The Lacemakers Guild

by Chantal

The Lacemaker's Guild, 2009. Assembled box with glass, vintage lace, hand tinted photograph, and antique locket. 13x10x2cm.

The Lacemakers Guild, 2009. Chantal Powell. Assembled box with glass, vintage lace, hand tinted photograph, & antique locket. 13cm x10cm x2cm.

A thought provoking essay by D.H. Lawrence proposes that it is in a woman’s nature to look for a “pattern” by which they can shape themselves. That they try to adapt themselves to men’s theories/desires of what women should be. Over time men have given us “types” or ideals that include “the chaste and untouched”, “the capable woman”, “the noble woman (pure spouse, devoted mother)” , and “the prostitute”. The tragedy is that once a woman has really lived up to a man’s pattern he despises her for it and pursues another “type”. Likewise a woman may spend years following a man’s “type” and then rage against it if it has become emotionally unsatisfactory, changing dramatically from one type to another.

Detail - Edwardian locket holding a photograph of a woman obscured with lace fragment sprayed with black paint.

Detail - Edwardian locket holding a photograph of a woman obscured with lace fragment sprayed with black paint.

I used fragments of vintage lace from different garments to represent the different extremes of roles that men have constructed for women. “The Virgin” and “The Prostitute” or “The Angel” and “The Devil”. Lace is symbolic of purity and chastity (it has origins with the clergy and connections with royalty and value) however it is also a symbol of sexuality. The lace can be seen as providing a veiling, an obscuring of true self in favour of these fabricated “types”.

The Lacemaker's Guild, 2009.

The Lacemakers Guild, 2009. Chantal Powell