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What Is Lace Draping?: Article or Project

An Almost Lost Art

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Lace Draping is an all-but-lost art form of turning lace into porcelain. This is done by saturating a cotton lace with liquid porcelain and attaching it to a porcelain figure. When fired, the lace burns off leaving the porcelain skeleton. Historically, this technique was confined to porcelain, but modern artists have duplicated the technique to ceramic clay bodies. Though not as fine in elegance, it transfers mediums acceptably. In addition to the fired technique of lace draping, creative hobbyists have taken finished figures and applied lace using glues. These are not fired so slip application is not needed. Obviously, this is not quite the same, but it is still lace draping.

It is unknown for certain as to when this process was established. Some antique dealers and historians believe it was done as far back as the 1600s and possibly even further. The first commercial venture was established in Meissen Germany in 1710 and items were taken to Dresden markets for sale. Ergo, items of this vintage became known as Meissen or Dresden China. In the 1900s nearly 40 companies competed to produce these gorgeous creations. Dresdens Blue Crown was registered in 1883, though it did not stop others for lifting its use.

In the 1940s, lace draping got its beginnings with American ceramic enthusiasts who grasped the technique and pulled the manufacturers in to create molds and porcelain slip and tools to facilitate their need to create this elegant art form.

About 30 years ago – maybe longer – a ceramics studio owner decided to try her hand using the technique with ceramic slip and ceramic items. Through trial and error, it was mildly successful. Others have adapted the same technique.

With the loss of so many studios, this art form is almost lost. Hopefully, the few who know it will strive to pass it on to a new generation.


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