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Bio Fashion Future Fashion


Tuesday, November 29, 2016

 

In ‘Dream Out Loud’ in Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam Bart Hess exhibited a range of wax molds, looking like dresses, that were made around a female model titled ‘Digital Artifacts’. His concept being that everyone can print their own reusable ‘second skin’, a garment fitted exactly to an individual body. If everyone would be able to print their own so called ‘personal uniform’ (a set of clothing that is to be worn daily) it would result in a decrease of the production process of garments in countries like China and Bangladesh, “saving” the people involved from their horrible working conditions. The problem here is that, for one, not many people own a 3D printer and that, in this time of resource scarceness, virgin material would still need to be used (for the making of 3D printers and for new printing material).

For an interview with Bart Hess about other works click here.

barthess  Digital Artefacts, Bart Hess_02CBs
‘Digital Artifacts’ by Bart Hess for the ‘Dream Out Loud’ exhibition in het Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam.

Although Bart Hess’ idea of the personal uniform is durable, the (re)printing of it is not. As a more eco-friendly alternative, new developments are arising in the world of textiles; bacterial fabric, which enables us to grow clothing from bacteria and fungi. Another name for it, founded by Sacha Laurin, is ‘Kombucha Couture‘, referring to the Kombucha fermented green tea that is used in the process. Kombucha mixed with sugar and SCOBY (Symbiotic Colony Of Bacteria and Yeast), left inside a container in a warm, dark room will feed the yeast and bacteria. This can be done by anyone from home (see the previous link). These will grow threads of cellulose, which will layer and eventually form a watery consistency which then needs to be dried out. What is left in the end is a fabric like structure and that can be sown into garments and jewellery. As shown below Sacha Laurin has mastered the element, making beautifully coloured, natural and durable garments.

For more information on biomaterial and a done home experiment see Jana’s blogpost titled Material Alchemy.

sachalaurinn  sachalaurin

Pieces of ‘Kombucha Couture’ by Sacha Laurin.

Suzanne Lee of BioCouture is another fashion designer who is working with bacterial fabrics. In various TED-talks she she explains her process and further developments she has made regarding the colouring of the fabric. She for instance found out that due to the matter’s high level of water absorbancy the bacterial fabric does not need more than one dip in indigo to make it blue, whereas cotton needs several, making it much more durable. It can also be coloured with natural materials such fruit and vegetable pulp, turmeric and others like metal (which will turn it black). Another thing is that if the fabric is placed around an object or body while it is still wet it will dry conform to the corresponding forms and shapes, creating a second skin.

bacterialfabricgrowth  biomaterial
Left: Growth of cellulose with Kombucha.
Right: Wet Kombucha cellulose left to dry.

maxresdefault  Biocouturegarment

Left: Suzanne Lee draping the wet Kombucha cellulose onto a mannequin.
Right: The dried garment made out of bacterial cellulose.

biocouture4

Biker jacket made out of Kombucha fabric and iron nails, which turns the material black naturally.

Another way of using microbes to create fabric-like materials is the process of fermentation. This process is found in the making of wine and beer and it can be used to make biofabrics by letting the microbes grow a layer of cellulose on top of the wine or beer. This is part of the research that is being done for the ‘Bioalloy‘ project by of the University of Western Australia since 2005 until today.

Beer-Dress-dummy    wineDress41  wine-dress-3

Fermented dresses made out of beer (left); “The Beer Dress”, and wine (middle and right); “Micro’be by Donna Franklin and Gary Cass for Bioalloy.

The problem Bart Hess encountered in his search for a second skin can be solved with bio fabric. His problem being that none of the materials he tried (such as wax, latex and foam) would let the skin breathe enough for it to be bearable to wear for a long time. Coming from a breathing organism itself the bacterial fabric will let the skin breathe and will act in a more similar way than plastics and other synthetic materials will. This fact brings it closer to being a second skin. Besides, everyone growing their own clothes would be much more environmentally friendly than everyone printing their own clothes, which would mean that everyone would have to own a 3D printer. Firstly, because bacterial fabric is biodegradable waste material made by bacteria/fungi whereas plastics are not biodegradable. Secondly, because the 3D-printing would require the use of new materials and electricity, which bacterial fabric does not necessarily.

However, a big problem with bacterial fabric is that it is highly water absorbent. Once it comes in contact with rain or sweat the fabric will start to swell, making it unpleasantly slimy to carry on your body. More and more research is being done on the front of bacterial/fungal fabrics, by Stichting Mediamatic in Amsterdam for example (you can read their articles on fermented fashion and bio-couture). They have an aim to find consistencies that would be usable as textiles for fashion, it should not be too difficult or time-consuming to find a way to make bacterial fabric water resistant and/or repellent. All the research being done also means that the concept of everyone growing their own clothes is realizable in the not so distant future.

biofabricbiofabricc

Patterns made out of Kombucha fabric.

A different development by MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) is the adaption of a Japanese cooking bacteria, the so called Baccilus Subtilis, to react in size to moisture and humidity levels. When they are sown into garments and strategically placed on the body in flaps they will open and close depending on the heat and amount of sweat the body radiates, allowing the skin to ventilate. This development comes one step closer to finding the second skin (and the personal uniform) that Bart Hess is looking for. It could provide us all with a personal uniform, starting a movement of slow fashion and fighting crises such as overproduction, environmental waste and resource scarceness.

second-skinsecond-skin-2

The bacterial flaps by MIT sown into a garment.

So, in conclusion, I will state that bio fashion, more specifically; bacterial fashion, is the future of all fashion. The production level of garments is higher than ever due to the speed in which trends nowadays come and go. At the same time, the earth’s resources are being drained and it’s surfaces polluted, human population is rising and life expectancy is increasing. As you can hopefully see, this is not a durable combination and something has to change in the way we produce and consume. Thus, we have to slow down the unsustainable rhythm of fast fashion that we are in and we can do that with the help of microorganisms, now.

 

dis play


Friday, May 15, 2015

 

who inspires you?

she asked

who?

I thought…

what?

