Heanor lacemaker crowdfunding for laser cutter to take designs global

Lacemaker Louise West, who lives in Heanor, has launched a crowdfunding campaign to buy a high-tech laser cutter so she can sell her patterns around the world to promote the heritage craft.
Lacemaker Louise West, who lives in Heanor, has launched a crowdfunding campaign to buy a high-tech laser cutter so she can sell her patterns around the world to promote the heritage craft.

A pioneering lacemaker from Heanor has launched an online crowdfunding campaign to buy a laser cutter to help her keep the heritage craft alive.

Louise West, 57, is seeking to raise £7,500 towards the cost of the £13,000 machine, which will allow her to create lace-making patterns for sale around the world.

An example of the laser-cut design and the finished piece of lace it produces.

An example of the laser-cut design and the finished piece of lace it produces.

She said: “There is no one else in the UK doing this at the moment, so it is a real innovation for the craft.

“Making the patterns digitally speeds up the process, means they can be reproduced and is more accurate than relying on the human hand.”

Louise began her lace-making career in 1992, and now runs her own studio in Derby after completing an MA in multimedia and 3D lace design at the city’s university.

Her business has been running for five years, and in 2017 she published a book of original patterns which has been in high demand worldwide.

Louise's book of designs has already proved popular with other lacemakers.

Louise's book of designs has already proved popular with other lacemakers.

She regularly teaches on specialist training courses across Europe, and will exhibit her work in the United States later this year.

She said: “The laser cuts will be a new development for the business, but it is a process I have developed over several years. Now I have the contacts to make it a viable option, and it’s a service that other designers are interested in using.”

Crowdfunding supporters can claim rewards ranging from patterns to corporate workshops. For full details, visit https://goo.gl/jqUG6W.

To learn more about Louise and samples of her work, see louisewestlacedesign.co.uk.

The painstaking craft, once an essential part of local industry, is now a matter of heritage preservation.

The painstaking craft, once an essential part of local industry, is now a matter of heritage preservation.