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Makers Space Profile #2: TexLab at Liège (Belgium)

Makers Space Profile #2: TexLab at Liège (Belgium)
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TEXTILES are everywhere: you can see, touch and feel them, you can also make them do things. But there’s a lot that goes into these textiles coming to life: from visualizing to materializing, thinking to rethinking, discovery to rediscovery, each step is crucial and ongoing until the result is achieved. And what’s also crucial is for the textile artist or the researcher to have access to a setting that’s conducive to innovation, where ideas can flow.

Through our “Makers Space Profile” series, we focus on such settings where artists, technologists, designers, and researchers are creating textiles. This time we are featuring the texlab in Liège (Belgium). Here’s what we found out after interacting with texlab’s project manager Marie Beguin… 

The Thought…

The texlab is established by Wallonie Design and co-financed within the framework of the Creative Hub of Liège, thanks to the financial support provided by the European and Wallonia funds. Wallonie Design is a non-profit organization which among other things has the mission of stimulating and strengthening the skills of designers, of leveraging the power and potential of design to drive innovation, and of facilitating the integration of designers into the industry (creating more jobs). Wallonie Design set up the texlab so as to fulfill the designers’ need for a creative, collaborative and interactive space; it’s intention was to bridge the gap between the designer’s studio and the industry.

The Place…

The texlab is a laboratory dedicated to textiles. The principle behind the Lab is as follows: designers, stylists, artists or entrepreneurs rent the state-of-the-art equipment that allows them to research, prototype or manufacture unique/customized pieces or limited editions. The user is free to explore the equipment, while benefiting from the necessary supervision by the Lab’s staff, so as to ensure the best use of the equipment as well as to guarantee the quality of the results. One of the unique offerings at the texlab de Liège is access to the digital jacquard sampling loom (TC2). The users of the loom are closely supervised/ guided through the entire weaving process, right from the development of the textile (creation of the design, deciding on the weave structures and materials’ selection) to its potential production (industrial), following the research.

Having been a high-quality textile manufacturing region for centuries, Belgium still has many weaving factories. However, these production spaces do not offer the possibility of delving deep into textile research, mainly because industrialists are driven by productivity, which leaves a limited scope for creativity. By establishing the texlab in Liège, Wallonie Design wanted to encourage research into textiles, by creating a space that was conducive to innovation and where it would be possible to gain expertise in weaving. Having the TC2 loom at texlab allows textile designers to either prototype a project, launch their production or simply train on/ practice the digital jacquard weaving technique that’s commonly used in the Belgian weaving industry.

The People…

The projects on the TC2 loom are supervised by Marie Beguin, a textile designer whose training and professional experience is in the field of weaving and which enables her to assist the loom’s users on wide range of projects. Also a part of the team at texlab is Fanny Van Hammée, who’s a fashion and costume designer.

Among the many users of the facilities at the texlab are artists and designers, textile designers, fashion designers, researchers or business owners. And each of the projects that they undertake vary in their intent, approach and the techniques that are employed – these may be projects related to the circular economy, fine art research, surface design for fashion or even for interiors – of which one or more stages are carried out on the equipment at texlab Liège.

The Projects… 

Follow the texlab Liège on their Instagram page to keep track of the daily life at the workshop 🙂

Tryst with Weaving…

When featuring Makers Spaces, we think it’s both interesting (and imperative!) to find out the background of the person who’s incharge of the Lab and how they got hooked to weaving. and so, here’s the story of Marie :)…

Wallonie Design entrusted the development of the textile design department of its “texlab” to a project manager whose professional experiences reflects that she’s deeply passionate about and has a desire to transmit the knowledge about weaving techniques. Marie graduated from ARBA-Esa in 2009, following which she took up many roles: assistant of textile designer Cenk Kivrikoglu for 10 years, taught weaving for 7 years at ABK Maastricht, was an assistant at the textile design workshop at La Cambre Bruxelles for 6 years, and for now, teaches weaving at ARBA – Esa in Brussels. She also runs her workshop under the brandname ‘NoMoreTwist‘, which has placed jacquard weaving at the heart of its projects and decorative objects’ collections since 2010.

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