The art of hacking traditional crafts

23 November 2021

Lore Lore Detremmerie Communications Officer

The art of hacking traditional crafts

by Ana Maria Gomez, Margaux Minodier, Sep Verboom, Alexander Marinus x Noémie Le Meur, Amandine David, Aurélie Defez and Studio Minimètre x BlackWool How do our traditional crafts confront today's innovative techniques? Modern Craft presents Brussels artisans who combine innovation and know-how in their woven creations. They try to hack each in their own way the technical and conceptual  limits of the art of weaving. A fusion of today's advanced technologies and traditional handwork, from craft to industrial. Can handicrafts be hacked by innovation and digitization? Some of the designers here presented literally hack the texture of a raw material with digital techniques such as 3D printing or industrial robotised machines. Others interpret the gap between industry and the world of crafts as an opportunity for a co-creative design process in which both reinforce each other. But how can crafts create a social economical impact with an innovative perspective? Discover how the designers in Modern Craft hack, provocate or rethink with an ecological or social economical approach our current fashion & design production system. 

Circular wool rugs 

By Margaux Minodier

In collaboration with Lottozero and Casalis

Circular Wool Rugs is a design project by textile designer Margaux Minodier, in collaboration with the Italian incubator Lottozero and the Belgian textile manufacturer Casalis. The project, which is translated into a rug, combines the artisanal local know-how with industrial production on a European scale. It represents a natural way of working at a responsible production cost.

The circular wool rug is made exclusively of wool from meat and milk sheep, whose wool is usually discarded or burned. To reveal the purity of the material Margaux Minodier creates relief effects. She plays with the raw wool and explores its digital aesthetic.The wool is therefore not dyed and still unprocessed.

Minodier worked together with the carpet manufacturer Casalis from Kortrijk to create the relief in the rug using their industrial robotized tufting machine. Circular Wool Rugs was made possible with the support of the Federation Wallonia-Brussels and the WORTH Partnership Project of the European Union.

Margaux Minodier is a Brussels-based textile designer who studied at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts. Her work combines craft and industry with culture. Pixels, glitch, looms, tufting, Minodier adapts traditional know-how to the modern digital revolutions.

Knotting Knitting

By Ana Maria Gomez 

Knotting Knitting responds to the feeling of experiencing a domestic space through leisure and dwelling. The idea of having nomadic furniture pieces that can be transported around the house depending on the users’ needs was an inspiration for Ana Maria Gomez. It’s more fluid to think about furniture that responds to what your body asks in the moment instead of the other way around. 

Knotting Knitting is a knitted textile piece constructed with filled bands. It can be reshaped to seat, sleep, read, cover up or lie down. It’s made to adapt actively to the human body and provide any kind of comfort with a warming touch. Made in Belgium with Italian yarn.

Amgs is a design studio on textile research created by Colombian designer Ana María Gómez in 2015, after finishing a Master’s degree in Textile Design at La Cambre in Brussels. Since 2019, Véronique van Lierde joined the design studio. The two now work together on artistic projects with a special focus on textiles and music. Amgs makes pieces that go from wearable items to eclectic functional furniture. The aim is to experiment with the visual, tactile and spatial dimensions of textiles.


By Sep VerboomIn collaboration with Auping To celebrate Auping's fiftieth anniversary in Belgium, the Dutch Bed manufacturer challenged local young design talent Sep Verboom to create an artistic installation about his sustainable dream world based on the Cleopatra's frame. Sep Verboom expresses his vision and environmental commitment by using raw rattan. The rattan comes from Indonesian forests and is certified sustainably produced. The artistic installation of Sep Verboom on the Cleopatra's frame is linked to the 'Wajang Melamun', which means 'dream doll' in Indonesian Javanese. It is a mythical guardian angel who rises from a bed frame and casts a glimpse into our human world. With his interpretation on the frame, Verboom wants to inspire others to keep dreaming awake. To reflect on life in society and to let our creativity flow in all aspects of our lives. Preferably dreaming of a better world, where everyone treats each other with respect. Ghent-based creative Sep Verboom is at once designer and social entrepreneur. He is less concerned with the objectification of the result, more with the context in which it takes place. Verboom graduated with a degree in Industrial Design (HOWEST) and in Sustainable Development from (VIVES) both in Kortrijk, Belgium. In 2018 Sep Verboom won the Belgian Henry Van De Velde Award for Young Talent. In 2020 his commitment to socially engaged design earned him the prestigious title ‘Designer of the Year’ by Biennale Interieur.

