MANTZALIN explores the potential of bobbin lace to form three-dimensional shapes and to transcend the domain of a mere decoration to become an independent functional object in space. Being true to the traditional fabrication method of bobbin lace, Manca works with unconventional materials used in lieu of the thin thread – for various scales different materials are used from metal wire and cable to thick rope.
Nature’s organic shapes are the most common inspiration for Manca’s works in which she looks for the primary forms to combine them with the decorative geometric patterns of the lace structure to give lace a new, spatial significance.
Manca Ahlin has been practicing handcrafts (everything from crochet and knitting to basket weaving and carpentry) already during her Heidi-style childhood in the highlands of Western Slovenia. During entire primary school she was also attending the Lace School in Žiri, which is with its 110 years of operation one of the main centers of lacemaking in the region. Studying product design and architecture in Ljubljana and Barcelona she focused on contemporary, computer driven methods of design.
After years of successful collaborations in architecture, where she also won numerous awards, Manca became increasingly interested in the connection between architecture and lace. Her latest works in spatial lace installation have received international acclaim and been published worldwide. Currently based in New York, Manca explores the intersection between traditional craft and contemporary design through her brand Mantzalin. She moves easily through several levels of scale in her fabrications, from jewelry pieces to large architectural installations.