Bobbin Lace with copper wire wound on my Flemish grandmother's oak bobbins. In the video you see me weaving the four-strand composite braids that make up the side walls for all four wheels of the Carriage of Lost Loves.
The meditative work transforms my perception of Time. It erases regrets, worries and anxieties. Past, present and future become One. There is nothing I would rather be doing.
It has taken Lieve 45 years of bobbin lacemaking to tell a timeless tale in copper wire lace, woven by hand. The Carriage of Lost Love, a hanging sculpture is 17 feet long, 8.5 ft high and 7 feet wide—a shining apparition that surprised and delighted visitors to the groundbreaking international contemporary lace art exhibition entitled LACE, NOT LACE: Contemporary Fiber Art from Lacemaking Techniques (curated by Devon Thein) September 2018 -January , 2019 in the Hunterdon Art Museum, Clinton, New Jersey.
Flanders, Belgium, is the birthplace of Lieve Jerger and also of the beautiful fiber art known as bobbin lace. It grew out of the abundant local flax crops that once served to create the linen sails for the ocean-faring vessels of centuries past. Linen gets stronger when wet. The finest flax fibers were created by soaking the flax in the river Lys (Leie) to dissolve the pectin and isolate the hairfine strands that were then spun into gossamer lace threads. Bobbin lace was made in convents and beguinages throughout Flanders.
Lieve adapted this ancient art form to work with copper wire of various gauges and create three dimensional sculptures.
Lieve's mother, Berthilda Vandoren assembled a collection of antique Flemish Laces over her lifetime. It is the Spieghel Lace Collection that made Lieve devoted to this ancient art form and all its untapped potential.
1963 - 1968 Sint Ludgardis School, Antwerp, Belgium.
1868 - 1971 Sint Ignatius University, Antwerp, Belgium
Linguistics - Germanic Languages and Literature
Unitarian Universalist Church, Long Beach, CA.
Westweek at Pacific Design Center in Santa Monica, CA
Artists at Work in Crafts Media, A Celebration of Process
February 1981 through 1986
Angels Gate Cultural Center, San Pedro, CA
Lace Studio Open House
Studio Artists Gallery Exhibits
IOLI Lace Convention at LAX Hilton
Los Angeles, CA
Open Studio: first exhibit of Carriage with wheels
in Casas Grandes, CHIH, Mexico.
Lace, Not Lace: Contemporary Fiber Art from Lacemaking Techniques
(curated by Devon Thein) September 23, 2018 in the Hunterdon Art Museum, Clinton, New Jersey.
1984 The First Dolores Roche Memorial Prize for Excellence in Traditional Bobbin Lacemaking
From International Old Lacers Guild for original design and execution of a Binche Lace “To Our Lady of the Snow”
1998 The Winged Tiger and The Lace Princess
Phil Yeh and Lieve Jerger
Hawaya Inc. & Cartoonists Across The World
Editor in Chief, Lace Magazine International Quarterly
1986-2000, 56 issues, 14 years.
Art Director, Uncle Jam Quarterly Nrs 96 through 99
The Bulletin. International Old Lacers, Inc.
Volume 30, Number 3, Spring 2010
Article: Metal Lace: From the Anvil to the Avant-Garde
Inside front cover: Metal Lace by Lieve Jerger
By Kim Davis
Kant in Vlaanderen/ Filum
Jaargang 14 - nummer 2 (April - Mei - Juni 2010)
ISSN nummer 1783-0958
Artikel” Van Spiegheltjes tot Sprookjeskoets.
By Marie Rose Delahaye
Random Lengths News. San Pedro Community Profile
March 5-18, 1992
Article: Lace Mania: Magazine Publisher Laces Up for Success
By Robin Berger
Los Angeles Herald Examiner
March 29, 1985
Article: Giving a traditional art form a new twist.
By Debra Zahn
Los Angeles Times/Home Magazine
February 6, 1983
Article: In the Grand Tradition
By Joan Dektar
Palos Verdes Review/Daily Breeze
Peninsula Artist Lieve Jerger
By Meredith Grenier
The Register/Around Home
October 11, 1980
Article: Copper Lace is What Wires This Artist
March 19, 1982
Article: Jerger weaves with gleaming copper, thread to express art.
By Donna Littlejohn
Art Press International No 33
Jerger Art Show
Independent Press Telegram/Arts
July 22, 1979
Article: Young Talent Winners named
I designed the structural panels only after the first 4 windows were already completed. I admit that I was a little surprised myself when I saw how large the overall Carriage of Lost Love would become, but the realization filled me with anticipation for a lifetime of copper lace work.
The Butterfly window is still in progress. A daisy with a Fibonacci sequence in the seeds eludes me in the drawing. The Reflections window, most recently added, is a meditative collage of an open arched stone window in the Cistercian monastery in the California town of Vina, as it is reflected in a pool of water, with oak leaves drifting in from outside.
The lacemaking became more intense as I worked on the upper panels and later the wheels. Sometimes I didn’t leave home for a week or more. I was still weaving wires in my dreams. Life took on a new dimension. Each window became a glowing icon in my own mind and took on more meaning as time went by. What started as a painful memory evolved into a source of healing and acceptance.
I never thought of giving up, not even when wires kept breaking when I pulled them too tight. I developed my “wire touch” by doing. I have used clear-coated American Standard wire gauges, as heavy as gauge 10 and as fine as 38. Even heavy gauge copper wire must be handled gently and kinks are unforgiving, but the strength and brilliance of copper wire is what seduced me. It is even more enduring than flax. The perfectly round copper wire is manufactured to meet the highest scientific standards and intended for generating, transmitting and distributing electrical power. It makes the woven images shimmer in the light. Only with copper wire could I construct my Carriage of Lost Loves. At first it seemed hard but eventually I mastered leaves and tallies. I invented wire grounds and braids that are not found in any books. The negative spaces can be bigger in wire lace. The ground work progresses faster. Depending on how tight the weavers are pulled, the linen stitch can look either open and airy, or tight and solid. The rigidity of metal allows me to construct large sculptures. But my lace work does not come close to the virtuosity of the finest laces I have seen in the Spieghel Collection that my mother assembled over her lifetime.
The project of the carriage began with just one panel, the Traveler window. It was a single-line drawing of a person’s profile with wavy hair blowing in the wind, looking at a planet in space, all set in a field of Devonshire filling that I took straight from The Book of Bobbin Lace Stitches by Cook & Stott. The drawing came together in less than a minute—a lucky fluke. I took it as a sign that I had to continue and work it out in wire. The Traveler was a magical 20” x 20” sheet of fire that sparked my imagination. She deserved a noble vehicle that would do justice to her beauty. Only then did I decide to build a ceremonial carriage, like the ones my mother had taken me to see at the Museo Dos Coches in Lisbon, Portugal, where she had to pull me out of the hall, because I could not bring myself to walk away. It was the summer of 1968.
© 2021 Lieve Jerger