Making Lace HISTORY

The historical archives of Grobelàstic S.A. t he importance of heritage preservation by Mercè Colomer Bartrolí Bachelor’s degree in History. University of Barcelona Diploma in Library Science and Documentation. University of Brcelona Photographs: Grobelàstic archives

Over the last decade we've developed a lace-making technology we call "Patterning" which uses century old machines in a new way.  "Patterning" is our textile design process that transforms lace-braiding machines to a one- step method of production for all inclusive bodywear that provides support with nothing else but tensioned filaments.

Originally lace was produced by hand as a highly skilled art form requiring years of experience due to its almost infinite design possibilities. Handmade lace can be traced to the fifteenth century in Italy, Spain, Germany, and the Netherlands,

The boom time for lace was the 18th century, when all bobbin lace was made by hand, and fashionable clothes used lace in collars and elsewhere. Delicate hand-made lace was very expensive, as it took so long to make, and this made it a symbol of luxury. Even coarser lace was popular, as people tried to copy the upper classes. Lacemaking used to produce a good income for rural workers, and often lace schools were set up to help the economy of a village.

Two events happened around the beginning of the 18th century which affected the bobbin lacemaking industry badly. Firstly, the French Revolution in 1789 made it advisable not to flaunt your wealth in your clothes, even in Britain, so lace became unfashionable, certainly for men and even for women. Even worse, lacemaking machines in Nottingham began to reproduce bobbin lace increasingly accurately.

The modern lace braiding machine is a direct descendant of the Barmen lace machines which were developed in the early 19th century. The modern lace braiding machine has been continually improved; as witnessed in the numerous European, Japanese, and international patents. Some notable improvements include electromagnetic actuation of driver plates which allow electronic pattern control and computerized design to operate seamlessly without Jacquard punch paper. The electronic control eliminated the need for a mechanical Jacquard mechanism. Source: :Jo Edkins' Bobbin Lace School

Bradford Jamison of TEF Braids began his exploration with Jacquard lace braiding machines and CAD systems in 2007.  Since that time he has steadily advanced the “art of patterning”, while generating  a library of more than 1,000 patterns—aesthetically linked to traditional woven arts of lace making, crochet, and macramé.

In the last decade Jamison has transformed the scope of production using lace braiding machines -- that historically manufactured only narrow fabrics and lace -- into a technology that facilitates the production of zonally patterned fabric with "built in" performance qualities.  AMBI showcases this new lace style that is functional, modern and minimal.