Inspired by nature, temporal and structural patterns in textiles

Posted on February 2019

The two-year postdoc project in the field of practice-based textile research at the Department of Design provided an extended understanding of design research. I had the pleasure to join Empirica and Fashion and Textile Futures research groups. The participation widened my horizons on the ideas of design research. Professor Mäkelä was generously sharing her expertise in practice led-research and I was able to engage in special events like the VI Art of Research conference 2017 and the Matter Seminar in 2018.

My project aimed to explore rhythms found in nature and how they can be translated into new forms of textile design expressions. The main question of my project was: How could the ever changing sunlight, the movement of water and wind, the growth principles of plants and trees be studied, documented and their essence extracted into new forms of design expressions? I observed, studied and documented dynamic processes in nature (like the growth principles of plants) and extracted their essence into new forms of design expression.

What started out as an artistic investigation in textile design research turned into an aesthetic exploration of microscopic photography and it’s metamorphose in diverse media. It is an observation into the internal cell structure of plants and how these create their overall form. I have been searching for different ways of documenting and mapping this inter-relationship as a designer and artist. The work has been conducted through several paths:


“Willow“, cross section: magnification: 6,3x. Photography: Barbara Jansen


Taking images at the microscope turns a 3-dimensional object into a 2-dimensional image. But how to turn a 2-dimensional image back into 3D? This is an observation and form study from 2D to 3D. Firstly explored through 3D printing and secondly in ceramics. Thereby 3D printing has been used as a tool to create molds to slip cast ceramic. The ceramic explorations have been created in collaboration with Tomi Pelkonen, the ceramic workshop master from Aalto University.

“Willow: 3-dimensional explorations”, 3D printing, 2018. Photography: Henrik Bengtsson


“Microscopic landscapes”, ceramic, 2018. Photography: Jan Berg



Exploring the microscope images at 100-year-old silk weaving Jacquard loom at Fondazione Arte Della Seta Lisio, Florence/Italy.

“Willow 1.1”, silk jacquard weave, 2018. Photography: Jan Berg.



Exploring material behaviours of nanocellulose (tempo-oxidized) through diverse ceramic mould making techniques in collaboration with Tomi Pelkonen. Material accessed via Chemarts Laboratory.

“Observing form”, nanocellulose, 2018. Photography: Henrik Bengtsson

I am extremely grateful for this unexpected, challenging, surprising and inspirational journey.