Firstly, obtain the latest list of requirements for these cover most possibilities and give structure to your learning. These can all be downloaded from the Australian Guild Website or email the proficiency co-ordinator for them.
Start the bibliography page for your portfolio. Immense yourself in lace books, not just braid. Perhaps also start a subsidiary personal notebook and record authors. Book titles and page numbers of the techniques and patterns you may want to consider for your submission. Read Pat Earnshaw books and reread copies of “Lace” Australian Lace and other publications. Look at books on Celtic (which are good for braid) and other designs.
Your aim will to be to show the assessors that not only are you proficient at stage one lacemaking, but that you have researched and gained an understanding of the background and history as well as the techniques required.
Keep it mixed in the thee major and three lesser pieces, and aim to do each in a different type of braid lace. A good starting point would be a page or two of sample strips of different braids. These could cover the starting requirements, the different edges, gimps, picots etc. Similarly, in stage two one could show different decorated braids, holes, shaped tallies, etc.
Experiment with different threads and colours. The different ways of turning curves and angles and connecting braids, to be shown in actual lace. It could also be shown by diagrams in coloured pencils, this page could be a valuable reminder and teaching aid for the future.
Where possible, work a complete motif rather than an unfinished sample. Small items need not be useless. Think of greeting cards and Christmas decorations. There are some delightful ideas in Jana Novak’s “Christmas Lace” and Christine Springetts “lace for Children of all ages”.
Let the assessors know which techniques are to be assessed from each item. It is not necessary to list many page numbers and examples of each, just one or two you consider your best.
Include the actual pricking used, and the pattern source for each piece. To preserve anonymity, do not name a tutor or other lacemaker. List and show the threads used, a little of each could be wrapped around a 1cm wide strip of acetate or similar. If you have designed your own lace, show the working ‘up’ from the original piece idea to the final drawing. State if you have adapted someone else’s design.
SOME PRACTICAL CONSIDERTIONS
Avoid hard, heavy covers for your portfolio. Avoid three dimensional pieces unless they can be presented opened out flat. EG: bracelet, tiara, lace for a fan, trinket box top, framed picture, bag or spectacle case.
One piece of lace has to be mounted on fabric. Choose articles which will fold nicely or fit easily into the sheet protectors of your portfolio. Don’t forget to preshrink both fabric and lace.
In stage 2 and 3, you will have the opportunity to show your progression to lace of greater compliancy, and degree of difficulty. Best wishes and may you really enjoy your journey.
Do not get discouraged, these notes are a guide and hopefully be a bit of help. They have been put together by an ALG Proficiency Assessor.