Before I started working with bobbin lace, I didn't know how it looks nor how it's made. Hearing "beautiful and hard to make" was enough for me to sign up for the class. That, curiosity and the desire to learn something new.
Until then I had tried a range of different things. Music: I had played the violin for years; sport: mountain climbing, ski and aikido; studying literature in the University of Sofia, taking care of my family and raising my three children.
And at any time since I was five I've had some sort of handiwork going: crocheting, knitting, stitching, embroidering, knitting socks with five needles.
In Bulgaria, bobbin lace is called "Kaloferska dantela", or lace from Kalofer. The ten day beginners' course gave me enough opportunity to learn the basics, but unfortunately there were no advanced classes. There was nobody to ask about more complex techniques, and nowhere to look up interesting new models – I had no internet at the time.
After several years of staying in the same place, working on models of things I didn't know where to put after I was done, I decided to try a new direction. I started noticing patterns in the world around me that I could use as a bobbin lace model.
I was tempted by the branches, entangled differently in each kind of tree: bushy or delicate, heavily branched or simple. Flowers – detailed illustrations or silhouettes, fresh or dried, with the complete range of colours of both leaves and petals – are my subject of choice. Mountains, with peaks both pointed and round, hills and ridges, have always seemed to me like nature's own lacework, as well as the waves thrown against the shore, spreading foam, light and shade. In my imagination, I split landscapes into different shapes which I then make out of threads.
I see potential lacework all around me, and every time I try to work in a different way. I've tried making faces out of lace, for example, and I will without doubt try again.
I use every moment I can to create lacework. When I'm happy, I create with a smile and high spirits. When I'm sad, I create to cheer myself up with the pride of making something new and the soft clicks of the bobbins.
I still have unfinished projects: clouds, winds, sunrises and sunsets. I impatiently wait every new idea to strike, and while I work on it, it grows and develops on its own. Often my hands have surprised me by the time I'm finished working