Veronika Irvine

About Veronika

Veronika Irvine.jpg

I began making bobbin lace in 1995 through a course offered by the Ottawa Guild of Lacemakers. I have a Master’s degree in applied mathematics and a Ph.D. in computer science. During my Ph.D. studies, I learned how mathematicians are revolutionizing the art of origami. Origami is 2000 years old but, for most of its history, artists only folded simple shapes. Over the past 50 years, by understanding the mathematics behind folding, the variety and complexity of possible shapes has exploded and origami is now being applied everywhere, from aerospace to medicine to TV commercials. Inspired by their success, for the past 8 years I have studied the mathematical principles that govern how we construct bobbin lace. Using graph theory, topology, knot and braid theory, computational geometry, combinatorics and many other tools from mathematics, I have been working to broadening our understanding of what is possible with bobbin lace.

You can see more of Veronika's work at:

Artist Statement

In my research, I have demonstrated that there are an infinite number of bobbin lace ground patterns. This isn’t just a mathematical exercise. It is clear evidence that the styles of bobbin lace that we know today are just a small sample of what is possible. Bobbin lace is very much alive and full of potential. I am interested in searching for lace grounds that are radically different, grounds that fit a modern aesthetic, but also grounds that have application ranging from the architectural scale to the nano-biology scale.


In this presentation, I will start with an overview of innovations in lace grounds over the history of bobbin lace, from their early role of holding motifs together to the ornate fillings and patterns found at the height of lace fashion, and finally to modern developments using logarithmic grids, mixed thread thicknesses and variations on cross-twist combinations.


I will then present ways to discover new grounds using technology and mathematical tools, from fitting parts together like interchangeable puzzle pieces, systematically transforming tile patterns into lace patterns and finally a glimpse into the potential of artificial intelligence in design.