I thought then…

meet this person and get inspired

make a work out of this experience

she said

and so I met a fashion designer

young man

very pretty

he said that fashion is like a colouring book

we have certain outlines and we have to fill the ´surface´

and then he said a lot of other thing, too

and made me pay for his coffee

and then, biking through Albert Cuypstraat, I was thinking of the colouring books

and about what it is, that we are filing the given shape with

finding:

Yamaha

Pepsi

24

N-power

Avis

I love sport

Fedex

Virgin

Bronx NYC crew

Alpinestar

nike just do it

WELLA PROFESSIONALS

keep calm and swag

avatar

dr.Oetker

clothing is a billboard

I understood

a display which is touching every single corner of our lives except the shower corner

and then I thought further what makes us want to proudly wear a company logo on our chests and how could we make a use of this display that we are constantly wearing

and then I did not know what to do for a while

and then I knew again

I made a plan to make a comfortable universal sweatshirt which will have a displaying function beside the warm keeping, protecting and covering one

what would I fill the surface with?

what surface?

I wondered

and so I bought a surface

blank, grey sweatshirt

I decided to make a use of the existing shape of the sweatshirt and challenge the idea of temporary and replaceable advertisement on it

but how?

I thought

Removable sleeves?

but how?

adding a zipper?

or a velcro?

zipper

and so I added a zipper on the sleeves and by doing so, I allowed the printed advertisement/ promotional element to be easily removed or replaced by another one

I made a list of small businesses that I really truly want to support and promote

I gathered the logos of all of them

 

2mala1 mala kopie

 

the print will come on the sleeves

I made another decision

but how?

screen print?

okay

the screen print studio works on the base of appointments

you must discuss your idea with the screen print assistant first

then an appointment is made

attention: it sometimes lasts over two weeks

you start printing with the assistant

hopefully you can work independent later

costs

yes costs…

no

I am not going to screen print my logos

what else can I do?

transfer print it

of course

I printed my logos onto a specially coated transfer paper

then they were applied onto textile under the heat press

and there it was

logos on my sleeves

I looked at the sweatshirt in my hands

I wanted to wear it immediately

and I did

and it felt good

but it did not feel good enough

so I took it off and looked again

and after some time I wrote down

70cm metal zipper standard + another sleeves + velcro pocket question mark

and then I went to Jan

and made another pair of sleeves

black

I put transparent, removable pockets on them

and I like them a lot

and then I looked again

they told me I have to look and reflect on my work during my process

so I did

I reflected

and I asked myself

what is it that I have now?

sweatshirt design?

yes

and what else?

and then I started my analysis

see here: video

 

 

33 16

1 21

 

 

 

 

 

Sensors and supervision


Wednesday, November 26, 2014


The exhibition The Future of Fashion Is Now at the museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam features established and upcoming designers questioning and challenging the premises of contemporary fashion. One of the contributing designers is the canadian designer Ying Gao, who in her work Incertitudes used speech- and motion-activated sensors hidden within two white dresses covered with thousands of small needles, reminiscent of porcupine coats. The gestures and noises of a viewer or passerby forces the attached pins to move, transforming the garment as well as the contours of its wearer. In her description of the piece, Gao refers to the constant stress and uncertainty of modern day individuals, always flexible and ready to adapt to new situations.
Gao was participating in the section of the exhibition called Materiality and Experience, which makes perfect sense in consideration of her other works, also making use of innovative technological solutions. Besides Incertitudes, she has also investigated light-reactive electronic components, by creating coats that move depending on the intensity of a light source, such as a flashlight. Involving interactive techniques in fashion could bring a sense of dynamism to the concept of clothing. When permitting participation/interaction with surroundings and spectators, the pieces rapidly distinguish themselves from any garment that is delivered already “done”. Bypassing flatness and immobility, they become equipped with a quality of sensibility and refinement.

 

researchweb2

 1.
• Flexible Pressure Sensors • Incertitudes (close-up) by Ying Gao • Silver nano wire sensors • (Now)here (Now)here (close-up) by Ying Gao • Solar Powered Jacket by Tommy Hilfiger

 

Combining aesthetics with the latest technological developments is not always an uncomplicated process. Successful and sophisticated design of hi-tech clothing is still limited to a small number of fortunate tries. We slowly move away from the “ugliness” that usually haunt technical innovations in their early years. The industry could be seen as going through a process of normalization, where the feeling of the relatively unnecessary “tech gadget” is left behind.Designers experimenting with the new possibilities are however operating in an unexplored grey area somewhere between usefulness, beauty and supervision. When letting technology become autonomous and enabling it to take its own decisions, the designer releases control over the outcome. Reducing his or her position by introducing chance and fate will inevitably lead to new opportunities and new situations.
Although the integration of data-collecting sensors in fabric has a natural relevance for the innovative clothing designers, the use of such equipment will most likely not be restricted to the fashion industry only. This could mean infinite possibilities – the risk of abuse on civil liberties should be taken into consideration. What if the occurrence of intelligent fabrics was as widespread (but also overlooked) as surveillance cameras in public spaces? If biometric textile was put on the seats of public transport? Or misused, as if put on animals or plants? How would our experience of daily life change if speech- and motion reacting sensors were installed in supermarkets, shopping centers, cafés? If objects/garments changed with the impact of our mere presence?

 

research 2web2

 2.
• Infrared motion sensor burglar alarm • Digital persona Fingerprint reader • AR. 2.0 Parrot Model drone • System Azure Security Ornamentation by Jill Magid • Facial Weaponization Suit by Zach Blas

 

It is nowadays clear that smart wristbands (as well as watches, jewelry and other attachable items) tracking, measuring and analyzing the bearers every movement is a constantly growing industry. The technique of smart fabrics and integrated sensors in clothing is evolving equally rapid, thereby soon making the act of strapping on an external device unnecessary. By inserting sensors capable of tracking very precise information already in the fabrics, data on motion, size, location, force, weight or shape could easily be collected.
Technological monitoring of human movement is however nothing new. The first closed-circuit TV cameras (CCTV) came into use already in 1942 during the observation of a rocket launch in Peenemünde, Germany. Surveillance camera systems performing continuous video recording has been a common practice almost ever since. Among more recent developments are biometric recognition (face, fingerprints etc), aerial surveillance (helicopters, drones etc.) and naturally everything related to internet and social media. Could the integration of intelligent fabrics be a suitable addition to this process?

