Posted on April 19th, 2011

Millstone ruff by the meter.

In 2011 the textile department at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie asked Alexander
van Slobbe to do a workshop with the second years at the department. As he
just finished a workshop in Shanghai with students of a fashion department he
was very enthusiastic to continue the theme of the Golden century and relations
between Holland and China. He decided to give us the assignment to design a
fabric based on this theme.







After seeing these beautiful paintings at the Rijksmuseum I was still dazzled how
I was ever to even come close to such gorgeous fabrics with my design. As
Alexander van Slobbe asked me to look at the Golden century and weave my
fabric inspired by these times. I was however amazed by the way they create
such volume in fabric when making a millstone ruff collar. By pleating the fabric
and applying starch, these collars became enormous. And a most outstanding
piece of the garment. Knowing the fabric I designed was going to be made into a winter
coat I knew exactly which material I wanted to use. I had always wanted to work
with this amazing felting wool. This is wool straight of the sheep, combed and
washed, just before they are about to twine it into yarns. When you touch it, it
feels like it is about to melt in your hands. The delicacy of this extremely soft
material and the voluminous structure would create this grant richness that I
was looking for. Wanting to work with this material meant I had to weave this
fabric myself, as no machine is able to handle this kind of material. As the wool is
not even a yarn yet it needed to be handled with extreme care and delicacy. And
by translating this millstone ruff pattern into a design for the fabric the material
worked wonders to it. Creating exactly the feel of fabric I desired.

Following the workshop of the textile department finishing 8 fabrics Alexander
decided to ask graduated fashion designers to design winter coats out of our
material. My fabric was chosen by Lotte van Keulen, who is a fashion designer
graduated from Amfi.

In June 2011 three workshops given by Alexander van Slobbe came together
in the Exposition Shanghai Gesture in the Willet Holthuysen museum in
Amsterdam. And in November the Amsterdam Museum decided to take all coats
into their collection.


See the video of my weaving process here:


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