Textile designer Zara Atelj transforms everyday information into special textile designs. Says Atelj, most "textiles are dyed a single colour, have flower images, or are woven in a geometrical pattern." Her Daily Pattern explores designs based on real content, the daily flow of news from newspapers as an inspiration source for the design of home textiles.
"Everywhere around us we see and use fabric, from the clothes you wear, to the bed sheets you sleep under. Mostly those textiles are dyed a single colour, have flower images, or are woven in a geometrical pattern. They have one thing in common, the designs are meaningless and are made from a purely aesthetic perspective."
"The Daily Pattern is a research project that questions how you can base textile designs on real content. We live in a world that is submerged in a permanent exchange of information. The question is how you can visualise this information and bring it back to its natural environment, the living room or bedroom, without making the patterns sheer infographics or data visualisations."
"The patterns and designs should still have a certain poetic character, and remain something you want to be surrounded with. Using the daily flow of news from newspapers as an inspiration source for the design of home textiles, it was important to highlight the impact and changes in the news and then to transform them into textile patterns."
Says Zara Atelj: "I want to make textiles that are not only stylish, but also have communicative functions. The designed product is the content itself. My goal is to design textiles that not only look good, but that have multiple levels. What looks like a nice pattern now, should be able to reveal other layers, so that you can also discover things in them when you look at them in a few years"
"Using various methods and techniques, the collection ranges from low-tech to high-tech, a combination of hand-crafted and computer-programmed designs that change on a daily basis. This would also make it possible that every piece to be produced, even in big runs, could be unique without having to design every pattern by hand."
"These techniques led to designs like WordCount where the form is created by putting all the news articles from one day into a program that calculates how many times the various words are used. The output results in text-based designs, but also more abstract ones, where all information is converted to braille and barcode."
"The Flag series is created by counting the names of countries that are in the news and transforming them to various patterns that - especially as a series - give a good feeling what was happening in which country in a certain period. Taking the same basic idea as a starting point, Atelj created a series based on elements from tradition textile patterns from each country in the world which are transformed and combined into contemporary designs."
"There are also designs that reflect more on individual issues in the news, like the Burqa Curtain. The Burqa Curtain was made when the discussion in the media about forbidding burqas in public was at its height. It transforms this piece of clothing, that is often seen as scary or oppressive to Western eyes, into an aesthetic experience that plays with ideas of hiding and revealing, equivalent to the typical Dutch ground floor windows, world-famous for the fact that passers-by can just peek in."
"The combination of home textiles and patterns that are based on real information is still a very rare one. The Daily Pattern project shows that even often horrific news can lead to intriguing and aesthetic designs, that open up new ways for the development of the textile design profession."