Woven and Lace Bobbin Jewelry by Lauran Sundin
Taking inspiration and technique from the past to create beautiful contemporary jewelry
By Lauran Sundin
Lauran Sundin is inspired by vintage lace, but creates contemporary jewelry to be worn now.
Her exquisite chokers and bracelet cuffs are interwoven with a bobbin lace technique that is centuries old — previously seen as Victorian lace or even the decorative trim on a medieval queen’s collar. The technique was eventually mechanized for machines, but grandmother used the same tiny sticks, or bobbins wound with thread, that Sundin wraps with 22k gold and sterling silver wire.
Similar to a lace tablecloth, Sudin’s designs start with flat patterns, but her final work appears as convoluted as a Möbius strip. The thin metal is pliable enough for the weaving process; it is the twists and turns that stabilize the wires for the creation of three-dimensional forms. The intricate metal work is deliciously delicate and extremely light for the wearer. “I like the contrast of gold and the gray of oxidized silver; it makes both materials pop,” she says. In addition to the metals, she may add cultured or natural pearls and even diamonds for a bit more sizzle.
“I find the whole process meditative,” says Sundin as her hands deftly interweave patterns with a series of bobbins, the whole process done on a traditional sawdust-filled pillow on her lap. As she says, “Have lap, will travel.” She has taken the whole process to sea while vacationing in Maine and traveling in an RV to Florida from her Concord home.
An expert in the field, Sundin is one of four US representatives to the International Lace Organization and will be traveling to Slovenia this summer for the biennial conference. She also teaches internationally, as she is, by her own accounts, the only person in the world creating jewelry with precious metal wire and a bobbin-lace technique. Her work is exhibited worldwide, but she focuses on Florida galleries in the winter. Her upcoming schedule and award list can be found online. This August she will show at the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen’s Fair at Mt. Sunapee.