Saturday, June 20, 2015

TextielLab & TextielMuseum – 2013[1-2]
Resource Review

Marie-Therese Wisniowski

The TextielLab (Tilburg, The Netherlands) is a well established art weaving institution in Europe. It occupies a unique niche where expertise, craftsmanship and innovation meld. It appeals to students, designers, artists and architects since it is a one stop shop weaving experience. It is a well-equipped laboratory and so is home to the latest high-tech Lindauer Dornier weaving looms and Stoll 3D-knitting machines. It has a well stock yarn bank and has in-house expertise so that suitable materials may be custom dyed.

DORNIER loom in the TextielLab.

The TextielLab has previously featured on this blog spot – see:
Textile Museum in Tilburg
Wearable Art Produced by TextielLab in 2013

Todays post will concentrate on giving you a glimpse of TextielLab’s 2013 artistic output. However a glimpse of their workflow and workload in 2013 may be of interest to prospective students, artists and clients.

Modern machinery in a heritage building of the TextielLab.

The most difficult stage for students, artists, architects and clients alike, is how to begin to transform an image into an artistic object. Not all images can lead to an effective reproduction in terms of a weaving or knitting process. Some images are far too subtle in terms of color variation that no bank of custom dyed yarns can effectively reproduce. Other images require a resolution (i.e. intricate detail) that is far beyond the capability of even the most sophisticated computerized machinery. Some images have a depth perception that is impossible to duplicate with yarn. Due to the workload constraints of any artistic laboratory, some images are just not interesting enough to waylay more pressing work. Hence any artistic laboratory must have an initial filtering process. If the project submitted contains little interest or is not possible to produce, then the enquiry by a client on submitting an image will be politely declined. However, if the project/image is of interest to the TextielLab and there is a feasibility that the artistic integrity of the image can be preserved as a woven or knitted art object, then the laboratory will move to the second stage – the intake stage – where design and yarn specification will be explored and a cost estimate will be delivered to the client. The next stage is the development stage, where the laboratory will undergo programming of equipment, testing of techniques and selections of yarns to yield the most accurate reproduction as woven or knitted samples. At this point, the client or laboratory may reject going into the production phase since the submitted image cannot be effectively reproduced in this concrete operational rendering of the image. If however it can be effectively reproduced the process will move into the production phase and then into the completion phase.

Workflow procedure of a submitted image by a client to the TextielLab.

The output of the TexteilLab in 2013 in terms of techniques gives an interesting insight the context of its workload. In percentage terms the weaving process was approximately six times more popular than its nearest rivals, namely, knitting, embroidery and digital printing, the latter three hovering around the 9 percentile. The least demanded techniques were laser cutting and tufting that hovered around the third percentile.

Techniques in percentage terms performed by the TextielLab in 2013.

The usage of yarns also reflects the textile outputs with organic cotton (warp and weft) 6308kg in total being used. Wool (Merino) is approximately a sixth of that total with the next three - linen, mohair and acrylic - trailing in the rear.

Usage of yarns in kg in 2013.

The TextielLab not only creates textiles but one of its important functions is that it exhibits some of the textiles it has reproduced from client’s images. Lidewij Edelkoort curated in 2013 - “Talking Textiles’ Exhibition” - at the TextielMuseum together with Philip Fimmano.

Lidewij Edelkoort.

On display were many projects developed at the TextielLab including Kiki van Eijk’s “Townhouse Rug” and Bertjan Pot’s “Pocket Light”. The carpets, curtains, lighting, digital prints and multimedia installations selected for the exhibition reveal that today’s designers are embracing modern lifestyles and moreover, are moving textiles from a merely functional purpose into the realms of wearable art and moreover, into artistic mores.

“Talking Textiles” exhibition in the TextielMuseum.

Vignette of Creative Outputs from TextielLab – 2013[2]
Only five creative outputs in 2013 from TextielLab will be highlighted below. For a more in depth survey please purchase reference [2].

Kloppenburg and van Egteren
In 1645, Rembrandt van Rijn sat along a bend in the Amstel River to sketch the scene for a small, atmospheric etching. Over 350 years later, the work was hand tufted to a size of 2.5 x 3.5 meters in order to add warmth, color and texture to the offices of Norton Rose Fulbright, a law firm based in Amsterdam’s Rembrandt Tower, near the site that had inspired the Dutch Master. The designers translated the original grey tone etching into a pointillist image incorporating up to six different colors per square centimetre. The image was extremely detailed and took almost a year to tuft.

Title: De Omval
Technique: Hand Tufting.

Close-up of the finished work.

Close up of the painstaking tufting process in action.

Kustaa Saksi
Finnish artist Kustaa Saksi takes jacquard weaving to a new level with “Hypnopompic”; a series of vivid large-scale tapestries employing Jacquard weaving. A hypnopompic state is a dream-like consciousness meandering between waking and sleeping. The artist evokes this with intricate and colourful images of nature’s surreal side in the form of psychedelic spiders, monkeys and insects interwoven with exuberant flora and fauna. The patterns also reflect the visual disturbances that the artist experiences during frequent migraine attacks. A wide range of natural and synthetic materials, from viscose, Lurex and metallic yarns, to alpaca wool and mohair, add extra depth.

Title: “Herbarium of Dreams”.
Technique: Jacquard weaving.

Title: “Grasshoper”
Technique: Jacquard weaving.

Title:“Arachne’s Web”.
Technique: Jacquard weaving.

Creneau International (Design Studio)
Bar Marie is a new café in the Belgian headquarters of publishing firm Sanoma. Creneau International based its interior concept on magazines, aiming to tell stories, inspire and inform. The café needed a partition for the meeting area; a powerful visual in its own right. The result was a large woven curtain with a classic floral motif symbolising the focus on organic produce. In the fore ground are sketches of food in a contrasting yarn, but from a distance, the sketches form a face. The highly complex design was translated into 24 colors. Color testing help select the right mix.

Color study.

Woven curtain in place at Bar Marie.
Title: “Café Sanoma Belgium”.
Technique: Jacquard weaving.

The pattern forms a face.

Karin de Waard
The growing interest in corporate social responsibility is manifesting itself in some intriguing ways. Karin de Waard’s “Dstruct” concept is aimed at CSR-committed companies interested in turning their waste into new and potentially viable commercial products. The extension of this concept is “Collection 2”, a room divider and two carpets made from synthetic leather. The room divider’s intricate laser-cut components make optimal use of the material available and any off-cuts used in equally intricate carpets. The highly efficient design can be transferred to other materials such as denim or rubber, and scaled to produce larger or smaller textiles for cushions, bags and clothing.

Title: Dstruct: Collection 2 – Room Divider.
Technique: Laser cutting.

Synthetic carpet.

Assembly of product.

Studio Job
In Miami’s illustrious beachfront is the new Faena Saxony hotel development. No expenses are being spared for this luxurious complex, which encompasses an art center, theatre and luxury housing project in addition to the hotel. Studio Job designed six pennant flags for the hotel entrance. Each custom-embroidered flag features one million stitches. With thousands of stitches available in embroidery software, each stitch was carefully selected based on samples at the TexteilLab. The size of the flag meant that each section had to be embroidered and assembled individually.

Title: Faena Pennant – one complete pennant.
Technique: Embroidery.

One million stitches per flag.

[1] TextielLab – 100% Innovation.
[2] TextielMuseum and TextielLab 2013 Year Book.

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