29 April 2024


The Artification of Research

a shadow of a person on a large piece of fabric

She stands at the intersection of art and technology. Her artworks serve as a gateway to experimentation and further research. From distorted twill construction to utilitarian use of color, Milou Voorwinden seamlessly blends technical nuances with her creative vision. Following the blue thread, she reconnects with our industrial past. For The Art of RAW Milou re-examines the concept of denim through recycled yarns, and designs her final piece called Warping Twills. “My approach was to explore the fundamental aspects of the fabric and reconstruct them.

Innovative and experimental. Milou Voorwinden (1990) started out as a product designer and turned textile designer. From the first moment behind the loom, she knew that weaving was her calling. Constantly reinventing traditional techniques, the PhD candidate pursues sustainable 3D weaving. Process so complex, that it required jacquard programming.
Milou Voorwinden in a black and white chevron shirt standing in a room

You are a researcher and a textile designer, how did this start?

“From the first moment I sat behind a loom, I was amazed by the endless possibilities of woven textiles. The yarn, weave structures and each row of thread you insert, all can have a different effect on the properties and the aesthetics of the final fabric. This process is quite special, as it involves both creativity and technical skills. With a background in product design, I quickly recognized the potential for creating 3D woven textiles on the loom. Soon, it became the focus of my work.”
a person is working on a piece of fabric on a table

What was the idea behind this project?

“In my work, I often try to focus on reimagining what we can do with woven textiles, and this was also my approach to this collaboration. I focused on deconstructing and reimagining the core elements of denim fabric, such as the twill weave and the indigo-dyed cotton yarns. Experimenting with the size and direction of twills, I was able to create various twill distortions. All ranging from soft and wavy patterns to sharp and angular structures. This is very detailed work and is barely visible with an unarmed eye.”

“While I enjoy working with color, its use in my artwork is often driven by technical considerations.”

- Milou Voorwinden

a machine with a ladder next to it in a factory

How did you make the art piece?

“I created it using an industrial Jacquard loom. A file needs to be programmed for the loom to read it, and this is the most significant part of my creative process. To design with an industrial Jacquard loom, I begin by creating an image that includes technical colors. With each color representing a specific way in which the yarns will be woven.”
a close up of a weaving machine with blue and green threads

What was your experience like working with denim?

“In this work, I approached denim conceptually. Twill structures and recycled denim yarns played the main role. And to showcase the versatility and depth achievable in woven textiles, I incorporated more of various yarns, adding a bit of my own touch to it.”

Why do you mainly take an industrial approach?

“The unique aspect of weaving on an industrial Jacquard loom is its ability to control each warp thread individually. This allows for many more possibilities, especially when I want to create 3D weave textiles or products. Which links to my initial inspiration: G-Star’s industrial background and their revolutionary approach to 3D denim.”
Milou Voorwinden working on a large piece of fabric in a factory
a person cutting fabric with scissors on a table
a machine that is spinning a large piece of cloth

Speaking of 3D, can you explain your final art piece?

“In my final art piece, through the innovative use of the jacquard loom, I was able to transform it from 2D to 3D. Some parts of the fabric are woven in three layers, the transparent parts, and some parts are woven in two layers, the wavy parts. When these are combined, once the fabric is taken off the loom, it can unfold into a 3D textile. It turned out to be quite an aesthetic piece, while all the decisions along the way were mainly driven by technical reasoning. Similarly to G-Star and their utilitarian approach to design.”


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