Louise West – Derby based lace maker.

Louise West, who is based at Connect Derby’s Friar Gate Studios, received a bursary from respected industry body Artists Newsletter to attend the 66th annual International Organization of Lace, Inc. Convention which took place in Spokane, Washington.

At the seven-day event, Louise learned about lace beyond her own wheelhouse – attending workshops about binche, a Belgian style of lace, taught by Japanese expert Kumiko Nakazaki.

Artists Network are a membership organisation that award bursaries of up to £5,000 for the professional career development for artists.

Last month, the student become the teacher as Louise attended the 39th Annual Ithaca Lace Day and Convention in New York for the first time to deliver a two-and-a-half-day workshop to attendees and lace enthusiasts on Bedfordshire Lace.

The theme of the event was ‘Fans of Lace’ and saw a variety of workshops being taught on lace-making techniques from countries including Russia, Italy, Belgium, Denmark and England, as well as ones focused towards beginners looking to get into the craft.

Louise’s Bedfordshire Lace workshop demonstrated a selection of motifs from her book ‘Bedfordshire Lace Designs’, which was published in 2017. Her demonstration also featured a number of new, never before seen motifs based on English wildflowers, which were specially designed for this visit.

Louise has more than 25 years’ experience in making, designing and teaching traditional and contemporary lace, and has exhibited and published internationally.

She has recently moving into the world of ready-to-work digital lace patterns with the use of a crowd-funded high-tech laser cutter – the innovation of which has seen her win two high profile UK business awards.

Speaking of her recent trips to the US, Louise said:

“It was great to be able to deliver my workshop at Ithaca Lace Day. I ran the two-and-a-half-day workshop for twelve lovely ladies, hopefully inspiring them to get even more involved in Bedfordshire Lace in all its beauty.”

Ann Bhatti, head of Connect Derby, added:

“Louise is an incredibly talented lace maker and businesswoman and we’re thrilled to see her continuing to gain exposure for her hard work. She adds something really special to Friar Gate Studios and we can’t wait to see what she has in store for everyone in 2020.”