eAt ThE rIcH 

By Aurélie Defez 

In fashion, garments and aesthetics originating in popular classes have become models of reference for luxury brands. However, by offering these clothes with price tags unaffordable for the lower classes, brands embody a certain mockery and confirm the elitist position of the rich. Aesthetics are used to distinguish oneself, and in a capitalist society certain aesthetics are consistently valued higher than others. Inevitably, this creates a social hierarchy. ‘eAt ThE rIcH’ is a collection of garments that satirises the absurdity of this trend while questioning the current state of fashion: viral quotes and analytical texts are embroidered onto garments and accessories associated with the working class. By combining cheap garments with refined embroidery, the project challenges the hierarchic organisation of tastes.

Aurélie Defez graduated in 2021 from the Design Academy Eindhoven. She is currently following the master program at the ERG Saint-Luc - School of Graphic Research in Brussels. She situates her work between design and research. 

Pénélope weaving kit & Needle pin

by Studio Minimètre & BlackWool 

With two common design projects, the Pénélope weaving kit and a Needle pin, Studio 

Minimètre and BlackWool combine their knowledge as industrial designers and craftsmen. Their goal is to offer accessible and easy-to-use handmade tools. The Penelope weaving kit is a 3D printed object made from a thermoplastic polyester (PLA) recycled from mussel shells. The mussel shells are collected from restaurants in Normandy and the wool comes from unused wool waste that BlackWool recovers and recycles. 

Blackwool is a project founded in 2019 by Pauline Dornat, who graduated from La Cambre, and later joined by Quentin Brucker. Their goal is to valorize local wool and modernize the industry by reintroducing artisanal know-how in the city of Brussels. 

Studio Minimètre is a duo of industrial designers based in Brussels. Bérénice de Salvatore, who graduated from La Cambre and Bastien Chevrier, who studied at ECAL, develop 3D printed objects out of recycled and compostable materials. 

Matière primaire

by Alexander Marinus & Noemie Le Meur 

One might associate sheep farming and agriculture solely with the countryside, but this documentary proves us that Brussels is the home of an urban network of creators that produce, experiment and work with local textiles. The link between the urban and countryside textile production forms the red threads in this documentary. It is an embodiment of how landscapes, people, cities and non-human life forms are all part of a co-creative textile ecosystem.

Matiere Primaire is a hybrid documentary in process that will be finished in May 2022. It takes a closer look at a series of Brussels-based textile creators, artists, designers, artisans, textile labs and the partners they collaborate with on a regular basis. The first raw edit is presented as part of Modern Craft. In order to treat the filmed images like textile materials, several techniques are transposed to editing techniques.

Alexander Marinus is a multidisciplinary designer with a strong interest in the relationship between culture, society and nature. He strives to bring them together in his body of work, which encompasses material research, textile design, film, writing and has resulted in tapestries, machines, experimental documentary film and everything in between. He feels at home between the worlds of art, design, communication, academics and business. Marinus therefore cooperates with artisans as well as with industries.

Marinus graduated from Design Academy Eindhoven in 2017. Since 2021 he has his studio in the Design residence at MAD Brussels. In that same year, he won the Golden Henry Van De Velde 'Crafts by Bokrijk' award with his design label 'Hey Jute'. 


Weaving Code

by Amandine David, designer & researcherComputational design by Metriek - Sebastiaan LeenknegtCinematography by Alex Pistorius 

Weaving Code is located at the crossroad of hand weaving, programming and 3D printing. The basic computer language made of 0s and 1s originated in the automation of looms. Weaving code connects hand-weaving to 3D printing. While a piece of textile is produced on the loom, an object is generated by the computer using the same binary code. By turning weaving patterns into a programming language, Weaving code aims to explore how traditional crafts and digital tools can enhance each other and to offer an alternative interpretation of technology at large.

Amandine David is a designer and researcher based in Brussels. Her work focuses on the development of design processes, between traditional crafts and digital practices. Amandine is also the co-founder of Hors Pistes, a nomadic residency program that initiates encounters between artisans and designers and promotes the sharing of know-how and transdisciplinary and intercultural collaborations.

Lore Lore Detremmerie Communications Officer