 

research 3web2

3.
• Google Glasses • Ritot smart wristband • Flexible Skin Temperature Sensor • Necklace Projector • Smartphone

 

New wearable technology are in some aspects already being used as a means of self-control and self-reflection, as a way of eliminating chance and the unforeseen at any cost. The behavior could be linked to the ongoing obsession with observing and measuring the own body. Health, sport and the perfecting of ones physical appearance has gotten a new trendy twist with smart apparel, fitting quite well into the all-encompassing life project certain enthusiastic users are living by. Are we moving from an attitude of authoritarian respect from earlier times and into a slavery of self discipline and personal surveillance? From the all-seeing, omnipresent monitor to the individual supervising itself?
The existence of hidden, interactive sensors and reactive fabrics is undeniably a relevant topic – the potential is striking. Anyone curious in new means of communication could possibly avoid the advancement of smart textile in modern daily life, reaching us all within a very near future.

On a personal level, I ask myself if there could be some sort of spirituality to be found in this technology of supervision? Is there an empty space to be filled in secular societies, leading up to this voluntary self-surveillance through different types of apparel and other devices? The subject is fascinating both from an artistic point of view as well as a philosophical/ethical one. 

 

research 4web2

4.

• Conan O'Brien tries Dream Weaver (video) • Chakra Balancing application • Deepak Chopras Dream Weaver • iPhone surveillance

 

How do we as individuals deal with the concept of spirituality, truth and privacy in the age of technology? The adaption to new conditions is unavoidable, but becomes more and more a matter of privileges.
The revelations on to what extent state supervision is currently practiced (Edward Snowden, NSA, Wikileaks) chocked a whole world and deepened the conflict with the established, monotheistic religions believing in the One and only God to monitor and judge all human action. Surveillance relates to different aspects of privacy, such as privacy of property, of space, of personality and of thought. Worthy of note is that not everyone has the economical means to question authoritarian demands on personal information, with the consequence of privacy possibly turning into a valuable property that only a select few can access.
New forms of spiritual practice and/or self-monitoring take shape with the aid of technological devices. Smartphone applications connected to health, higher power, meditation, zen etc. are immensely popular, offering a re-charging of the soul similar to the charging of batteries. When spiritual leaders such as Deepak Chopra releases biosensorical glasses promising relaxation and inner peace the merging of spirituality and technology is indisputably a fact. Are they all yet another expression of an egocentric, self-obsessed Western society or a useful tool to actually reconnect lost searchers of truth?
In any case, a space has opened up for an intimate, personal form of spirituality disconnected from the dogmas of organized religions whilst also distancing itself from sovereign state control. The idea of scientific knowledge as the superior way of accessing truth is once again questioned – and is it necessarily in opposition to all spiritual methods? To conclude: it is visible how technology/the visible and spirituality/the invisible intertwine and affect each other more and more in modern societies. This provides interesting opportunities for artists to question and investigate further, and I am certain that projects such as Ying Gaos is only a preview of what the future will hold.  

 

Parallel Landscape


Friday, November 21, 2014

In general the work of Aliki van der Kruijs explores the relationship (context) between colour, culture and environment with a specialization in textile. Nature is material and subject at the same time. During the master Applied Art at the Sandberg Institute (2012) Aliki juxtaposed her graphic- and fashion design background into a practice where textile as information-carrier plays a fundamental role.
Her thesis Parallel landscape is part of CONTEXTILE: a research into colour, context, text & textile. This thesis is not about what colours are but attempts to see what colours can do.
 

pl1
To read the full thesis you can click the image above or link to ISUU where it is published among her “Traveling concepts” like Made by Rain and others.

Aliki vd Kruijs at ISUU.com

 

BOOKParallellandscape1-2

Parallel Landscape, Sandberg Institute thesis by Aliki van der Kruijs 2012 : graphic design icw Lena Steinborn

quotes:

Colour is everywhere. Everything is coloured. Colour is always the characteristics of something. Colour is an ever-changing self. Can colour support itself? Where does colour become visible? How do we make use of colours? Can colour become an environment in itself?

The remarkable thing about colour is the way it takes place. Visible as well invisible. This thesis is not about what colours are but attempts to see what colours can do.

I tried to find out how colours are changing location and dimension. It’s a thesis on how colour takes place parallel to the landscape in which they emerge.

 

Weaving through the paradoxes and dilemmas in protesting


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

After clicking around this Designblog, I came across the post about Caroline Lindo’s thesis work ”The Surface of Protest”. The post is called ”Creating Destruction” which i find quite an intriguing contradiction. In her thesis project Caroline Lindo is investigating the meaning of protesting, different ways of doing so and which meaning they each imply. She essentially aims at answering the question: ”What is the most efficient – yet morally just – way of protesting?”

I would indeed like to know the answer to this question.

Lindo is directly relating the rules and structures of society and economics to the craft of weaving which apparently is also quit a rigid system (written in the attached PDF). Lindo tells us of have the warp (the amount of lengthwise yarns, that are held in tension within a frame, for threads to go under and over), within the art of weaving, has symbolized the basic structure of living which humans have to accept. The weft (the thread or yarn pulled through the warp) represents all the choices and decisions humans make for themselves in life.

 

Skærmbillede 2014-04-09 kl. 10.45.10

 

I find this symbolism quite moving.

To me it seems that with this as the background, Lindo is reconsidering which weft to take, instead of using the one given to her by society. Can you even make a protest using the ”weft” given to you by society or do you have to cut all of these threads and come up with new ones yourself? Will anything constructive aspire from this? Is it hypocrisy to use the tread – the means, structure, environment given by society – in making protest? Or is it not? These are all questions she is investigating  throughout her thesis.

As a research field she attended Occupy Amsterdam, which went worldwide in 2008 as a reaction on the financial crisis. She is studying the way of protesting through the tent-cities, which occurred during the same events. I always find it quite striking whenever someone manages to making such an abstract theme tangible, as Lindo does.

 

Fashion With a Gold Tread


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

2013. We eat while we walk the dog and call our grandmother at the same time. There’s no time for sitting down. You see, time is money, and definitely not worth spending on a bench in a beautiful park doing nothing – or on repairing an unraveled sweater. It’s easier (and cheaper perhaps) just to buy a new one. But can time be measured in gold? We talk a lot about time over our worn out jackets.

