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The Dutch design firm Demakersvan created this lace chain-link fence in response to a challenge by the Design Center at Philadelphia University: to create a site-specific work inspired by a collection of historic Quaker lace for an exhibition called Lace in Translation. Demakersvan totally transformed ugly industrial fencing by applying what looks to me to be tatting, the age-old technique of making intricate patterns of lace by hand, using a single thread. It’s such a simple and great idea to temper the almost universal ugliness and reproach (KEEP OUT!!) of chain link, it’s a wonder no one thought of it before. Demakersvan sums it up: “Like brambles fences are rising rampantly around us. What would happen if a patch of embroidered wire would meet with and continue as an industrial fence. Hostility versus kindness, industrial versus craft.

Demakersvan asked the simple question “What would happen if…? to find their brilliant idea.

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If, in your mind, you superimpose the Lace Fence over the chain-link fences around vacant lots and industrial parks like these…

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…you can envision them transformed by the “kindness” of lace.

Demakersan used a high-end metal fabric to create their fence, which is white and pristine. I wonder why not just apply tatting to a real metal fence – perhaps using a heavy industrial string or thread –  for a do-it-yourself version. My fantasy: learn to tat from from someone who knows how (like my friend Eleanor in West Virginia) or online from some careful instructions or a video

and start tatting chain-link…teach friends to tat chain-link… and set loose a small army of subversive tatters, changing the landscape.

12 replies on “d-i-y? lace chain-link fence

  1. Great idea!!! We are planning a Community Garden in Putnam, CT and are trying to agree on the nicest, yest durable fence. This is a very interesting idea!

  2. And I recently saw a chain link fence used as a sort of loom; strips of plastic were woven in-and-out through the warp and weft. Made me think: what if you used some really beautiful material, or even a great color plastic?

    Please send us pictures with what you come up with.

  3. All right, you can sneak your link in here, since you DO actually make chain link fences. Only you really should lace em up!

  4. It makes for a friendlier fence because it doesn’t completely shut out the neighbors, or light for the garden.

  5. Not at all like tatting (which is awesome) 🙂 but very similar to embroidery on net in both style and execution.
    I love this example of large scale needle art. Thank you for sharing it online!

  6. I think the style is that of bobbin lace. I’ve been teaching myself how to do it, and the “net” pattern is one of the first and easiest.

  7. Really cool idea. I’ve been trying to find out how it was done in the pictures I’ve seen online. It really does make the chain link fences look as decorative as the other types of vinyl and not so industrial. Thank you posting! I really want to try this out, but I think it would have to be with something more durable.

  8. I work at a summer camp, and would love a video demo on how to do something like this on the chain link fence surrounding our pool. We’re on a budget, so if you can suggest something durable that can be repurposed, I would appreciate any tips you have.

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