Lace is all the rage now, so why not on furniture. The artist Jo Gibbs has developed a secret process which she calls "netching" that enables her to etch lovely lace patterns onto slate tablets, chairs, mirrors and handbags. Divine.
Gibbs calls her reclaimed pieces of furniture 'Up', as it's 'up-cycled' - recycled but improved.
Gibbs is fascinated with lace because of its long history. It has gone in and out of fashion over the years but it has a long and complicated cultural background. The Venetians have made it for centuries, the English use it for curtains, and a variation is used in the mosques. Think of dainty doilies and vintage lace collars and little old ladies pulling back their lace curtains to peer onto the street...
The slate tiles are 2 ft. by 8" and look wonderful as a set of wall pieces. So good in fact, that Anthropologie is looking into selling them at their store. This woman is going places....
Gibbs worked in women's fashion, then went back to school and studied textiles. But she has adapted the textile background to working on furniture. She transfers net-like patterns found in antique lace to vintage wooden school chairs. Here are the chairs, each one with vividly coloured lace and the natural wood shining through to make it look like gold tones.
Gibbs finds her pieces of furniture in all the usual places: the street, reclamation yards, roofers, but then she goes to work and changes them into something magical. This detail of a table gives a closer view of the intricacy of the work.
Etched mirrors are particularly intriguing since you are seeing yourself in them, but through "lace". One creation is called "Behind the Veil".
Her studio is in the dilapidated but wonderful Stockwell Studio, a co-operative home to 25 artists that is under threat from re-development.
Her work is being featured everywhere lately. Some new work will be shown at the hugely popular and influential "Grand Designs" show, where she will be featured as a "Green Hero". Remember, you saw her first at TreeHugger.