Recently whilst doing one of my pen and ink drawings I was remembering the lace which my father, Eberhard Hayn, produced decades ago as manager of a lace manufacturing factory called ‘Universal Lace’ in Pinetown, South Africa. The samples above were produced by him and whilst the patterns for lace were often bought from influential lace or textile designers in Germany or the UK, he would create a new design himself from time to time. While I was growing up I saw these patterns when I visited his office, and I regularly saw the lace being produced on dozens of big oily machines. It was a fascinating process. Hundreds of threads were aimed into the machines, and guided towards rows of hundreds more, tiny needles, which, as if by magic worked in perfect unison to noisily and slowly chugg reams of lace onto a large roll on the front of the machine.
My recent drawing ‘compositions’ remind me of the lace my father used to produce and in this way I feel like I have been somehow following in his footsteps. The intricate threads in lace knitting are carefully controlled in their density, allowing gaps, holes, or loosely bound threads which permit the lace to be see-through in places. In other places the threads are so dense that they create a white floral design or pattern. However, the line in a black ink drawing seems to do the opposite of the white lace thread in a lace sample. In a pen and ink drawing one is constantly, simply, drawing the dark gaps ‘beyond’, and allowing the white of the paper to be formed by those gaps. (This process also reminds me of sculpting with hammer and chisel – reduction process – where one is constantly creating gaps and negative spaces in a solid object to reveal a form). There are places however, in my drawings, that I think clearly begin to resemble my father’s finely woven see-through lace, such as the areas of loosely drawn cross-hatched lines, or larger blocks of black. I find this idea very satisfying!