 

 

Perhaps a short explanation is needed.

Seven years ago, Saskia van Drimmelen gathered a few people she knew and shipped off to Bulgaria. After eight years of designing clothes for the fashion elite in Paris, she had decided to quit her own (and at that point quite successful) brand, in search of a more fulfilling way of making clothes. In a book about Bulgarian crafts, she had found pictures of needlepoint lace unlike anything she had ever seen before – and so the treasure hunt begun. What started as a research on old fashioned and nearly forgotten techniques, became what today is known as Painted.

They call themselves a hybrid fashion collective. Many people stand behind the name Painted, but in the front seats you find Saskia together with theater director (and also Bulgaria explorer) Margreet Sweerts.
Their latest project is called Golden Joinery. Inspired by an old Japanese tradition where broken ceramics are repaired with golden paint, Saskia and Margreet invite you to repair your ragged clothes with a golden thread. They organize workshops where you can bring your beloved but broken sweater, jacket, dress or pair of jeans, and together you make it as good as – or perhaps even better than – new. And this is the frame of our conversation.

 

 

Painted is doing something different. In lack of a better name – perhaps combined with peoples need to categorize everything – Painted and their series of clothes are often referred to as slow fashion. Saskia and Margreet rather (if they really have to give it a name) call it slow clothes. Though many of the ideas behind their brand is compatible with the slow fashion thinking (like the sustainability and the anti buy and throw away mentality) Painted is still doing something different.

They work in the periphery of the fashion world, far away from catwalks, collections and trends (when they were asked to open the Amsterdam International Fashion Week, their answer was a YES with a big BUT – resulting in a room where models practised their tightrope skills, while the audience could walk around and watch).

Painted means spending time on making the clothes. Most of their garments are developed over years, and a normal procedure could be this: One starts making, lets say, a dress. Then leaves it to rest for a while, until somebody else finds the inspiration to continue. The garment grows in the hands of different people, until it’s finished. Nothing is planned or designed to the end, it becomes while it’s being made. All the contributors have something to say, and every piece is different from another.

 

 

I asked Saskia and Margreet what they thought making something by hand added to a clothing, and they answered with returning the question; What do I think making something by hand adds to a clothing? I was not capable of giving a straight answer at the time being –  and I’m not sure I am today either. But I know it adds something. Something of value, whatever that means. I know for instance that buying sweaters on a fleamarket and only afterwards realizing that it has been made by somebody’s hands, makes the scoop three times as good. This is of course a quite subjective way of thinking. Perhaps my idea of an old, gray haired and slightly chubby woman, sitting in a rocking chair knitting (I know this is the case only one out of twenty times) makes the sweater even warmer. Or maybe it’s the idea of somebody spending their time doing it that warms?

By the end of our talk, Margreet draws a scenario; If your house was burning, and you could only save what you could carry in your arms – what would it be (and now let’s look beyond computers and smartphones)? After the workshop, thinking about what I would have saved, I realize that this might be what Saskia and Margreet are trying to create in their clothes. A value that goes beyond money. Not just another really beautiful dress – but a garment with something close to affection.

I like to think that time invested in an out dying technique (let’s say a Bulgarian needlepoint lace) or in repairing an unraveled sweater makes it more worth than the machine produced alternative. I mean, time is after all money. Maybe we just haven’t learned to recognise the currency yet.

www.paintedseries.com

 

 

Epilog
After attending their workshop, and becoming a part of their secret, golden brand, Margreet and Saskia asked me to add a song to their playlist, a song about something broken or golden. Not that it really has anything to do with anything, but it’s about a broken heart and I felt like it belonged here as well.

Christopher Owens – A Broken Heart

 

Golden Joinery – a fashion label with focus on the genuine, personal meeting


Friday, May 24, 2013

 

Quick fashion, one trend after another. Passion for fashion becomes synonymous with renewing yourself and being up to date.

In today’s reality where we consume more than we need, where we meet and communicate through one screen or another and where machines can basically do everything, there are some necessities for experiencing the genuine and personal that cannot be simulated by any kind of machines.

Saskia van Drimmelen has been a fashion designer for two decades, graduating from the fashion Department of Arnhem Academy of Arts. For eight years she had her own brand and followed the fashion markets system with presenting two collections per year. Her collections were selling at leading boutiques such as Colette (Paris), Brown (London) and Van Ravenstein (Amsterdam). Her work was shown and bought by museums all over the world and Adidas asked her to design a sneaker. But along the way her interest and approach changed direction. Together with Margreet Sweerts, theater director, she begun to investigate ways to create more personal, unique, “slow” clothes and in 2007 they started Painted Series – a story in garment. A label with an embrace of handmade as opposed to mass production. They travelled to places where almost forgotten knowledge of craftwork still was practiced. To Bulgaria where women knew the tradition of making needlepoint and from the Assiniboine tribe in Northern America they learned about beadery. Collaborations started with different people involved to make the slowly ever-growing collection, like a bands repertoire. The collection is not bound to a season or trends.

The starting point for Saskia and Margreet were beautiful antique family garments from Bulgaria that had been inherited through generations and added to in each led. The pieces carried a story and a soul that inspired the duo to create garments with the same idea of letting designers and artisans traditional techniques contribute. As a result the collaboration creates a personal, unique, delicate piece of clothes that carries a story, tradition and a close relationship to its creators.

With the quote from Leonard Cohen “There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in” the Painted present their latest project Golden Joinery. Often when we repair broken things we do it with intention to hide it and make it as if new. An alternative “broken is better than new” aesthetic – that it actually can add value and the symbolic aspects – fascinates the fashion collective. With the passion for imperfect love they invite me for a workshop where clothes that are broken or stained can be repaired with a golden scar. The inspiration came from the Japanese tradition of repairing broken ceramics with golden paint, a technique called Kintsugi. The invitation is to bring a piece of clothes that you hold dearly and that is defect, to a workshop and repair it with the same idea as Kintsugi, with golden thread or patches of golden textile. The clothes breath new life by sharing the joy of making with the traditional techniques and an important aspect is the experience and the interaction. The participants are contributing to a new brand that slowly will arise.

