April 2018  

Textile dyeing with natural pigments

Focussing on dyeing in a wider perspective here is a summary of forth coming articles with Dutch experts. What makes dyeing with natural pigments special? Is it truly sustainable practice? The history of madder in The Netherlands. The discovery of a fabulous 17th century red silk wardrobe rescued from a shipwreck off the coast of Texel and it's conservation. What are the discoveries in dyeing workshops at the Rijksatelier? Just a 10 minute bike ride away from the Rijksatelier through the centre of Amsterdam hands-on research and design is done at Tinctoria’s studio. And a visit to Claudy Jongstra’s ‘Farm of the World’ in Friesland. In-depth articles will be published in Surface Design Journal, kM (Dutch) and TxP (Dutch). 'Een tapijt van bijen' has been published in kM 105.  

van-bommelStudents conservation and restoration laying out fabric. photo: provincie Noord-Holland and Maarten van Bommel, Professor of Conservation Science at the faculty of Humanities and the Faculty of Science at the University of Amsterdam. He is chair of the section Restoration and Conservation of Cultural Heritage (Department of Arts & Culture). photo: Dirk Gillissen

madder-tradeAn oil painting from 1764 depicts three traders standing around a barrel of madder, assessing the quality of the ware. They have bored a hole into the vat and extracted samples, chewing them to determine the amount of contaminating sand and enjoying the social aspects of trading - bantering, arguing until the sale is closed. Het keuren van meekrap’, 1764, Oil painting on wooden panel, coll. KZGW inv.nr.G1691, courtesy of Museum of Middelburg, Zeeuws Museum, copyright: Public domain  Japanese gown of Prince William III, Creation: c. 1675 - c. 1702 restored at the Rijksatelier http://hdl.handle.net/10934/RM0001.COLLECT.3298leentjeWorkshop at Tinctoria studio with Leentje van Hengel photo M.Auch

dyeing1Workshop at Tinctoria, silk sample with indigo, madder, iron-walnuts and discharge paste photos M.Auch

Februari 2018

Studio visit by ARTECHNE

Weeflab welcomed four scientists of the ARTECHNE team

Their mission is: The transmission of ‘technique’ in art has been a conspicuous ‘black box’ resisting analysis. The tools of the humanities used to study the transmission of ideas and concepts are insufficient when it comes to understanding the transmission of something as non-propositional and non-verbal as ‘technique’. In order to understand artisanal techniques they try out techniques themselves before analyzing and describing processes in an academic context. >>interview Sven Dupré (in Dutch, published kM 102)

chanel-weave-arttechneProfessor Dr. Sven Dupré and team weaving a Chanel inspired piece.


arttechne-histology-drawingLearning through anatomical-histological drawings and 'cows can fly' models 


September 2017

18th European Textile Network conference

Weeflab is a member of ETN.
Weeflab is active participant in the network of European and international textile artists and designers. At the 18th conference in Sweden, Weeflab presented itself as an open platform for weaving to set up new collaborations. The presentation reflected on the weaver as protagonist of our times.

European Textile Network, weeflab, Cross over, Lala de Dios, president of ETN opening the conference

ETN at Borås - an international lapptäcken (=Swedish for patchwork)
It’s all about the people.
In september the 18th ETN conference and textile festival Cross Over took place in the picturesque city of Borås, Sweden. Highlight was the ceremony for the prestigious Nordic Award in Textiles presented to Danish weaver Grete Sørensen. ETN founder Beatrijs Sterk has written extensively on her excellent blog about Cross Over, covering the facts about participants and venues.
My observations as a maker and writer are on a more personal note.
Scandinavia evokes associations of cool design, clear colors and natural materials: Marimekko, IKEA and Rya carpets. But it is also Pippi Longstocking! Like the the bright, playful, strong work of Scandinavian textile artists. The diversity of textile art, mainly large scale pieces presented in the settings of spacious galleries and museums advertised an impressive textile art scene. It was a pleasure to meet fellow makers in this networking marathon.
Nordic Award in Textiles
Grete Sørensen’s work is en excellent example of the successful fusion of an old craft like weaving with innovative digital tools. Grete Sørensen was educated as a weaver in Kolding, Denmark. The discovery and application of digital weaving with a specialized Jacquard loom, the TC1 designed by her colleague Vibeke Vestby from Norway led to her big scale, elegant work. Here is a master at work - playful and in full command of her tools and creative skills. During a conversation she stresses, that technical knowledge of weaving techniques is essential, she says: ‘I am so much enjoying my work at this stage in my life! I am happy about the award because weaving is very often ignored. The prize helps to draw attention to our rich weaving tradition that suffers a miserable fate in education in Denmark today.’

