I wanted to come up with ideas for using the lacelightbox, apart from commercial properties. The recession likely to hit the UK economy in 2020 could mean I have to take a new direction so here are a few ideas:
Community projects -I always felt I had little to offer for community engagement projects. Text as brides and picot have opened up the possibility of working with groups or individuals to create artworks based on stories or words. For example I tired this out when beginning to explore text as brides (see gallery below). I had a Zoom interview with textile artist Laura Mabbutt, who does a great deal of work int the community. We talked about the basics of community work, and how projects like this might translate into civic artworks with a lasting legacy.
Domestic lighting products such as smaller lightboxes, lampshades or table lamps. Smaller versions of the lightboxes I’ve produced. I already have a market for this through my exisiting business www.jcmiddlebrook.co.uk
Other lace ideas using text as brides and picots. I’ve also thought about simple individualised lace to mark significant dates. I’d avoided asking for sales during the CV-19 lock-down, feeling awkward about promoting commercial work. It took another designer/maker to point out that people are still having birthdays and anniversaries during the pandemic, so I promoted JC Middebrook lace using my Instagram and lo, made sales. It would be a simple thing to create work which allowed people to add names and dates to existing or new lace designs.
The larger lighting installation needs a lot of space so it would be perfect in a hotel reception and office space or maybe a bar. If I incorporated a Bluetooth music controller (available on eBay) it would work perfectly in a bar- changing the lighting pattern according to the music played. With a little remodelling the concept could be mounted in the centre of a room as divider to be lit and viewed from both sides.
I like the idea of working through interior designers rather than directly to homeowners or developers. I interviewed Georgina Bloomfield, an interior designer based in the East Midlands. She gave me tips on how to find people and insisted I get back onto LinkedIn!
I looked at trade shows, visiting Decorex in London (images below) and looked up trade bodies for interior designers – SBID puts on networking events for suppliers to meet designers, hopefully they will again after Covid.
The other avenue for this type of work is through exhibition and commission work. Should the work have a strong message it could be installed as part of exhibitions a variety of themes. The juxtaposition of decorative lace and narrative is surprising and could be interesting to exhibition visitors. There are also community possibilities with the input of the public in words used as picot or brides. I gave this a small test in April when I asked my Instagram and Twitter followers for words about lace.
I found some inspiration for lace at this scale on this website http://lasercutscreens.co.uk/, looking at room dividers or decorative wall panels
Why am I considering interior products? I feel I’ve got a handle on small items and wanted to push my practice into a new area. Creatively, it felt right to explore lace at a larger scale, and the business person in me said the pieces need to have a function, even if that function is ‘art’. I could also see that interiors is a more balanced market, gender-wise,and might open me up to more customers.
Creating larger scale pieces meant I had to imagine my work in venues other than a small scale, domestic setting. I explored hotel and bars, office receptions and large modern apartment type settings. I had to scale up the budget, which meant creating work of exceptionally high quality. For research I looked at magazines such as World of Interiors, Elle Decoration, I visited the interiors trade fair Decorex (see post) and researched Society for British and International Interior Design, Walpole (representing the creative sector in the luxury high end sector)
I spoke with an interior designer who advised me to link up with people in the industry, get onto LinkedIn with my work and show at trade shows.