The beauty of lace revealed

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By Kirsten Laskey

Classical and folk art, along with history, are intertwined within delicate and elaborate patterns of lace in the “Handmade Lace: From Fine Art to Folk Art” exhibit at Mesa Public Library.

If visitors are looking at the black Spanish mantilla or the 1680 Italian “snow lace” and wonder just how these pieces of art were created, an answer will be provided soon. The New Mexico Enchanted Lacers will host demonstrations on lace-making techniques all day Saturday at the library.

Additionally, Laurie Waters, whose collection is displayed in the exhibit, does provide clues about how people created these works of art. In addition to lace, bobbins, pillows and an array of equipment can be viewed in the exhibit.

Waters explained she accumulated her collection by buying from dealers in Europe, bidding on items on e-Bay and acquiring items from friends. She has been adding to her collection for 40 years.

She explained she decided to do the exhibit at the library because her house is small and the lace collection was taking it over. Waters said the exhibit gave her an opportunity to get the collection out of her house, and she “wanted to do something special for Los Alamos.”

The exhibit is special because not only does Waters offer contemporary lace creations, she also owns lace dating back to the 1500s.

When people look at lace from the past and present, Waters said she hopes they get a sense of “just the beauty of it.”

“The women who did this, they were real smart people,” she added. “I always thought they could be the computer technicians of today.”

Waters explained to make a piece of lace is very complex and technical. “You have to have an intuitive feel for mathematics,” she said.

Waters was introduced to this technical art through her mother. She explained her mother knitted and crocheted. Her mother also collected old magazines such as Petersons and Godeys.

Waters added she saw a lace exhibit at the Minnesota Museum of Art and later catalogued a lace collection for the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.

She has tried her hand at making lace. Waters was the only American to attend the Atelier National du Point d’Alencon in France where she made a 1-inch square piece of needlelace.

The experience, Waters said, “gave me a much better understanding of the needlelace technique.”

The exhibit will run at the library through Aug. 2.