Jan Gardiner first became interested in the wonderful craft of lacemaking when her son began playschool and she found that she had spare time to occupy. She joined an evening class in bobbin lacemaking in September 1983. After the first struggles, she became hooked!
Jan has been an enthusiastic lacemaker ever since.
Lacewing Designs has its beginnings, as Lacewing Bobbins, over 30 years ago when a bobbin on which Jan had painted a pansy won a small competition at a North Downs Lacemakers meeting, she was approached to supply hand painted bobbins to a supplier of lace equipment, Larkfield Crafts.
From these small beginnings, Jan has developed over 20 ranges of different designs for bobbins, which were marketed under Lacewing Bobbins, and now under Lacewing Designs. These have found their way all over the United Kingdom and abroad.
As the demand for decorated Lace Bobbins grew, Jan decided to offer her range initially through craft fairs and then through lace fairs, mail order and the internet. She has been assisted by her husband and a loyal band of friends, (known as her Minions) always willing to assist in and help when the need arises. Over time she has been able to complement the supplier side through her other ever-expanding activities as described below.
However, as time has passed, Jan has found it progressively harder to maintain the high level of quality of the finished miniature paintings on the bobbins, especially where the level of detail is particularly demanding. It is, with considerable regret, that she has decided that it is time to call it a day with the bobbin painting. As a result of this decision we will be reducing the range of bobbins that will continue to be available for purchase over the coming months. Please see the Bobbin pages for further details and updates as time passes.
Designer and Teacher
As with the bobbins, teaching began gradually, with a few friends asking Jan to show how bobbin lace was made. These small beginnings grew through being asked to take a class for the local Adult Education Authority, passing formal teaching qualifications, Lace Guild Assessments and the City and Guild Creative Lacemaking Course. Jan has taught abroad as well as in the UK.
Jan teaches workshops in the majority of the English bobbin laces, i.e. Honiton, Torchon, Bedfordshire and Bucks Point, as well as the continental laces such as Bayeux. Needle laces are also a subject area in which Jan is happy to teach. She also likes to encourage lace makers to design their own work and is very happy to instruct groups or individuals in the design process.
A full list of workshops is available. See the latest pieces of Jan’s work on our Facebook page.
Lacewing Designs stocks a wide selection of Jan’s patterns which come complete with instructions, thread guide and pre-printed pricking.
Thread, Wire and Accessories
When Jan eventually was persuaded to publish some of her patterns there were many requests for the thread used so we began to carry thread.
Lacewing Designs now stocks Aurifil Mako, a beautiful Italian cotton, and Aurifil Brillo which is a delightful metallic thread. Both these threads are made for high speed industrial embroidery machines. This means that they are eminently suitable for bobbin lace making, quilting and domestic machine embroidery.
We also carry the full range of Venus, a fine crochet cotton, also very good for bobbin or needle lace making as well as tatting and crochet.
Over the years we have added many new items to the Lacewing Designs stock range, such as fine wire, jewellery findings, mounts etc.
Please look through our products and if you can’t find what you need place feel free to contact us with your request and we will do our best to help.