The Lace Maker - Jan Vermeer

The Lacemaker

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This is one of my personal favourite paintings by Vermeer. The lady is concentrating on her work and taking no notice of the painter and this makes the viewer feel that they are excluded totally from what the woman is doing. The light is on her work so she can see what she is doing this means that we as the viewer are shown the pillow and the pins in every detail the light shines off the pins as though we are there in front of her not merely looking through a painting. The reds of her threads show up vibrantly and the blue of the pillow is almost bleached by the light source. This is a craft practiced by servants in Vermeer's time and beautiful pieces were made mainly as collars and cuffs that were the fashion at the time
Pillow lace making was widely practiced in Vermeer's time sadly today it is a dying art. The threads are wound round wooden intricately carved bobbins which are then wound in intricate knots round pins which are set in a pattern on a pillow filled usually with straw. Hence it is called pillow lace, lots of different lace can be made such as Bruges lace, Bedfordshire lace and Bucks point lace the lady here is probably doing a form of Flemish lace.





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