Derby lace maker Louise West, who is based in Connect Derby’s Friar Gate Studios, is one of just two UK lace makers who have worked on a project to create 18 delicate place mats for the Golden Wedding Anniversary of Queen Margarethe II and Prince Henrik of Denmark.
Louise is one of 18 lace makers from across the world who contributed to the project, which was conceived by The Danish Lace Guild (Knipling i Danmark) back in 2014.
Given a flexible brief that only specified the size of the piece and the type of thread to be used, Louise designed a special 12cm wide and 36cm long panel inspired by the Derbyshire countryside, which she passes through every day on her way to Friar Gate Studios.
Using techniques found in traditional Bedfordshire lace which Louise specialises in, the design features wild roses and daisies and is reminiscent of a summer English hedgerow.
The design, which Louise named The English Hedgerow, took over 88 hours to create and complete over four months, with a massive 705 pairs of bobbins used throughout the piece.
Louise’s lace panel, along with the 17 others, were mounted on the left edge of place mats which were also hand stitched, and presented to the Danish Queen and Prince on the occasion of their 50th wedding anniversary last month.
Details of Louise’s design will feature in The Danish Lace Guild’s magazine, Kniplebrevet, in August 2019.
Louise began lacemaking in 1992 at the Women’s Institute College, Denman College in Oxford. She specialises in English Laces and teaches this craft locally and internationally.
She has previously worked on commission using modern digital formats to create the design for the Nottingham Contemporary and was recently involved in a local restoration project at Kedleston Hall, in which she recreated three pieces of 18th century lace in gold threads to be used in the restoration of the building’s state bedroom.
Speaking of her involvement in the royal project, Louise commented:
“This has been such a fantastic opportunity for me not only to practice my craft, but to be able to say that a member of royalty owns a piece of my work is quite impressive too!
“Contemporary lace making is a craft with such a rich UK history and the main lacemaking centres have always centred in and around the East Midlands. It’s great to have been able to capture the essence of our wonderful county within this particular piece, which will be admired in a place as far away as Denmark!
“I hope the Danish Royals enjoyed receiving the gift just as much as I enjoyed making it.”
Louise teaches bobbin lace making in workshops at her studio in Derby and across the country. She was recently named as a finalist in the Trainer of the Year category at the Heritage Crafts Association Awards 2017.
For more information, visit her website at www.louisewestlacedesigns.co.uk