Nordic Art Textiles Award, Grete Sorensen, weavingGrete Sørensen receiving the award with Vibeke Vestby designer of the TC1 loom

Beatrijs Sterk, European textile network, Bors, Cross over textile gfestival weaving weeflabWith Grete Sørensen and Beatrijs Sterk, founder of ETN

Underlying structures
This quote seems to be somehow at odds with the impressive ‘state of the art’ facilities in the Gothenborg  Academy of Design and Crafts, where students led a guided tour through the very well equipped textile labs. And - there is a surprisingly small number of students in this textile paradise.
The network of artist’s communities connecting the Scandinavian countries was impressive. For example, Konstepidemin in Gothenborg is a cultural center, housing more than 130 artists’ studios and three galleries. It is a meeting place for artists and their audience. The facilities are run by the artist’s themselves and are supported by the commune of Gothenborg.

Fibre art canada quarterly, Joe Lewis, Konstepidemin, weeflab,at Konstepidemin, Gothenborg

fibre art canada quarterlyJoe Lewis of Fibre Art quarterly, Canada and weaving on his cardboard loom

The metaphor of a lapptäcken (= patchwork) is apt for the ETN congregation.
During the many short presentations of amazing projects the richness and potential of the ETN community stands out. There is out-of-the-box thinking and committment in achieving goals and realizing projects. Craft-Health related issues, e.g. SUTA, highlighting traditions like the Spiral textiles project or academic research, like the German Penelope research. The open, non-competitive atmosphere is inviting, this network is a powerhouse of concepts, a treasure trove of textile knowledge and skills. To name just a few who taught very interesting workshops: Japanese master Jun Tomita taught Kasuri (Ikat) weaving, digital weaving on the TC2 was taught by Vibeke Vestby and longtime team Joy Boutrup and Catharine Ellis taught the very fashionable art of natural dyeing.
Regrettably trendwatcher Li Edelkoort, hosted by the city of Borås as key-note speaker did not facilitate a Q&A for her eagerly listening colleagues, which could have started a conversation. Considering the fact, that textiles are the source of her current work this was a missed chance for both sides. I am wondering, if her plea for sustainability is going to be turned into yet another commercial colorchart and mood-board. There was a lot of networking and exchange of ideas but I missed a skilled, informed moderator - ideally a person not burdened with organisational tasks - to stitch the lapptäcken together and bring it to the next level.

Diana Springall at SUTUR embroidery exhibition and Yoshiki Wada at the natural dyeing workshop

dorothy Wedderburn, Ragments, Lala de Dios, president ETN, weeflabDorothy Wedderburn talking to Lala de Dios and Anna Maria Orban, Romania with Julia Galliker of Spiral textile

ETN has a demand for young people. As editor and writer for textile magazines, I constantly receive a wealth of information of what’s going on. Through many interviews I observe, that lots of young colleagues are out there and forming communities.  Is ETN visible and sexy enough? Is the ETN contribution too expensive for students? How can we interest young textile designers and makers to join ETN and add their expertise to this rich international lapptäcken?
A heartfelt THANK YOU to all the people and organisations involved in Cross Over. And - big cheers to Scandinavian hospitality!


October 2017

Studio tour for German colleagues

Weeflab welcomed German colleagues from the Handwerkskammer Münster

Focus of the working trip was an information exchange about the environment and supporting structures for craft designer makers in The Netherlands and Germany. 
Starting with a meet and greet at EYE Nel Punt told about her work as graphic designer and woodturning artist. A visit to printing workshop AGA and artist’s hotel and residencie space WOW showed institutional work and meeting spaces.
Jewelrymakers Ineke Heerkens  and Pauline Wiertz  opened up their studios at WG terrein in the centre of Amsterdam. Both of them work with ceramics and textiles. At exhibition space WG Kunst   there was the fabulous show of illustrator Floor Rieder.
WEEFLAB welcomed the group at the working space in Amsterdam Noord showing the equipment and looms before we sat down for great food at local restaurant Spaanders. A lively discussion about the various models of artist/designer practice, i.e. working with galleries, online profile, institutions, grant structures and market positions ensued and commenced until late.
Which prepared us for a visit at internationally selling jewelry maker Uli Rapp Uli welcomed us amidst the busy preparations for Sofa Chicago. Uli runs her own production space with a small dedicated team. Last stop was at hatmaker Mirjam Nuver’s workshop in the middle of the red-light district.
The working visit is the continuation of a long standing connection with the Münster group of craft designers.
Big thanx to my colleagues in Amsterdam who opened up their studios and shared their know-how!
crafts, making, weeflab amsterdam Ineke Heerkens and Nel Punt

pauline-wiertz_stapelingPauline Wiertz and one of her stack sculptures with 'spinach and egg glaze', 30 x 20 cm, photo: Ron Zijlstra

handwerkskammer munster crafts, weeflab amsterdam, monika auchAt Uli Rapp's studio

