A communal three-day journey to understand the principles of weaving and to discover it as a metaphor for urban planning, for architecture and urbanism, for the computer, for the landscape and many more, taking place on 10, 11 and 12 December 2021.
Don’t throw away your old garments, clothing or fabric! These clothes from the attic that date from another period in your life, the worn shirts your ex-lover left behind or just the silly purchases you made and which haven’t left the closet since: everything that creates a meaningful story, an interesting pattern or just a beautiful colour scheme will be the perfect starting material for this workshop.
From the beginning of civilization, weaving has played a cultural and artistic role in societies worldwide. Also the economic and scientific influence of the design and technology of looms has been significant: more than two centuries ago, the first punch cards were used on looms, which can rightfully be seen as the prerunners of the computer and formed the basis for the industrial revolution. Weaving is far more than a hobby and it certainly isn’t dull or prissy.
This course offers the participants an exploration into the multiple meanings of weaving on a traditional Finnish weaving loom. It is a communal journey for which the Independent School for the City has teamed up with visual artists Bart Gorter and Ernst van der Hoeven, to understand the principles of weaving and to discover it as a metaphor for urban planning, for architecture and storytelling, for the computer, for the landscape and many more things. The course will result in one large rug, collectively woven by the participants.
Regular tickets are available for 250 euro. For practical reasons, a maximum of 12 participants can take part in this course. The participation fee will be refunded in case the course has to be cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances.
Over a period of only 3 full days, you will be introduced to all the ins and outs of weaving. After an introduction and a weaving trial on a small loom, we will make a collective design for a rug and work on a traditional Finnish weaving loom. During the process you are presented with all the functional elements of weaving: the beam, the reed, the heddle, the slay and the treadle. After one day of individually weaving under guidance you are welcome to come back any time after the course (on appointment), to extend the rug. Eventually we will free the rug collectively and discuss the results.
Bart Gorter is a visual artist based in Rotterdam, who has worked in different media, mainly photography, weaving and ceramics. In 2012-2013 he made the series ‘Family Ties’, consisting of long rugs made out textiles from his parental house; in 2016 he cooperated with Ernst van der Hoeven on the project of a commissioned rug for the Radboud Hospital in Nijmegen using hospital fabrics, to connect to the history of the hospital; recently he produced a series of rugs using heritage textiles.
Ernst van der Hoeven
Ernst van der Hoeven was trained as an architectural historian and landscape architect and was a founding partner (1994-2004) of Crimson. He designs landscapes, organizes exhibitions and creates works of art for the public domain with an emphasis on the reuse of historical heritage. In 2015 van der Hoeven co-founded MacGuffin Magazine, a design and crafts bi-annual with each issue based around a single object.
10 December, 14:00 - 18:00
Step 1. What is weaving?
Introductory lecture by Ernst van der Hoeven and Bart Gorter. Looking at various textiles in an attempt to understand material and structure, the vertical warp and horizontal weft, the raw material of the fabric, the fringes, the knots etc. The principles are explained and experimented with on a small, individual loom (31x31 cm, included in the course materials): how can a thread become the warp and the warp become the weft. Or how a simple wooden frame can function as a window of thoughts. Making of a trial weaving on each individual’s small loom.
11 December, 10:00 - 18:00
Step 2. The loom
The 1.20 metres wide loom is a sturdy device, an ingenious lever mechanism, and a 3-dimensional puzzle in itself. The elements of the loom are explained: the beam, the reed, the heddle, the slay and the treadle. When weaving a rug the warp is an unchangeable given; the weft on the other hand is free to change. The participants will learn how to prepare the recycled fabrics to function as warp threads and discuss the consequences of various materials. Collectively, the group will make a first collective design of the rug: are we going to evoke evidence of place, are we working with a motive or colour scheme? The working of the loom will be explained and each participant will start on the actual weaving.
12 December, 10:00 - 18:00
Step 3. A cadavre exquis
The participants will experience the impact of the weft on the fabric: how every thread opens a new horizon. Lunch lecture by architect Alessandra Covini (Studio Ossidiana): “Petrified Carpets”. The first design for the rug will be evaluated and possibly modified. While each participant works individually, the results, tips, tricks and insights are collectively shared.
12 - 24 December
Weaving: On appointment, as many times as you want
The participants are welcome to keep on weaving until the end of the warp. The loom will stay at the Independent School for the next months so feel free to pass by (on appointment) when you feel like adding to the rug.
After a month we will collectively gather to free the rug from the loom and discuss the result. What has it become? A polder landscape, a city plan or an open sky? And will it be used as a tapestry, a carpet, a blanket, a cover or a simple rug?