Amsterdam-based designer Roosmarijn Pallandt developed a series of carpets that reflects the local materials and techniques of the remote places she produced them. Rather than employing traditional motifs, she opted to translate aerial images of Iran, Thailand, Nepal and New Mexico within distinct knotting and tufting techniques.We spoke to Pallandt about her on-going Rugs project.
Your carpets literally reflect different landscapes, From where did your draw initial inspiration? Roosmarijn Pallandt: While traveling across the world, I noticed how carpets play a central role in daily life. They serve many functions: a place to share a cup of tea, tell stories, rest, pray and even bury the dead. Decorative motifs reveal history and creative vision. I decided to replace traditional patterns with aerial images of the places where they´re produced while still employing the same craftsmanship and materials.
Which materials did you use to visually translate aerial images? In Nepal, I used yak and goat wool but also silk from nearby Thailand. In Iran, I only employed local sheep and camel wool. With a wide variety of hemp, bamboo and nettle yarns in Thailand, I asked craftsmen to materialize landscapes into textures rather than colour.
You employed different types of local craft, what did you process entail? Bringing 2D images into 3D form was as interesting process, especially our differences in terms of interpretation and connotation is fascinating What we call art or design, might have a completely different meaning to somebody in another part of the world. The second step was to define a square grid, which is the universal base of all carpet designs. I could easily connect this grid to my choice of pixelated Google Earth images and my data base of materials.
How where techniques different in Thailand, Iran and Nepal? Knotting methods varied from country to country. It was in the production process that I found the most striking differences. For example: in Thailand, the whole process ran smoothly, well organized and fast. They tufted the carpets by hand using both plant and animal yarns. In Nepal, communication requires more time. Tibetan craftsmen are each tasked with a specific part of the process and never switch roles. In each country, I produced two carpet samples. One based on the aerial image locals chose, and on images I gave them.
In what way does this project reflect your practice? Rugs reflects my interest in cross-cultural exchange of knowledge and tools; exploring collaboration trough new technology and old craft techniques, thus finding access to rich traditions and new ways of looking at the world.With RUGS, as with my other projects, I try incorporate the ethical, without compromising the esthetical.
Project realized in collaboration with Liset van der Scheer, Rob Stolk, Gerco de Ruijter and Casalis
Photos courtesy of Roosmarijn Pallandt