 

 Gintsugi on a Seigan's Ido shape tea bowl [source]

In Painted’s studio in the west of Amsterdam, four women came together with the originators of Golden Joinery and their brought broken beloved clothes wear. For a couple of hours we took a break from our duties and sat down to repair and to meet. I brought for myself a “new” but long looked for, perfectly worn out second hand leather jacket. The seams on the inside were completely trashed, the lining material was sticking out every time I put it on. I healed it with golden thread and the jacket slowly held together again. The golden thread gives me the feeling that it will hold forever. Knowing that, I will walk around with the golden thread on the inside, towards my body giving the feeling of a secret. If the jacket opens you might glimpse some shimmer and if you ever heard about Golden Joinery you will know the deal.

 

 

The people that come to the workshop are now a part of a new slowly arising brand. The logo, a small golden ellipse, that Saskia stitched on the left inside of my jacket is shining like a beetle and makes me a part of the ever-growing Golden Joinery. The event and the knowledge that more people have been joining the same thing –and you might spot the signs on the street–, makes it a bit special. My relationship to this jacket is now closer, like a friend that I supported. I haven’t known the friend for a long time but some you get close to quicker and some events can enhance this intimacy. This definitely did.

 

Apart from Amsterdam, Painted will give the workshop Golden Joinery to enrich garments in Maastricht, New York, Wrightwood, Ahmedabad, Eindhoven, Paris and Mallorca.

Stedelijk Design Show 2013 /Proposed Highlights


Monday, April 8, 2013

19 Rietveld Foundation Year students visited the "Stedelijk Collection Highlights /Design". Marveling at the many masterpieces, commenting on the applied or autonomous character of pieces in this highlight presentation, they arrived at the last part of this "depot salon", wondering what contemporary design would have in store for them and how it would look like. To their regret the presented selection faded out without any opinion on the latest developments in design; social engagement or neo crafts
Researching contemporary design we propose this "2013 Supplementary" as a possible continuation, an imaginary online next exhibition space.

click on images to visit the exhibit

 

 

selected designers are: Mark van der Gronden /site • Daan Roosegaarde /site • Tauba Auerbach /site • James Dyson /site • Ferruccio Laviani /site • Mediamatic /site • Leonid Tishkov /site • Jonathan Ive /site • Liliana Ovalle /site • People People /site • Nucleo /site • Faltazi Lab /site • Michelle Weinberg /site

 

Color in Relation to our Lives


Friday, March 29, 2013

A bright pink page of the book drew me to it. It was lying in a showcase in the Stedelijk Museum amongst many other objects and flyers, but the brightness of the opened page made the book stand out. On the left page you could see a picture of an Indian girl sitting behind a table. On the table in between her hands was a small heap of bright pink powder, almost the same color as the bindi on her forehead. The page on the right was a page of bright pink textile.

This book (put together by Nikki Gonnissen and Thomas Widdershoven) shows works and gives a feel of the work by Fransje Killaars, a dutch artist who graduated from the Rijksacadamie in 1984. In the beginning of her career she mainly made paintings, but it is her later work, her textiles, which attracts me most.

I read in an article about Fransje Killaars that she is fascinated by the power of color, the relationship between people and textiles and the way textiles are bound up in daily life. I was able to take a closer look at the book in the library of the Stedelijk Museum and I was surprised to see how much more attractive Fransje Killaar’s work is portrayed in that book than for example the images on Google search. It was then that I realized that like Fransje Killaars I was not only fascinated by the power of color, but especially the combination of colors in our daily lives. Seeing Fransje Killaars’ textiles transforming an old attic

space into a bohemian paradise,
or seeing her carpets thrown over a washing line hung amongst palms

seems to play much more on the imagination rather than seeing the fabrics placed in the middle of a white clean gallery space.

In a gallery space the work is merely about colors; about the contrast between them and the brightness that a color can have. Yet for me the excitement comes when you find bright colors in someone’s kitchen, when colors pop up amongst plants, how sunlight can give a color different shades and all colors on the knit sweaters of the Rietveld students in the winter.

 

I caught myself playing around with this fascination on my guilty pleasure.

Instagram

I try to eat an orange every day, but before I get to peeling it I like to take a picture of the bright orange against the clothing I am wearing that day. I have realized that by doing so I put a frame around a moment or literally make a snapshot of the moment. It may be only esthetics, but for me it is quite a luxury that you can find such esthetics in everyday life.
The combination of color and the sense of touch is another element, which I find rather appealing. Holding the skin of an orange against a green, wool knit sweater, running your hands over a an orange shag rug or a purple suede dress is often much more exciting than looking at the same colors on a 2d canvas. Do not get me wrong; I have nothing against the great color field painters, who can use colors in a fragile and moving way. These painters succeed in translating emotions into color, into paint, but when it comes to the exuberance of a color or the contrast between them I think this can be best portrayed in a more hands on manner.

The brightness and the vividness of the use in colors in Fransje Killaar’s textiles seem to be more about the celebration of life, about the joy that a blotch of color can add to every day scenery. The use of color in her work is about the beauty of variety. It is not without reason that a mixture of joyful and interesting people is referred to as colorful. The pink page in the book was what had grasped my attention, but the comparison made with the girl holding the same color pink in between her hands and a trace of the color left as a dot in between her eyes is what made me linger and look at it more carefully.

Studio Gonnissen en Widdershoven: Fransje Killaars (1997)


Monday, March 11, 2013

Fransje Killaars is a Dutch artist who graduated from the Rijksakademie in 1984. She started with a lot of paintings, but is now well known for her installations of brightly colored textiles. Both the paintings and textiles share the importance of use of color. She is fascinated by the power of color, the relationship between people and textiles and the way textiles are bound up with daily life. Her artwork is characterized by her use of fields of bright colors placed next to or on top of each other. The colors hardly ever blend together.
The book was put together by Nikki Gonnissen and Thomas Widdershoven. It is composed of pictures and different pieces of bright textile. When Fransje went to India and visited the different textile workplaces the bright colors inspired her and convinced her to work more with textile. Her trip there directly lead to this work, where she filled an attic space with bright hand woven carpets.

