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common grounds

lace drawn from the everyday


Common Grounds was a collaboration with The Bowes Museum and lace specialist, Annabel Talbot, to literally bring to light hidden aspects of the of the internationally significant Blackborne Lace collection. The project aimed to explore how drawing can both examine unseen aspects of the collection and present it creatively to the public audience.


The Blackborne Lace Collection contains some of the finest surviving examples of handmade lace dating from the 16th century and was generously donated to The Bowes Museum in 2007. In addition to the main collection, which is exceptional in its quality and quantity, the Museum received a secondary assemblage of items categorised as the 'B' collection. This collection is little known, containing mainly shop stock ( the lace of ordinary people as opposed to the aristocracy) and had been in storage since entering the museum, hidden from view , still in the carriage trunks in which it arrived.  Within this collection were a series of 54 lace caps.


These caps became the focus of the project and were individually catalogued through 54 ‘hidden’ drawings which appear like x-rays or scans, revealed only when held up to the light.  These formed an installation hung in space, recalling domestic washing lines. Drawings will appear to light up as viewers walk around them at 360 degrees. The drawings were presented alongside the lace caps themselves and the trunks in which they were until recently stored.


 This innovative approach to exhibiting aspects of the collection sought to revalue this overlooked lace and bridge a gap between high art and everyday textiles of the general public using drawing.

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