Raspberry Lace was an experiment from the beginning. A spool of raspberry-colored anodized copper wire, a crochet hook in 3/0 size, a random skein of perfectly coordinating yarn, and my stitching began.
The thin 24 gauge wire practice doily design showed it was doable but I didn’t like the textile that was produced. I tried a second doily with the same results. They felt too thin, too fragile in my strong, long-fingered hands. The scale they began to exponentially create would lead to a strangely large, flimsy piece of artwork drained of all story I wanted to express.
Choosing a thicker gauge of raspberry wire, 18 gauge this time and combining it with a different pattern, made for a stronger textile from the start. The interconnected rings intrigued me and challenged my skill at translating an antique ring and lace crochet pattern into wire. Fiber stitches snuggle together in a pattern to keep warm. Whereas wire stitches command space with lots of elbow room and often look cluttered and messy when expected to follow a crowded fiber crochet pattern directly.
In The Flow
Adjustments made, I jumped in feeling the fluidity of the wire as it looped over and under my fingers and pulled through yet more loops using the metal hook. The antique interlocking circle pattern completed, I added a juxtaposing graphic, grid-like pattern to the bottom for several rows. Opposite the grid pattern, attached to the large circles, I added a flourishing lace pattern topped with an accent row of the warm raspberry yarn. A few more accent rows of the raspberry cotton fiber within the piece and it felt done.
Juried Exhibition in Hawai’i
This was the fall of 2015. My idea had worked! In my hands lay a wire textile with drape, and stitched as if I had stitched a scarf.
I hung it in a lovely white box frame with a white background to catch the shadowplay through the wire stitches and entered it in the Hawai’i Craftsmen Annual Juried Exhibition. Raspberry Lace became My Island Debut, thank you to the juror Dr. Lowrey Stokes Sims for seeing my beautiful artwork and for accepting it into the show. I placed a high price on it and secretly hoped it wouldn’t sell. It wasn’t ready. I wasn’t ready.
My experiment succeeded but I hadn’t thought about what would happen when it did. What should I create next? More of the same? I was insecure about my framing. Was there a better way to show it off? Or should I move on to different experiments with the colored copper wires?
I did a little of both. Raspberry Lace didn’t sell and I made only one more similar piece before moving on to more 3D sculptural artworks but I was still not ready to part with it. Water drops and Butterfly Rainforests along with art book creations filled my time as did two more house moves and a bit of writing to top it all off.
Raspberry Lace sat in time out, patiently waiting for me to choose the right time, the right event, the right “I-don’t-know-what” to show it the light of day again. I came across my two original flimsy raspberry wire and fiber lace doilies with their yarn accented edging and realized that combining them one on top of the other would work as the perfect flower when connected with a variegated mustardy yarn colored center. The new flower art work I had created wasn’t quite ready yet either.
In the convening years my stitching style had changed a bit and my current pieces have a much more meticulous look to them. Pulling Raspberry Lace from its wrapping in the closet I saw the same small change needed to be done throughout the piece. The same excitement I found in originally creating it took over and I remembered how much I have enjoyed my wire and fiber journey. Bringing it out again reminded me how important my material explorations with metals and fibers is to my well-being.
The final twists made to each stitch, the final flower form made and hung in a coordinating white frame and I now have a fun, bright, asymmetrical set called Raspberry Lace with Flower.
They were always there, hanging out, waiting for me to see what needed to be done. Six years later they are now done. The artwork is ready. I am now ready.