maizels’ website.  I now have both patches on the back of my denim jacket, where they are joined by a lace butterfly from Burano, Italy.

my denim jacket.JPG

The butterfly was a gift – and a souvenir of an amazing trip. Here is a lace-maker working in one of the lace shops on the island.

lace-maker on Burano, Italy.JPG

And finally, some examples of other examples of the intricate lace products they produce.

lace products on Burano, Italy

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This my ‘Lace’ fabric design. You can find it here.

Lace 2.png

Thank you for reading my blog. Quilt patterns are here, Fabrics are here, Classes are here

Published by Amanda Jane Textiles

I am an artist, designer and maker living in Ramsgate, UK

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