‘the secrets we keep from ourselves…’

2012- 2015

Woven Anti-Form Installation

L 450cm x H 360cm x D 260cm approx. depending on installation

Materials used – Warp; Hand-Dyed Nottingham Leavers Lace trim, off-white dotty lace trim. Both lace trims manufactured by Douglas Gill. Nottingham), garment seams, velvet ribbon, satin bias binding. Weft; vintage and second hand ‘machine-made lace detailed garments’; including ‘St Michaels’ (Marks and Spencer’s) and ‘Golden Charm’ negligée (made in Nottingham), petticoats and artists own vintage high neck day dress (Marks and Spencer 1980’s). Nails, pins.

This new work was commissioned by Nottingham Castle Museum & Art Gallery UK with funding from the Arts Council England through The National Lottery, and is now part of Nottingham City’s Museums and Galleries Art Textile Collection.

‘the secrets we keep from ourselves…’ emerged from research into Nottingham’s historical lace collections and its lace manufacturing industry. Historical pieces which inspired the work included early machine-made lace samples dating 1869-72, early 19th Century lace Jabots and 1920’s lace camisoles made of Nottingham Leavers Lace. While researching into Nottingham’s Lace History I became interested in the photographs of the factory women lace workers, which typically show women sitting close together, touching at shoulders and skirts, head and neck bent over, almost still except from the actions of their arms and fingers, checking and mending flaws in the lace. I was struck by how this activity remained virtually the same over the years, even though the style of the women’s’ clothes changed and see the lace itself as a physical point of connection between generations of women lace workers. The vintage garments used in ‘the secrets we keep from ourselves’ all have large machine-made lace details and were selected and woven together in relation to the ideas developed from my Nottingham lace findings.

 

Finishing and mending room. Nottingham’s Lace Industry. Nottingham City Museums Lace Heritage Collections.

The secrets we keep from ourselves by Lucy Brown. Overview. Installed at Nottingham Caste Museum and Art Gallery, England. Part of ’Lace Works – Contemporary Art & Nottingham Lace’ exhibition. Photographers credit John Hartley 2013

The secrets we keep from ourselves by Lucy Brown. Overview. Installed at Nottingham Caste Museum and Art Gallery, England. Part of ’Lace Works – Contemporary Art & Nottingham Lace’ exhibition. Photographers credit John Hartley 2013

“…. the title of her new work – ‘the secrets we keep from ourselves…’ – also hints at what is hidden and the weaving incorporates vintage lace lingerie. Some of these lace garments are used ‘whole’ and are tangled in to the web of lace ribbon, whilst others are re-woven fragments, which retain just a hint of what they once were. They all appear looped together and suspended in space like trapeze artists caught in mid-flight.”  Deborah Dean. Visual Arts & Exhibitions Manager. Nottingham Castle Museum & Art Gallery. Extract from ‘Lace Works’ Exhibition Guide 2012.

‘the secrets we keep from ourselves…’ was commissioned and made for ’Lace Works – Contemporary Art & Nottingham Lace’ exhibition, Nottingham Castle Museum & Art Gallery, England. 10th November 2012 – 10th February 2013. Other Artists included in ‘Lace Works’ were Joy Buttress, Nicola Donavan, Cal Lane, Teresa Whitfield and Timorous Beasties.

‘Lace Works; Contemporary Art & Nottingham Lace’ was part of ‘Lace: Here: Now’ – a season of lace exhibitions and events that celebrate the heritage of the Nottingham Lace industry and demonstrates that lace still inspires, fascinates and excites. www.laceherenow.co.ukk

In 2013 the book ‘Lace here now’ edited by Amanda Briggs-Goode and Deborah Dean was published by Black dog publishing which explored the 2012/13 season of lace related events in Nottingham. ‘Lace Works’ and ‘the secrets we keep from ourselves…’ are both featured in the publication http://blackdogonline.com/all-books/lace:here:now.html

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