donderdag 19 juli 2012

Textile Design

At the moment I'm experimenting with combinations of different knitting techniques and different types of wool. Hand- and machine knitting, linen and wool, yarn sizes etc. Some things work, some don't. As usual, with experimenting! years ago I took knitting classes in Ireland, on the Aran islands. Besides wonderful days, I gained so much knowledge about how stitches actually work. Aran knitting is complicated, but also quite systematic. The teacher was strict; when it wasn't really perfect, she would undo all these stitches and you would have to start again. It was funny to see our behaviour in the class; we wanted to hide the mistakes from her, even while we were there as professionals to learn. And of course in the end we were glad she was so strict. I became much more confident and fluent in the process. So after this experience I'm able to design with knitting, rather than just be a good knitter. I'm sure there are many much better knitters than myself. But to understand the process, that's important for design.

maandag 16 juli 2012

Rutger Kopland 1934-2012

The much appreciated poet passed away earlier this week. His poems have a lyrical atmosphere. Looking at nature and reflecting on nature are important in his work. Here's a poem  translated by  James Brockway:


Things are happening here and I am the only
one who knows

I shall name them and also say why

there's an old garden seat standing under the apple-tree
there's an old football lying in the grass
there are old sounds coming out of the house
there is an old light in the sky

this is happening here: a garden in the evening

and what you don't hear and don't see- the places
where we dug holes
and filled them up again, weeping

I teel you this because I do not want to be alone
before I am

donderdag 12 juli 2012


Inspiration is an ongoing process. Everything can be useful as a source. For design, for a concept, for cooperation, for a process itself. Images, exhibitions, packages, books, articles, objects, samples. It's a great part of work to collect, organise and display. Here are some examples.

vrijdag 6 juli 2012

Miscellaneous Labour

Malawi: farms and construction sites. All farm work is done by hand, all bricks for buildings are moulded by hand and even most tools are handmade. So labour is very demanding. Slow but steady!

woensdag 4 juli 2012


Last Friday I read an interesting article in NRC Handelsblad after which I dived into the subject. Nothing inferior, B- Corporations are the companies of the future. B is benefit. These companies are now legally supported in the USA to have social and environmental responsibility as objectives for entrepreneurship. IceStone is an example; workers are earning twice the minimum wage, work in daylight as much as possible to save energy and work with recycled materials. And still make beautiful work surfaces for kitchens. Patagonia outdoor gear is another example. No child labour, environmental awareness and even a think-before-you-buy-policy.
Different from multinationals who want to keep growing while proclaiming to reduce their footprint. Ofthen there's a lot of clever marketing involved. Juliet Schor, sociologist from Harvard says in her book 'Plenitude' : Responding to our current moment, Plenitude puts sustainability at its core, but it is not a paradigm of sacrifice. Instead it’s an argument that through a major shift to new sources of wealth, green technologies, and different ways of living, individuals and the country as a whole can actually be better off and more economically secure.
Of course also in The Netherlands we have these kind of companies which are focusing on corporate responsibility. Quite a few I would say.  But to have it as an objective, that's quite radical. So it's good news that in the huge USA this kind of entrepreneurship is supported. It could be a game-changer!
Truly redefine business, truly redefine profit, truly redefine entrepreneurship. Wow.
In the end consumers have the power, of course. These products will not be the cheapest. But in the long term they might be. If you really think ahead....

dinsdag 3 juli 2012


I've been on a very beloved place for a few days: Terschelling. The most beautiful island in The Netherlands. I made a long walk with my father along one of the most amazing beaches the world knows. 'De Noordvaarder' is a nature reserve at the edge of 2 seas. The sands seem endless, birds are breeding and caring for their young in this time of year. The seals are swimming in the floods  and curiously watch the passers-by. However, also here the threats of plastic seem to be around. Sitting, watching the glorious view while having lunch I encountered the most tiny black shells in the sand near my feet. Or? No, they were tiny pieces of plastic. Dissolved from larger objects now almost invisible. It can't be said often enough: plastic does never disappear. Imagine these floating in the water, being part of the seals and fishes daily meals....
Anyway, it's a warning again and even more important to cherish, take care and enjoy these places.