 

I picked this book because I was attracted by the bright colors. The format of the book brings out Fransje Killaars’ style very well. By adding a page of colored fabric in between pictures of her installations it gives the audience a sense of the touch and the brightness of the carpets in the room. The pictures in the book are also pictures of the textiles in more every day environments rather than a lot of the pictures which you see when you Google the artist. I find the pictures in a more natural environment far more interesting than in a gallery space, which I believe brings more justice to her work because she is interested in the way textiles are bound up in daily life.

I personally love the physical use of color for example in everyday objects, clothing or textiles, especially bright, hard colors more than pale or pastels. I am also very attracted to the contrast between the colors, which Fransje Killaars also uses in her work. As you can see the bright shades are placed next to each other, striped or polka dotted. This emphasizes the difference and variety of the colors, rather than blending them together. This in combination with texture is even more appealing to me. Being able to hold the color and attach the sense of touch to it, moving them around and placing them next to new colors I find very exciting and this is exactly what Fransje seems to be doing in her textile works.

 


DRESS-INDEX #15


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

When I look at the first research I did, I find some detail pictures of what people are wearing, pictures of hands, but most notable are the pictures of people sitting on the ground. In our classroom the ground is so full with our stuff and our bodies. We leave everything on the ground, our bags, clothes, camera’s and projects. When I look at the pictures everybody looks comfortable sitting on the ground and in a way vulnerable. The vulnerability is what interests me.

When I showed the research to Elisa she noted that because of the way of seeing and capturing, the bodies are in a weird perspective. Elisa showed the book “all events are even” from the photographer Mark Borthwick, I like the forms he creates in his images, the feeling it gives me connects with my research. I tried to compare the pictures of clothes on the ground with the pictures of people sitting on the ground. By removing all the skin and hair, I thought I would make them more similar to the clothes and bags on the ground. The comparison doesn’t really work, only a little because of the colors. But for me the pictures of the people sitting are much more interesting because they bring the clothes to life. I found it nice to discover that without the hair and skin, you don’t take away the vulnerability in the image.

The space that is left when I cut the person, becomes grey in photoshop. It was suddenly a very grey photograph because the floor, walls, window frames, doors, almost everything in the building is grey. We color the school with ourselves. One of my try-out outfits is based on the idea of making a “Rietveld building dress”. Because Rietveld makes me think of “de Stijl” I thought of using the shape of the Yves Saint Laurent “Mondriaan dress”. I used a grey fabric.

The other try out was the same model but with a pattern of the silhouettes. The result was quite boring so I cut the silhouettes out of the dress. The dress looked a little bit nicer, but I liked the forms that where left over the most. The shape of the YSL dress, that I used in both try outs, was to dominant so it had to go.

I tried to make a new dress where the YSL model is replaced with two body silhouettes. I am not satisfied with the dress, it gives to much of a “tarzan and jane” feeling. Under the dress the model had the left over forms from the previous dress pressed to her body with panties. The forms are used as underwear.

In the fashion show there needed to be an action with every outfit. I am thought of that action to be “cutting”, because that was what I was doing in my research and try outs. The dress that my model is wearing and that I am going to cut out, is one big silhouette, made from a firm fabric. When you cut out someones clothes, what is under is revealed, something vulnerable.

Inspiration Yoko Ono “Cut Piece”

DRESS-INDEX #7


Monday, February 11, 2013

Gerrit Rietveld Academy. The building were I spend the most of my one hundred sixty eight hours the week has to offer. The building were I drink the most of my coffee , which I pick up in the canteen on the ground floor.

The canteen. There is my starting point.

When I look around I see a diagram of the clothes worn in Gerrit Rietveld. The canteen is a meeting point, were people from all departments as well as teachers and visitors take their coffee and have their meals. I find it interesting to sit there and look around. Nobody can know what I am thinking about and nobody cares.

I find it nice to look at the textiles, and since my background is in tailoring maybe it is almost an old habit. I try to realize if there is any trend going on. Is there particularly much of some certain kind of fabric? Printed? Colorful? Patch worked? Second hand? Do we have more woven fabric visible or is it knitted, felted or even leather fabric we see? And what content do the fibers have. Are they made out of processed animal hair or plants so we can call them natural? Or are they more on the synthetic spectrum? Sometimes it is hard to see and then it comes to guessing…

After writing randomly down what is to see in the canteen on a regular day I decided to make myself a system; to take snapshots and analyze them. I took one before lunch and one in the lunch brake. By analyzing the photographs, which should give me a quite good overview on the average dress code in the academy, I calculated the ratio between the textile fibers and the processes they have been put in.

As you can see the ratio between the natural fibers and the once that are either synthetic or mixed with synthetics is 40 % versus 60 %. That means that out of 5 cloths 2 will be made out of natural fibers and 3 of synthetic related material.

On the other histogram you can see that woven and knitted material is what we have most of in our surrounding, but since shoes are often made of leather, the leather bar has some value as well.

 

When it came to making an outfit related to the research I decided to choose weaving as a method, since weaving and knitting are the main processes of the fibers in Rietveld surrounding according to my results. I wanted to work with raw material, and since wool and cotton are the most common natural fibers in (Rietveld) clothing I choose to work with sheep wool among with fish skin, which I count as leather. The weaving I did in a very primitive  way to match the rest of the working process. I wanted to keep the process of the fiber out of my work, and that worked better in combination with very course weaving. The headpiece I made to make more harmony in the outfit, since the woolen outfit is quite overwhelming on its own and in that way I could also represent a suitable ratio of leather in the outfit according to my research.

At last I wanted to show layers, since we most of the times have many layers on ourselves in everyday life. I decided to stick with the raw material and the weaving method worked well for this. I took several kinds of plastic, which can be recycled and processed into textile fibers, as well as fish skin and bast, and wove them into the structure.


Miniatures by Sheila Hicks


Sunday, November 25, 2012

 

(born Hastings, Nebraska, 1934.) Painter, Textile/Fiber/Weaver, Artist.
 
