Gil Dye is a dabbler; she has had an interest in constructed textiles since she made her first piece of crochet at the age of seven and has since mastered the basics of a wide range of lace techniques. She enjoys the way these techniques relate to each other and to other skills such as braiding, and how they can be mixed and matched, using traditional threads or contemporary materials.
For the past twenty-five years Gil has been actively researching early bobbin lace, attempting to draw together what is known about sixteenth and seventeenth century lace in England. This is proving a fascinating study and she would love to hear of portraits and examples of early lace outside the obvious museums and galleries.
Recreating surviving examples and lace on portraits has revealed the freedom with which early lacemakers worked within the fashion constraints of the time – and there are many ‘lost’ techniques which could well find a place in Gil’s future work. The gold lace on the stole (below) is based on that on a seventeenth century sash in the Middleton collection in Nottingham and the pattern for the saffron-dyed fan is adapted from the black lace on a portrait of Anne of Denmark.
Gil is keen to pass on her knowledge to new and experienced lace makers. The Spring hanging was worked for A Beginner’s Guide to Bobbin Lace, written with Adrienne Thunder. She has written many articles for the Lace Guild’s magazine (Lace) and other publications and has completed a series of five small books on Sixteenth and Seventeenth Century Lace (see her website: www.earlylace.wordpress.com.) Gil teaches regular classes near her home in Northumberland and welcomes invitations to lead specialist early lace workshops anywhere in the world.
Hidden is a collaborative piece worked with the wood-turner Derrick Earnshaw as part of the 2000/2 Onetree project, where a single oak tree provided the raw material for everything from a smoked ham to an inlayed cocktail cabinet, created by a wide range of craftspeople. On a smaller scale Gil has been a medal winner in the miniatures section of the Lace Guild’s triennial competition with Arctic Tern in 2010, White Elephant meets White Mouse in 2013 and One Foot on the Housing Ladder in 2016.
Current projects include preparation of 'Lace identification - a practical guide' in collaboration with Jean Leader, due to be published by Crowood Press early in 2021. This book concentrates on lace made since the end of the eighteenth century - the time when machines were beginning to compete with handmade lace, so includes many of the craft laces (knitting, crochet, tatting etc), machine lace and lace made in our lifetimes. Among her distractions in 2019 was discovering how widely known is the technique of 'spool knitting' known in the UK as 'knitting Nancy' or 'French knitting', but with many other names, she also explored the 18th century craft of knotting, having been intrigued by a Sevres shuttle in the Harley Gallery in Nottinghamshire. Distractions permitting, Gil is hoping in the coming year to return to her attempt to discover how the change was made in the 1630s from open plaited laces to ones with wide areas of cloth stitch.
Framing the face
by Gil Dye Small figures illustrating lace usage on various types of 16th and 17th century neckwear (figures approx 10cm high), 2015
One Foot on the Housing Ladder
by Gil Dye Needle and bobbin lace (10 x 10 x 10 cm), 2016
by Gil Dye Torchon, mixed fibres 36cmx12cm
by Gil Dye Bobbin and needlelace, mixed fibres 10cm x 10cm x 10cm
by Gil Dye Bobbin lace, gold thread and sequins Edging: 16cm deep plus tassels
White elephant meets white mouse
by Gil Dye Needlelace wih bobbin lace blanket (elephant) 10cmx10cmx10cm
by Gil Dye 17th century bobbin lace, linen coloured with saffron W20cm
Fan before saffron
by Gil Dye 17th century bobbin lace, linen to be coloured with saffron W20cm
Dreaming of a slimmer figure
by Gil Dye
Lizard line- two half turns
by Gil Dye Bobbin-made lock-stitch mesh in fine gold thread, inserted in paper 45 x 60 Exhibited at Shape Shifting, 2014
Snail trail- reflection and one half turn
by Gil Dye Bobbin lace, assorted yarns 270x40 Exhibited at Shape Shifting, 2014
by Gil Dye 1. Which side Inside? 2 Which side Outside? Exploring the strange properties of Möbius strip: it has only one edge- the colourful strip, which gives it just one side- so is that inside or outside? Bobbin lace and mixed techniques using recycled materials. Exhibited at Inside Out, 2010
by Gil Dye 'Charlie' is part of a larger project exploring divergent characteristics of tortoises and lacemaking techniques. His little cousins were shown at Wardown Park Museum in 2009. See also Divergence (2008). Mainly bobbin lace using mixed materials including garden mesh. Exhibited at Inside Out, 2010
Not the Galapagos, I
by Gil Dye Tortoises on the Galapagos Islands helped Charles Darwin formulate his ideas of Divergence of characteristics; working this collection of tortoises has allowed me to explore a divergent range of shapes, materials and techniques. 45cm x 45cm. Exhibited at Divergence, 2008
Not the Galapagos, II
by Gil Dye 45cm x 45cm. Exhibited at Divergence, 2008
Not the Galapagos Isles (Charlie)
by Gil Dye 90cm x 60cm. Exhibited at Divergence, 2008
by Gil Dye Joint work with Derek Earnshaw, part of the 2001 Onetree project Exhibited in Lace in a Barn, 2005
Cambridge surprise major
by Gil Dye Exhibited at Lace in a Barn, 2005
by Gil Dye Exhibited at Lace on a Long Boat, 2003
by Gil Dye Exhibited at Lace on a Long Boat, 2003