From the age of 6, Ghislaine Cleiren learned crochet, knitting, embroidery and sewing through weekly classes in school. She loved working with fibre and made clothes, table accessories etc. from an early age. In 1978, just weeks before her emigration to Canada and encouraged by her sister-in-law, Julienne Sniekers, Ghislaine took a workshop in Bobbin lacemaking in Hasselt, Belgium. After emigrating she taught herself different techniques of bobbin lace. In the 90’s she was able to participate in workshops throughout North America and in Bruges. There she learned the techniques of Duchesse Lace, Metal wire lace and Milanese lace. She studied Design for lacemaking with Martine Bruggeman at the Kantcentrum. Since 1988 she designs and teaches bobbin lacemaking. To enhance her designing skills she is currently enrolled in different art workshops throughout Calgary and on line with City and Guiilds and Design Matters, she has completed courses in Art History, Art Style and Design. She has studied painting (oil, acrylic, watercolour), Silkpainting, Silk Screening, Mixed Media Collage and other art forms at Alberta College of Arts and with different artists throughout Calgary. Ghislaine Cleiren graduated with a degree in Pharmacy from the University of Leuven. and studied Marketing at the University of Calgary. She worked for two years in numerous Pharmacies in Belgium. She has worked in direct sales and in retail. She imported Leonidas Chocolates weekly from Belgium, and distributed chocolates through stores throughout Alberta.
Bobbin Lace is an intricate play between bobbins in all shapes and sizes and an array of threads in the colours of the evening sunset, intriguing both the onlookers and the creator of the lace. The last few years, lacemaking has enjoyed a revival in art academies throughout the world. It has encouraged me to explore it as an art medium. I play with new designs, forms, materials and dimensions. I am inspired by nature: plants and animals, and also by line, geometrical shapes and form. I like to experiment with different techniques, threads, cords and wire. I start with a sketch first and use that as my pattern for the lace.In my work I use mainly cotton threads, but also linen, silk, wool, metallic threads and metal wire as well as beads, pearls and crystals. I have worked in different mediums. Abstract art, created by reducing forms to their essence, by adding or subtracting from reality, vibrant colours, expressive brush strokes, lines, form, shape and texture has intrigued me for many years. The more I studied possibilities in lace designs, the more I became interested in combining abstract painting and silk painting with the texture and patterns created by lace threads. I have recently picked up this challenge and I hope to create a body of work that is original, balanced and harmonious.