 
At the Stedelijk Design exhibition my attention was quickly drawn to the textile area were a lot of gripping works was exhibited. Most of the items appeared very autonomous and were presented as art displayed in frames, on glass tables or hanging down from the ceiling. Probably the smallest section of pieces (size A4) made of colorful weaved threads caught my attention – they were made by the American artist Sheila Hicks.
It is hard to say what it actually was that dragged me into her small and actually very simply and straightforward made artworks. I had the feeling of looking at a continues (paintless) painting with numerous layers. I was sure that something interesting had to be hidden behind those threads and probably made by a person with a lot of experiences and an interesting background.
The Stedelijk has written an appealing text on the wall about textile as art and how the industrial movement has influenced the textile scene and how the old stereotype that textile work was women’s work has changed through the time.

Sheila’s woven textile pieces are attractive because I neither could categorize the style or the period. Something in them looked familiar but at the same time like something I had never seen before, I consider it like a hybrid of different cultures and nationalities, emphasizing the use of different materials. The way it was presented was also interesting, in small frames, side by side. Very organized and strict but the threads stood out very randomly in a way. I really wonder why Sheila Hicks made these small miniatures and to understand that my research is based on her biography and her history.

 

Sheila Hicks is educated in Fine Arts at Yale University. She started as a painter and turned her carrier into weaving and working with fibers – from 2 dimensional work to 3 dimensional work. Her miniatures (the ones in the Stedelijk) reflect her past as a painter as you can translate them to weaved paintings. These are works she has done through her whole career, besides that she is well known for her big weaved sculptural installations and wall decorations.

 

In her studytime one of her professors was Josef Albers, the Bauhaus master who had settled in The United States because of the pressure of the Nazis regime. Albers was the director of the Department of Design and transplanted some of Bauhaus ideals to Yale University that is reflected in a lot of Sheilas earlier work for instance the patterns, her choice of colors and the geometry and abstraction just like the classic impression of Bauhaus.

With Josef Albers [x], Sheila worked in a kind of color laboratory, and did extensive research on materials, plastics, paper, wire and plaster, that could also be one of the resons why she often weave different objects into her work. Since the 1960′s, Sheila trained in the modernistic Bauhaus tradition, as a unique way of mixing autonomous art with the traditional craft of weaving. In an interview she says: “However, when I was at Yale I had exposure to art history. I took ‘Art of Latin America,’ with Dr. George Kubler, and I chose to write about textiles because he had given a lecture showing beautiful old Peruvian mummy bundles.’’ Those textiles, she recounts, made a strong impression on her. She realized she needed to find out how they were made — not just how they looked. “At that point, Albers — Josef Albers — saw me struggling in my painting booth on improvised looms that were not looms; they were just painting stretchers that I used to tie yarns into tension, and he said he would take me home and introduce me to his wife.’’ His wife was Anni Albers [x], who is perhaps the most well-known textile artist from the 20th century. Anni Albers was a former bauhaus student and helped Sheila with a lot of work in the beginning of her carreer. I believe that her past as a painter and her influence from Anni Albers/ Bauhaus tradition could have caused Sheila Hicks  – through her whole carrier – to continually make these small, straight forward, minis/miniatures beside her other work (3 dimensional). Notwithstanding that, Hicks played an important role in the transformation of textile art during the 1960’s. Textile artists changed the dialogue and understanding of textiles as sculptural pieces in addition to two dimensional works.

The story tells that Sheila is always carrying a loom – and every time she has a moment she starts weaving. As written above I find a lot of her miniatures look very ethnic, and that is probably because she has traveled a lot through her live. In the late 50s Sheila went to Chile, Mexico, India and Morocco and worked with different Local Artist. There she was inspired [x] by their weaving techniques, color theory and architecture.


To understand and try to experiment myself (right image above). I found this old loom and tried to weave a miniature my self and totally understood why you can get addicted to weaving. In a way it is very meditative and when you first get a grip on it – it is very uncomplicated and just a pleasure to do.

I also found this book at the Library of the Stedelijk:

 

 

A book of Irma Boom called ”Weawing as a methopor” with her collection of her miniatures. The book displays over fifty of Sheilas woven textile pieces
Not that this research should be about Irma Boom, the maker of the book (graphic Design) But she need also a cadeau. The book is amazing beautiful, and present all Hicks miniatures in a very nice way. All the pieces are presented in a beautiful layout – a nice red line through the book (e.g.colours) so you almost feel like looking in someone’s sketch book. The Book stand out very personal. I can only recommend you to go to the library of Stedeljk and check it out and have a look in all the other books. A new book was recently published on her textile installation at the Mint Museum’s Atrium [x]

Sheila Hics miniature is a constantly sidework through her life. I would translate it to weaved diary paintings. It is impressing!!

 

Twice Four /Theses TXT


Friday, October 19, 2012

 

All Essays by the graduation year 2012 of the Textile Department,

 

students are: Ellie Duiker /Kimono Parameters – kijken, vertalen, dragen

Isabel van Gool /Het was er -Over Fotografie

Jasmin Koschutnig /Dagen van Acryl – Spinnen tegen verspilling

Elisabeth Leerssen / Use Your Ignorance

Caroline Lindo /Surface of Revolution

Sara Martin / Incrementum – Growing Surfaces

Sylvia Wozniak /De Tuin van het Vergeten Verbond

 

designed by Alexander Shoukas (designer GRA website)
available for €10,00 at the Textile Department or Bureau Rietveld

 

Creating destruction


Thursday, October 18, 2012

[publication of graduation essay by Caroline Lindo 2012

I wrote this thesis “Surface of Revolution” for anyone who – openly or secretly – wants radical change in our current financial and political system and I hope my words can inspire them to find out how they want to position themselves within this time of change.

A Surface of Revolution is a three dimensional surface, shaped by rotation around its axis. I chose this title because it relates to the current uproar across the world in which people are also trying to turn things upside down, and because I will use the protest tent cities and its actual surfaces as the
parameters for my concept. I recognized the fact that there is a class problem in the world and that that problem needs to be dealt with. In this thesis I will study Occupy and the tent and I’ll try to define my way of protesting. I’ll describe the many different kinds of protest I encountered during Occupy and how I am finding my own place within activism. In the end, I hope to find out what my own ethical truth is in respects to changing this class problem in society and find out if there is a way to do it that can apply to bringing down any given system. Violently, non violently, creative or destructive or a
combination of those together. In my work I am searching for this balance too, I am physically acting out the dilemmas and choices I have to make in order to find my own way of protesting.

