Wishing everyone a happy Monday and an apology as it has been a few weeks since we have introduced a new maker to you. We have been hard at work recently, planning our Etsy Made in Canada event which will take place this year on September 24th and 25th in the Maritime Hall at the Halifax Forum. Exciting times ahead!
And with that said, I am very happy to introduce you to a Maker who will be joining us this year as a vendor. Tania, is the owner of and designer at LaceLounge. Tania has modified the traditional craft of tatting, and while staying true to the original patterns and methods, and finding her own modern inspirations, she crafts beautiful jewellery and accessories.
Please read on to learn more about Tania, her shop, and this very traditional craft.
Could you please start by providing us with a bio about yourself and an intro to your shop.
My name is Tania. I am not a Canadian born girl. I came here from Belarus (Eastern Europe) to settle my new home here five years ago. I have a Masters degree in history and history of arts, and my education gave a lot of historical background for my crafts.
Crafting was always an important part of my life. I was creating different things for myself and my friends, but it was just a hobby. My whole family (grandmother, mother, father, sister) was always fond of different crafts, and I learned embroidery, crocheting, knitting, lace and many more different kinds of crafts including tatting from them. But only here, in Canada, did I start receiving real active interest from people for my earrings, bracelets and other jewellery, and that interest stimulated me to open my shop. And now I am actively working on my small brand with jewellery made in tatting, an almost forgotten arts now. And as a historian, I want to raise more and more interest in tatting, that beautiful art, in the crafting community, engaging more and more people by creating classes, giving lessons, and using other ways of sharing my knowledge with crafters, to save that almost forgotten arts technique.
Tatting is a very old craft. Can you share a bit with us its history and how you have adapted it for your specific work?
History of tatting is a very good question. As a professional historian, I can discuss this question really long, especially, having in mind how much wrong information you can find around, but I’ll try to be as short as possible.
Tatting is a technique for handcrafting a particularly durable lace from a series of knots and loops. Knotted (that is important) lace techniques were widely known over the Middle East. It came from there to Europe in general and to Italy in particular in the 16th and 17th centuries, but that wasn’t real tatting as we understand it right now: there was no thin thread, and they used large, massive shuttles and thick golden cord to create large decorative elements for garments, curtains, furniture. In the early 18th century, the spreading of relatively affordable silk, linen and cotton thin thread raised a huge demand in elegant decorations, and tatting, along with some other lace making techniques, showed itself as an ideal technique for small decorative elements. Tatting was used to make lace edgings, collars, cuffs, as well as doilies, etc.
In the middle of the 18th century, tatting travels from Italy to France and then to England (early 19th century). It was very popular for Victorian era ladies to make beautiful lace for themselves and for family. There were a lot of magazines with tatting patterns published in England in the 19th century. Lace in that period was usually in white or ecru.
In the second half of 20th century tatting got an extension with the use of seed beads. Nowadays, with new materials, with new synthetic thread and new permanent colors, tatting experienced a new boom in interest and technique development. I really love classical vintage looking tatting, in white and ecru, and I am constantly experimenting with other thread types like shiny glossy embroidery thread, metallic thread, super fine cotton thread. And as a result of my experiments I modified classical tatting technique, and now my tatting lace are way more rigid and keep form very well without starching. That all allows me to use tatting for jewellery making.
I have an absolutely amazing, incredibly beautiful downy shawl knitted for me by my grandmother. That is very a memorable thing for me, but at the same time it is a great, even unique masterpiece of an almost lost technique of knitting lace and an exceptional example of real craftsmanship. That shawl always inspires me to improve my skills more and more, and it also helps me to not forget to thank my family for my skills.
Tatting is an extremely time consuming technique. Now for my crafts I do not use someone’s patterns, and first earrings made completely with my pattern keep a special place in my heart as first my real success. These earrings are not ideal, now I see that, but they are really special, and I still wear them.
Your rose window earrings are extraordinary. How much of your work is based on traditional, old-world design vs inspiration that you find in your life around you?
First of all, thank you that you find my earrings extraordinary. It is really a great grade for my work. At least half of my work is “old world” tatting. As a historian, I always try to preserve heritage and respect traditions in my work. But tatting is an art, and as an artist I always receive inspiration from the world around me. I could be inspired by almost anything. I am inspired by spring blossom, shells, any other colors combination found in the nature. I find inspiration in architecture, in decorative elements, I could find inspiration reading book or even listening to music. I could be inspired really by anything, at any place, situation, and I try to keep that inspiration until I am able to fix it in my work.
Can we find your work anywhere off etsy?
I am just starting my experience in real life. Last year was my first experience in participating in a craft show, it was a Prospect Road Community Crafts show. This year I will be exhibiting as a vendor at Etsy Made in Canada: Maritime Makers September show. I also have plans to cooperate with brick and mortar shops, but that is just in the plans yet, and at this moment my crafts are available in my Etsy shop only.
Do you have a favorite Maritime Maker who you would like to give a shout out to?
There are very many makers here in the Maritimes, worthy of being noticed. But there is one of them, Cassy Collins with her shop called “ClassyCardsCreative“, and I am so in love with her work! It is very funny, optimistic, and it really stands out among other cards creators!
Thank you so much for joining us today, Tania. Your work is incredible, and we can’t wait to have you joining us at this year’s Etsy Made in Canada event.