“My childhood was poor. down to earth† Not a cultural environment, but a creative one, but that was more because I grew up in the ’70s, where everyone made everything themselves. My mother gave me my first sewing machine when I was ten years old. She was also creative, but she was not a good teacher. She had to work hard to make a living in the gardening business. In the morning she would open the door and my brothers and I would go out to play. When my dad went out of the country to eat, we went home. We, the kids, were just there. We got a swimming subscription for summer vacation, worked in the garden, This is life. It can grow well on poor soil. You become agile and flexible when there is none. Get to know yourself, understand your intuition and find your own user guide.
Occupational therapy training was offered in Amsterdam and Helmond. It was a time of squatters riots, so my mother said, “You’re going to move into rooms in Helmond.” This training was my way of freeing myself. After that I was unemployed for five years, it was a conscious choice. My girlfriends were artists, and I was part of the feminist movement and the DIY women’s group. I learned how to build houses, make bikes, did carpentry and make furniture in the evening LTS. This period of self-examination and self-expression is very important, and nowadays they call it the gap year. Slowly grew into the Academy of Design. Careful move. I thought the Art Academy was too free, and I didn’t understand that yet. I loved the design between the lines for learning to trade. This also applies to who I am.
I’m not much of a teacher, but I enjoy teaching the people who work with me. There are two crucial things. Submit handwriting. Not a capital letter you came up with, but a handwriting that expresses what is in your head. The second: to be relevant. What you do or make should resonate with what is going on right now. I often ask designers, “Why are you doing this now? It could have been done ten years ago. Design is a difficult subject. We live in a completely designed world, even nature. You might think that designers play an important role, and design matters. But our profession is small in At the same time.Making things, innovating products.Designers play a supporting role in the industry.
I have worked in and for the industry for a long time. Great roles in big companies. As a technical director, I was close to the managerial power of such companies and for a long time believed that I could make a change. It has changed things too. They have made companies look different in materials and utensils. Rugs made from old KLM uniforms. But in order to design an aircraft interior again, it would be a repetitive exercise. It no longer fits me, and it no longer fits today’s dominant theme: the climate crisis. Everything has to be fixed and designers are standing on the sidelines for a while. The industry is facing a new industrial revolution. They must love madness carbon free to produce. Companies are very stupid. They will only act if politicians impose rules or if consumers no longer buy their things.
We still need stuff, and designers continue to have fun making things. I no longer want to talk through the market, I want to talk to people about products on a cultural level. The stories the industry tells about the products are unfair. Words like originality, beauty of imperfection, craftsmanship, homemade, and craftsmanship are sung in full. Blank marketing stories. Presenting my work in a museum allows me to explore the value and meaning of the products. See, these are colors the industry no longer makes, these textile techniques are in danger of fading away, textiles don’t have to be a disposable product. But I am being careful with my words when I talk about this. Before you know it, you use words to sell something.
There is a mega duty It happens, which I have a positive feeling about. The system is about, everything has to be rethought. New machines, new materials – bioplastics, leather substitutes, paints and colors of various formulas. Soon you will have materials that may not be pretty anymore. Stains in the fabric of the furniture. It doesn’t smell good anymore, isn’t too soft, and is more likely to break. The responsibility for sustainability should not lie with the consumer, but rather with the producer. Is the product worn out or broken? Return to factory and repair. Pay attention, if the repair is for the manufacturer’s account, then suddenly the production will be different.
Paste, cut, make. This is how you learn to come up with solutions, it ensures that you have the courage to set the path
There are quiet and busy things in the house. Whisper things that don’t stand out and just need work: a bathroom, a chair, a bed. You also have noisy things around you. Often you received it, inherited it or found it, there is a story for it. They do not always express themselves, yet they take up a lot of unnoticed space. Wake up and eat breakfast. I have a favorite dish and a favorite cup, nothing fancy or expensive. But when it’s dirty in the dishwasher, I think: Hey, pretty bad. Sometimes you don’t know how loud things are until you want to get rid of them. It takes effort, and you’ll be relieved when they’re gone. So. Away. My mother just passed away. She loved pretty things and had a closet I’ve known all my life. My grandmother always had crystal wine glasses. They are cleaned every month. My mom never drank from it. never. For her, they were an object of hope and a higher class. I recently organized an evening in my studio for the neighbours. Now I’ll also use, I thought, those glasses. For the first time, they worked as previously intended. In a different context and environment they got a new story.
We are on our way to a cleaner world. Designing the future does not belong to designers but to politicians and companies. We need clear heads, people who dare to trust intuition, have flexibility. It is often said that children should play sports, because then they learn to suffer and team spirit. At least the importance of teaching is creativity. Paste, cut, make. This way you learn to come up with solutions, create a signature, and dare to set the course. You can have one cut-and-paste designer on the conference table in multinational companies, but it’s also better if the lawyer at that table, the CEO and the marketing manager were creatively trained in their youth.
I was born as an exception. Only a woman among three siblings. A businessman among the artists. Artist in institutions. In Germany, where I lived fifteen years, I am also an exception. It is shown on the printed circuit board and in my included package that I find this mode interesting. Daring to be the exception brings a lot.”
Pictures Catherine Streicher
A version of this article also appeared in NRC Handelsblad on April 2, 2022
A version of this article also appeared on NRC on the morning of April 2, 2022