The main question I am asking myself here is: What is the most effective and still ethically just way for me to attempt to collapse a system? My thesis is about the dilemma’s I faced in regards to protesting. There is the option to destroy, the option to create and all the shades in between. Do I have to choose, and if I feel that I do: how can I make a well weighed decision?
To make this choice I started visualizing creation and destruction, after that I made game rules to play out the different options. In this thesis I draw parallels between the inside and outside of the (“Occupy”) protest tent cities, the tent frame and the structure of the fabric. With thesis ingredients I created my own surface of revolution. A reflection of the protests around the world and my own journey through all the dilemmas I encountered there.

Download thesis by Caroline Lindo: Surface of Revolution

[images of Caroline Lindo's graduation show

 

link to website: http://carolindo.tk and http://carolindo.tumblr.com (same one)

Why Can’t I Use My Ignorance


Thursday, October 18, 2012

[publication of graduation essay by Elisabeth Leersen 2012

 

In the following text we will dive into the notion of ignorance, in order to see what this could mean for the marginal areas of design. Hence the question Why can’t I use my ignorance? This is a question I will try to resolve, by walking past different subjects. Exploring the unknown, by shifting context.

First we will conclude what ignorance means: what it means in society, and what it means for me, personally. Next we will develop questions; in order to see how ignorance relates to the primitive, and we will see how the notion of anthropology has a say in this matter.
All we learned, I will transform into an abstract notion, which may help us to link my questions directly to my own practice and my own desires. And so, in the end we will deal with storytelling, truth, flickering perspectives, and finally a way in which ignorance has found it’s place within my design process.

You must wonder, Why ignorance? This is a question I ask myself regularly.
Inside of me lies a desire to call a bluff from time to time, which I guess goes for everyone.
In order to see what would happen if I were to invent a certain knowledge, and thus would put my ignorance to a different use. How far could I take someone along in this dreamed-up universe? And, why am I attracted to this invented ignorance? These are all questions we will deal with. Some we will answer, some we will not. I invite you to take this journey with me, and see where ignorance might take us.

"There are different ways of looking out, of looking for new perspectives. Perhaps my fascination with the ancient explorers and their narrations lies not so much in narrative, but lies in their approach. It does not interest me to revisit their voyages, but to commence my own. To adopt their naive, primitive, and subjective way of seeing the world, in the new encounters they made. Making many assumptions on the way, and never finding the entire truth; or any truth for that matter.
This narrative of transition, it is a fictive journey. Finding yourself opposite an unknown phenomenon, as in the explorers’ journals: the multitude, yet incompleteness. Many truths, many ideas, and much more assumptions. Diving into different disciplines, using them all; perhaps taking pieces that were not meant for me. I’m not looking for the strength of singularities; but for humble pluralities."

Download thesis by Elisabeth Leersen: Use Your Ignorance

[images by August Sander /Claude Levi Strauss /Galon & Gajek]

from the jury rapport: Elisabeth Leersen from the Textile Department provided the jury with a beautifully designed thesis that was also content wise very interesting. In her thesis Elisabeth researches how ignorance can be made productive. She takes herself as a starting point and arrives at original and lively references from different disciplines and gives her own creative examples. It is a search that ends up again at Elisabeth Leersen herself. At this point the thesis would require a little more self-reflection and more precise use of language, but the thesis remains one of the best.

 

SHEILA HICKS


Saturday, January 28, 2012

Sheila Hicks took the long way of learning weaving.

She studied painting under the Bauhaus professor Josef Albers, but when a pre-Columbian textile course captured her attention, he took her home to meet his wife, Anni, a noted weaver. At his suggestion, she applied for a Fulbright scholarship to South America, and spent the first few years of her weaving life journeying through Venezuela, Bolivia, Peru and Chile, and back north to Mexico. The old weaving traditions have so much more then just the methods and techniques, it is a mix between their history, spirituality and religion. It is mostly based on symbols.

 

Sheila’s work has a focus on the material and the space in it, and around it. In her pieces you can see how she also let go of the weaving and modeled it instead so it became an installation.

 

New energy is not just finding new sources of energy but also taking something old, such as weaving, and giving it life and a new meaning. Weaving is no longer a necessary activity or a way to show status, as it was back in pre-industrial times. Its social importance is less and less fainting in this world of new technology. When I was a child I grew up partly with a Tibetan woman who had history written on the walls in the disguise of tapestries. I remember the stories that I kept developing in my head with the inspiration from these woven paintings. And back then, I didn’t know that it had the same effect that I today get from a painted piece. I am glad that I got the opportunity to experience weaving and the lost handcrafts of this kind at such a young age, before people told me how to read a story properly, or what is “good” and “bad”.

 

The first time i saw Sheila Hicks work was in Rotterdam’s “Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen”. She showed some of her smaller works, and the title of the show was called “Cent Minimes”- one hundred small works collected together

  

The works were presented like paintings in frames, but was still given the space of 3D objects. In her book “Weaving as a metaphor“, that she made in cooperation with Irma Boom, she shows a lot of her small pieces. Which also won the gold medal for “Most Beautiful Book in the World” prize at the Leipzig Book Fair. The book is very honest, with a focus on the physicality of touching and feeling the material. The book is one of the most popular art books of our time, I think it’s because of the special feeling of having a book that shows and “feels” this kind of art, which is meant to be both seen and felt. .

 

 

As she once said in a interview “I found my voice and my footing in my small work,” and that really shines through.

When I saw that show, I could immediately relate to Sheila Hicks in my own way of working and the satisfaction I get from painting. The way that she lets the fabric work for itself is amazing! She creates something, but she also gives the fabric and the different materials the space and life that they need in the frame. For me it was almost like seeing a sketch book, i think it is very honest to show “work in progress” might not be the truth behind it or the attention, but it had the affect on me. I myself have been struggling with the thin line of finishing a piece without over do it, so it was inspiring to see someone how could let go of the control and just show it!

Her experience really shows in her work, you can almost feel the wrinkles on her face, the laughter and tears that have been there.

She once said, “The act of creating is much more exciting for me than leaving a monument to myself,” explaining how she would deconstruct her fiber twists, spirals, ponytails and tapestries into piles of yarn. “It felt great. It meant that my imagination could run free.”

That really says something about her way of living, that she is not afraid of life.


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