March 2018

Coaching QS2 group

QS2 is a group of fibre artists, collaborating in regular sessions for already 15 years. Diversity is the driving force of their cross-pollination. Big stories - women's handcraft - Sterke Staaltjes Vrouwenhandwerk - is the tongue-in-cheek title of the upcoming show at Museum Nagele. Opening 3rd of June.


group-qs2-kleinphoto: E. Driemann

December 2017

Weeflab at craft-design show  

Weeflab takes part at the juried craft design fair Meesterlijk in the atmospheric chapel of the Westergasfabriek. Here you find work of six designers inspired by Mondriaan in his famous abstract and non-figurative style. Assisted by Weeflab visitors can weave their own piece of textile in primary colors.                                               Weeflab shows a new collection of swatches for bespoke tapisserie from natural and reclaimed materials like yarn from re-cycled jeans. Fuzzy surfaces, fringed fabrics - handwoven, authentic pieces for interiors and unique scarves are tactile and visual input in a digital world.




2 july 2017 / Amsterdam

Summershow Amsterdam Noord

Timewarp#3#golden by Weeflab
has been selected for the annual summershow.                                                                      

  m_auch_timewarp3golden_72 sumershow-nieuw-dakota-2017


25 April 2017 / Amsterdam

Lecture at KNAW

Weeflab has been invited to talk about 'The intelligence of the hand'
organized by the Dutch Royal Academy of Arts and Sciences, KNAW

KunstKennis / Onze zintuigen in kunst en wetenschappelijk experiment.
Nooit eerder in de geschiedenis was visuele expertise zo belangrijk in wetenschap en samenleving als vandaag. Maar die dominantie van het oog is ook eenzijdig, en stelt de rol van andere zintuigen in de productie van kennis en wetenschap in de schaduw. Kunstenaars en wetenschappers gaan in gesprek over de rol van alle zintuigen in de creatie van hun werk en over de vraag of we ook in het wetenschappelijk onderwijs leren door maken en zintuiglijk waarnemen moeten aanmoedigen.                                                                                                                                                                                                        Moderator: Robert Zwijnenberg, hoogleraar kunstgeschiedenis aan Universiteit Leiden. organisator:
KNAW, Akademie van Kunsten, Sven Duprė (Universiteit Utrecht en Universiteit van Amsterdam) en Wijnand Mijnhardt (Universiteit Utrecht)

20 21


April 2017

Tallinn Triennial 2017

Weeflab participates at the 7th edition of Applied Arts Triennial, Tallinn.
Weeflab’s piece TIMEWARP which depicts the theme of weaving and time passing is selected for the exhibition at the Design Museum in Tallinn.
Weeflab will present itself to an international group of colleagues, curators and students at the symposium and at the Estonian Art Academy in two lectures and by active networking.

Prize winning work: VAIP by Villu Pink and Silja Saarepuu - videostill from 'endless process of ploughing a field into a carpet.'                                                                                                   overview exhibition: Ajavahe - Time Difference from left: work by Ellen Grieg, Aet Ollisaar, Trine Hovden and Jaako Leeve & Kisalli workshop, photo by P. Kumet                                               artist's talk in medieval tower, moderated by Ketli Titsar with artist Taneel Venre presenting 

tal-1 tal-2 tal-3 tal-6



Koningsdag 2017

Weven als verbindende handeling

Een wever werkt meestal alleen. Weven is een nogal technisch ambacht en amateurs komen zonder begeleiding niet verder dan weven op een eenvoudig weefraam. Tijdens Koningsdag 2017 kunnen bezoekers van de ‘Amsterdam Village Market’ op een professioneel mobiel weefgetouw met trappers gaan weven.
Met kleurrijke garens en onder begeleiding van Weeflab wordt een lang weefsel gemaakt. Met de creatieve inbreng van de bewoners van Tuindorp en bezoekers laat het de onderlinge verbondenheid zien.
Het geweven stuk zal worden tentoongesteld in Studio Spaanders op het Zonneplein.

combi-6 combi-7 combi-4 combi-3

ondersteund door Amsterdam Noord West   dock



March 2017

Weaving in Japan

Weeflab is setting up a collaboration with young designer Emilie Pallard.
Emilie Pallard works together with Niels Heymans. Emilie graduated cum laude from the Design Academy Eindhoven in 2010 and works as an autonomous designer for different clients from her studio in Amsterdam. Niels Heymans is a product designer and expert in computer skills. They are a working team which combines masterly craft skills and computer technology.

In their last project ‘Opening traditions’ Emilie and Niels explored the craft of Ikat weaving in Japan in collaboration with Japanese designer Makiko Shinoda. They innovated this traditional technique by using a different colour scheme than the traditional indigo and white scheme and by setting up a subtle shifting pattern. ‘Opening Traditions’ is a cross-pollination between centuries of experience and fresh talent and was shown during DDW at the Van Abbe Museum in 2016.