Not just a knit

WORDS: Remy Raitt

Dutch textile designer, Nanna van Blaaderen, is one stitch in a global tapestry of crafts proving the predictions that a move back to knitwear in design is very much on trend.

In last year’s issue 52, VISI predicted that wool, knitting and weaving would take on a whole new dimension in 2011. Nanna van Blaaderen is a Dutch knitter, with a penchant for nature and the softer side of life, who is demonstrating just that.

Nanna’s eco-conscious and sculptural hand- and machine-knit products blend raw structures and soft textures to create unique items for fashion, interior and more autonomous fields.

Using creative techniques and inspiration from nature, Nanna’s work is catching the attention of the world.

VISI spoke to Nanna about her beautiful creations.

Nanna, when did you begin working in textiles and knitting specifically?

Growing up as the daughter of a textile designer and a sculptor I was in contact with textile and design at an early age. During my studies, I explored fashion design, photography and textiles. It was in 2004 that I started to focus on, and specialise in, knit design – both machine knitting and knitting by hand.

Why do you like this medium?

In knitting I have found a discipline in which I can fully express my fascination and passion for textiles, fashion-design, nature and the human body. The potential of this discipline to create structures, textures and shapes in various materials is infinite, especially with current developments in innovative materials and technology.

What types of textiles do you focus on: fashion, accessories, product design…?

My textiles are both abstract and design products. In my designs I focus on fashion and on interior design.
Research, experiment, craft and innovation are important elements in my work. Over the last few years I have developed various concepts and collections in knit design.

How are you able to express yourself through textile design?

In my designs I aim to integrate elegance, comfort, quality and sustainability. In knitting I have found a way to unite these different elements into natural, tactile designs.

How is nature referenced in your work? Also, how does nature inspire your work?

Nature and animal life are essential sources of inspiration in my work. The beauty of nature and animals are recurring themes in my designs. I also aim to develop design products that can support sustainability, awareness and respect for nature and animals.

What is your involvement with conceptual design company Droog? How were the responses to your work?

Droog gave me the opportunity to present my new collections. The responses to the exhibition, the products and the website have been amazing!

Where are your design items sold?

Through our network, personal contacts and requests. Soon they will be sold on my website and other selling points.

What else do you have planned for the future?

 To extend my label and collections. And to further develop sustainable collections that can contribute on different levels.

Do you hope to one day visit South Africa, and its wildlife?

Yes, for our next project, a knit collection, we will research nature and animal life in South Africa. We will have the photo shoot of this collection in South Africa as well.

Anything else you would like to share?

I am lucky and grateful to work with a talented team, amongst them the amazing Dutch photographer Pablo Delfos, who took the photos of my recent collections.

More information:

Nanna van Blaaderen from robertanderson on Vimeo.