Barbara Berk Designs, LLC

Barbara@BarbaraBerkDesigns.com

P.O. Box 4430, Foster City, CA 94404

© 1991-2019 Barbara Berk Designs, LLC 

All Rights Reserved

TECHNIQUES

Bobbin Lace
The interlacing of one set of elements:
the elements trend in the same direction, interlinking in a specific pattern
Lace Two: Not a Bow
Click the image to view Lace Two
Adapted from Annemarie Seiler-Baldinger, Textiles A Classification of Techniques, Smithsonian Institution Press, 1994

Bobbin Lace has one set of elements that trend in the same direction. Each element is wound on a bobbin, facilitating the use of longer and finer elements. The lace is formed by following a specific pattern placed on a pillow or other surface that permits the insertion of pins where the elements interlink. The pins hold the elements in position – thereby establishing and maintaining the pattern – until the elements are secured by subsequent rows.

 

The schematic shows two pairs of elements and the sequence of interlinkings within and between the pairs that creates the basic stitch: (1) Right over Left within each pair (Twist); (2) Left over Right between

the pairs (Cross); (3) Repetition of 1 and 2 to complete the whole stitch. (4) A series of whole stitches.

 

I make my patterns on graph paper and pin them to a corkboard which rests on an easel. My elements are multiple strands of round wire twisted together.

Watch Barbara making Bobbin Lace
Soumak
The interlacing of two sets of elements:
one vertical and one horizontal; a continuous wire weft wraps around each warp
A schematic of the Soumak weave. The warp is the vertical
wire and the weft is the horizontal wire.
IMG_1101.JPG
Michael's Waves
Click the image to view Michael's Waves

Soumak is an ancient rug weaving technique named for the city (Shemakha) in Azerbaijan in which it originated. It has two sets of elements, one vertical (the warp), one horizontal (the weft). Both of my elements are single strands of round wire: a thin wire weft and a thicker wire for the warp.  The weft wraps around each of the warps in turn. The thicker warp wire provides strength, the thinner weft wire provides the malleability needed to do the tight wrapping that creates a dense weave. The warp is the “skeleton”; the weft is the “skin”. The combination creates a structurally sound form. My warp wires are taped together and held in a vise, creating an open system and leaving my hands free to properly work the weft wire.

Plain Weave
The interlacing of two sets of elements:
one vertical and one horizontal; over one, under one
Plain Weave
18kt gold flat sheet & round wire
Adapted from Arline M. Fisch,
Textile Techniques in Metal class diagrams,
San Diego State University, Fall 1991. Used with permission.

Plain Weave also has two sets of elements, one vertical and one horizontal. My vertical (warp) element is sheet that I cut into strips or wedges.  My horizontal (weft) element is multiple strands of thin wire twisted together. The weft wire crosses over the sheet and then under the sheet, and continues over one warp and under one warp. As the twisted wire weft passes under the sheet, the sheet is pressed down over it, which “locks” the wire in place and adds strength to the piece. I work my Plain Weave off loom: the sheet warp rests on a thick sheet of plastic so as not to mar the metal during weaving.

Click the image to view the
"Double Spiral" Brooch

I weave each piece, and make each ribbon of lace, individually by hand, working flat
and straight. I then curve, loop, twist, interweave and sew my flat “fabric” into a

3-dimensional form. Both the round wire and the metal sheet work harden during the
lace making and weaving processes. They continue to stiffen during the shaping
process, adding to the structural integrity of the finished piece.