Derby lacemaker achieves crowdfunding target in four weeks

Louise West

A Derby lacemaker, who recently launched a crowdfunding campaign to enable her to expand her business, has reached her £7,500 target in just four weeks.

Louise West, who is based at Connect Derby’s Friar Gate Studios, was looking for financial backing to help with the purchase of a £13,000 high-tech laser cutter, which would enable her to create intricate lace-making patterns for sale to enthusiasts around the world. 

Donations came in from lacemakers across the globe, including the USA and Australia, and she succeeded in reaching her £7,500 target in just 28 days.

The craft of lacemaking, once an essential part of local industry, is now a matter of heritage preservation. These days people lack the time needed to make bobbin lace, but the process makes the actual creating of the lace more accessible.

Louise aims to make it even easier by producing the lace patterns ready to work. The attention to detail on the preparation is crucial for good lace and the new laser-cutter takes the effort out of that process.

Commenting on the new project, Louise said: “The reaction to my crowdfunding campaign has been fantastic. It’s been great to see that lace making can capture the public’s imagination, despite being a heritage craft.

“No one else in the UK is doing this at the moment, so it is a real innovation for the craft. Making patterns digitally speeds up the process, meaning they can be reproduced, and it is more accurate than relying on the human hand.

“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.”

Ann Bhatti, head of Connect Derby, added: “We’re all really thrilled that Louise has reached her crowdfunding total so quickly. She’s a very talented and valued tenant at Friar Gate Studios and we’d like to wish her every success with her exciting new ventures.”