Over the course of the summer of 2012 I had the opportunity to work as an intern at Studio Claudy Jongstra, a textile design studio in Spannum, the Netherlands. The studio is known for its innovative felting techniques that allow it to produce sustainable, felted art pieces at an architectural scale.
I initially visited the studio during my DutchDesign field school the previous summer and was very impressed with the studio's unique process. Jongstra tends to her own flock of the rare Drenthe Heath sheep, Europe's oldest breed of sheep. Only 1200 of this sheep remain world-wide, of which Jongstra has roughly 200. I had the opportunity to witness the yearly shaving of the sheep, and armed with a camera I spent the afternoon running around the fields in the rain photographing them.
In addition to the Drenthe Heath, Jongstra maintains several fields of dye plants. These fields are an amplification of the two gardens kept at the studio where I lived and work, gardens which Jonsgtra views as 'living laboratories' for testing new dye plants and stimulating biodiversity by offering a habitat for bees, butterflies, and other insects.
My role at the studio was diverse, and ranged from photographing and documenting these plants and sheep to working directly with the raw material they provide. I lived and worked at the studio in a town of 200 and would often spend a day carding wool (a process that straightens the fibers and prepares them for felting and my nights kayaking around the canals of the northern province of Friesland.
Studio Claudy Jonsgtra tackled an incredible variety of projects during my time there, including:
-An exhibition for the Amsterdam public library, Ode Aan Claudy Jongstra.
-Preparation and planning for the Archi-Textiles exhibit at the Textile Museum in Tilburg.
-Claudy Jongstra was asked to participate in the Wunderkammer (wonder-room) exhibit at the Venice Architecture Biennale. This exhibit was curated by NY-based Todd Williams Billie Tsiens Architects and featured such notable architects as Shigeru Ban, Toyo Ito, Steven Holl, and Peter Zumthor.
-The studio designed an art piece for sustainable denim manufacturer Orta Anadolu to be displayed at the Bread & Butter Fair in Berlin. A short video of the pavilion with the tapestry can be seen here.
-The studio was approached by Rutgers WPS to design a maternity band as part of the Moedernachtcampaign.