About Me

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Antwerp, Belgium
Welcome to the new, and improved version of Heaven in Belgium. I am Jientje. "Jientje", like the boys name Gene, followed by "chu"? "Gene-chu", that's how you pronounce my name. Yes!!!!That's it!! So now you know huh? I am an addicted blogger. I was born and raised and am still living in Belgium. Yeah, the "this-is- Tuesday-so-this-must-be-Brussels" kind of Belgium .. There, you see? Maybe you couldn't find it on the map, but at least I'm trying to change that a little by sharing lots of pictures. I really love to cook and create new things, like this blog for instance. I am a mother,a grandmothe and a wife too! They say I'm a traveler, and a photographer. Well that's just what they say, I love to make pictures, but I am far from professional ... If my English is not perfect, that would be because it's my second language. I do hope you'll forgive me any possible misspellings or strange vocabulary ... Now, as a result of all of the above, I get way too little sleep and my days are always much too short!


Heaven is in Belgium

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Modern Lace, by Me. The Video.

I was always fascinated watching my first husband's Mom make lace, and one day I managed to persuade her to teach me. She must have spent half her life making lace, and I'm very grateful for the time and the patience she invested to pass her knowledge on to me. I can still hear the ticking sound of the bobbins going through her hands. She used to call it "spellewerken", which means working with needles. The next video gives an idea what the first lessons must have been like and how confusing and complicated it must have looked to the fifteen year old I was at that time.

When later in life I moved to Antwerp, I lost contact with her, but not with lace making.
I took classes, and learned how to interpret the old patterns, get creative with this old art and make new designs using different materials. I developed my own style and enjoyed making my very own designs.
But somewhere along the line when life had become too busy for this time consuming hobby, my bobbin lace boards ended up on top of my wardrobe and stayed there for at least fifteen years. Until recently when I challenged myself to pick it up again. I had to dig deep to remember how to, but I managed to master it and I am now back to drawing and making my own designs.

This is the one I was working on last week, I completed it yesterday.

And this is a detail of the finished work.
And if you're curious to see me at work, here's a video we made a couple of months back when I was working on my first design. This time, the hands are MY hands ...


Wanda..... said...

Jientje...I managed to grasp how you actually create lace...but it still seems extremely complicated...I am impressed with your talent!

My name is Riet said...

Dat vind ik toch zo'n mooie hobby. Mijn buurmeisje vroeger deed dit ook maar ik ben er nooit toe gekomen. Makkelijk zo'n video toch

Nana said...

Tof maar toch vrij ingewikkeld en je moet je ook goed kunnen concentreren lijkt me. Niks voor mij!

moneythoughts said...

Interesting, complicated, don't know how you do it, but it is your hobby, and it is an art form. Using interesting materials takes it to another level. I hope you will show more of what you make in the future. I have seen pieces of lace framed like a picture. In fact, a good friend's grandmother made the two pieces that were framed. In the Taft Art Museum in Cincinnati is a dutch painting of young girls sitting with their teacher learning to make lace.

VioletSky said...

I cannot even manage to knit or crochet and this is much more complicated and intricate. I am so glad you have picked up this art again, it would be almost a crime to have it disappear altogether.

Melli said...

Jientje ... there are not MANY crafts that I would not even give a try to - but this is definitely ONE of them! My mind would go haywire working with all that! My grandmother used to make a different kind of lace though -- with a teeny teeeeeeeeeen tiny crochete hook! I believe they called it "tatting". I haven't given IT a try either! I DO think YOU are amazing that you do this! And I'm GLAD you do it -- I hope you teach it to a young person as well so that the art does not die! (and someone should inherit all those GREAT spools one day!)

James said...

Wow! That is amazing wit beautiful results.

Gattina said...

OMG, with me the whole thing would be already thrown against the wall ! I would get crazy !
I have already seen how it works here in Brussels, I admire your patience and it looks beautiful. I only could see the first video but I didn't see you. The second is a white square, is that possible ?
Sorry I still haven't rang you, Mr. G had health problems and I was busy.

Gattina said...

Sorry, while I typed my comment the second video was suddenly there ! You work very fast !

Avril said...

Both videos are not showing for me! I will 'tune in' later and see if they download. Would love to see them!!! I have never seen lace being made.
It looks so complicated with ALL those pins!!!!!

Anonymous said...

OMG...I could never ever in a million years do that. My hat is off to you my Belgian Bombshell. What an art that is to do. I thought it was like knitting where ya only had two of those long needle things. I don't know how you keep it all straight. Well done. And thanks for sharing this. :)

Ellie said...

It is fascinating to watch. It requires such patience ! Looks like a virtuoso musician moving fingers through the instrument with great precision!

Carletta said...

Very nice Jientje - an art for sure!
You left out what you do with the finished lace. :)

Quilly said...

All those bobbins! How can you tell which is which and what comes next? It looks so confusing. I am impressed!

spacedlaw said...

That is an impressive hobby, Jientje!

frogpondsrock said...

Wow Jientje.. Just Wow.

Jientje said...

@ Wanda: Thanks. Nothing is complicated once you know how to do it, but still, you do have to concentrate, true.
@ Riet: Ik ben blij dat ik het geleerd heb toen ik nog zo jong was. Blijkbaar verleert een mens zoveel nog niet!
@ Nana: Ja, je moet je concentreren, maar daardoor kan je ook niet aan iets anders denken en werkt het toch heel ontspannend, raar maar waar.
@ moneythoughts: I want to frame them, yes.
@ VioletSky: yes, so am I, an I'm so glad I still remembered how to do it.
@ Melli: I've done "tatting" too, but that really drove me nuts! I much prefer this. I'm not sure I'm going to be able to pass this on to someone though, but I never say never, who knows eh?
@ James: Thanks!
@ Gattina: Throwing it against the wall only leads to MORE work getting everything untangled again!
@ Avril: I do hope you can see them next time!
@ Thom: knitting can be very hard too you know!!
@ Ellie: what a poetic comment!
@ Carletta: These are going to be framed, and sent to the winners of the pay it forward I did last year.
@ Quilly: It's not confusing once you know what you're doing. You just need to know where you are headed to, that's all!
@ spacedlaw: thanks!
@ frogpondsrock: LOL, I say the same thing when I see your art!

Robynn's Ravings said...

OMWORD. I never came close to realizing the complexity of this. VERY EDUCATIONAL. I wouldn't last ten seconds. Everything would be in knots and in the bin. You are extremely talented in yet ANTOHER area!! Amazing woman you are.

Jenny said...

Great to see that at least some other lace makers also shelve their lace pillows. Mine was shelved for over 20 years, but now is out again showing all it's glory. I'll watch with interest what you do.

Barbara said...

WOW I am in awe of your talent. This is such an great hobby. Beautiful lace.
Smiles Barbara

Unknown said...

Too me it's more than amazing that people manage to make this handicraft looks so beautiful.
And lovely shots!

Unknown said...

The videos are amazing - and your photographs of those pins are stunning. Very, very talented.

Jientje said...

@ Robynn: I'm glad I learned it when I was a young girl. And I'm glad I still remember how to!
@ Jenny: Another lace maker!!! How NICE to meet you!!
@ Barbara: Well, I'm glad I took it up again. I am rather proud of it, true!
@ NicoleB: I'm glad you like it!
@ Lou: Thanks Lou, that's a great compliment coming from you!

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