Lacemakers training in FabLab Limerick

As part of the “Lace Making in the Digital Age” project funded by Creative Ireland and Limerick City and County Council through Creative Ireland- Made in Limerick, a group of lacemakers, artists and members of the public attended a 4-week training in Fablab Limerick. 

The first Fablab session took place on Thursday, October 19 2023. The manager of Fablab Limerick, Gerard Walsh, gave an introduction into the Fablab activities, presented the documentation available on the Fablab website and gave us a brief introduction to laser cutting. We had the chance to look at various samples and different materials. We also got a demonstration of how the laser cutter works. The participants were invited to select designs they would like to work with in the following session, like engraving a lace pattern on stone, perspex, plywood, or cardboard.

The software used for preparing the designs is Inkscape, an Open Source image processing application that has a huge worldwide community of users and contributors. A quick search for “Inkscape for Crafters” on YouTube brought up quite a few resources.

During the second session (26 October 2023), we learned in more detail how to prepare a drawing for laser cutting. We chose a lace pattern from the Limerick Lace website, and Gerard Walsh demonstrated in real time how to prepare such an image for laser cutting/ engraving. It became obvious to the participants that a lot of work was needed to learn how Inkscape works, so that they could be able to prepare the drawings themselves.

Some of the ideas that were discussed were: creating a stamp of the Friends of Lace logo cut in rubber, the possible reproduction of lace pieces in 3D, the creation of stencils of different sizes and shapes (flowers, leaves)

Our third session took place on November 2nd, 2023.

We also discussed the concept of layers, and Ger demonstrated how we can create objects that overlap or hide behind each other. Another functionality presented was Path Effects.

At the end, we selected a photo of a lace piece from the Limerick lace website, selected an element, mirrored it, and laser cut a coaster (10cm diameter) with these two motifs on it.

During the final Fablab session , on 9 November 2023, we spent most of the time creating prototypes. Martina created a bobbin lace reproduction from plywood. Ger created another circular coaster. Eva designed and cut a set of stencils for lace design. Aine created a miniature copy of a lace piece in acrylic.

Ger explained how a geometric design can be created and multiplied- in this case hexagons, using axonometric grids from document properties. Hexagonal – or honeycomb grids are an important element in Limerick lace, as the net the lace is worked on has hexagonal gaskets. In 2016, Giordana Giache and Martin Shannon created a set of perspex stencils that were used in the Hybrid exhibition and later on for demonstrating lace making.

The participants were told they are welcome to continue working with the Fablab tools by attending the Makers Night on Thursdays from 7:30pm to 9:30pm.

Thank you to everyone who signed up and attended our training sessions in the Fablab Limerick! We hope you enjoyed the adventure and we are looking forward to the upcoming brainstorming workshops!

This project is funded by Creative Ireland and Limerick City and County Council through Creative Ireland Made in Limerick. 



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