Friday, 13 September 2013

Dream-like weaves

What do you think happens when a graphic designer, illustrator and artist who is renowned for his colourful and bold creations – and who has worked for such mega brands as AT&T, Diesel, Issey Miyake, Jennifer Lopez, Lacoste, Levi’s, The New York Times, Nike, Microsoft, Playboy, Swarovski, The Times, Vespa and Wallpaper to mention a few – so what do you think happens when he finds the world of jacquard weaving? He gets completely carried away and it is totally dream-like and ghostly, absolutely hypnopompic* what happens (*associated with the semi-consciousness preceding waking).

Arachne's web.
Hypnopompic is also the title for the exhibition of the Finnish-born, Amsterdam-based Kustaa Saksi unveiling his jacquard weaves at the Korjaamo Galleria in Helsinki. His imaginative, often surrealistic nature-inspired designs have gained international acclaim in recent years. The striking tapestries are no exception.

Arbor vitae.

A few years ago, Kustaa Saksi had his first professional contact with wool when he was invited to design patterns for the Italian knitwear company Gentry Portofino. He got excited about the material and its potential. In fact, he became thrilled to such an extent that for the last one and a half years before the exhibition he kept making the 100-km journey from Amsterdam to the Textile Museum in Tilburg to study the tricks of the jacquard technique. According to his own words, he was on fire when the museum’s old weaving machine finally started to produce his textile designs and he saw them for the first time in three dimensions.

Hiding in plain sight.

The jacquard loom developed by the French Joseph Marie Jacquard at about 1800 was one of the earliest programmable machines and one of the first ones controlled by punched cards, i.e. a sort of an early version of a computer. The loom allows complex mechanically patterned weaves in multiple colours. 

Snowy owl.
The closer you inspect the Snowy owl the more you think you distinguish human or fairytale-like figures.

In addition to different types of wool, Saksi has also used various other sorts of yarn to increase the three-dimensional texture of his creations: cotton, linen, viscose, acrylic, polyamide, even metallic yarn as well as phosphorescent yarn that glows in the dark.

Blood brothers.

Chirp, chirp.

Thanks to the inventive materials, the tapestries are amazingly light compared with the traditional ones we are used to or with almost any other kind of wall-hanging textiles.

In the fish trap.
Herbarium of dreams.

The exhibition also includes a few illusion-like serigraphs printed on black-and-white photos taken by photographer Matti Pyykkö, a friend of Saksi’s.

A numbered edition of six has been weaved of each of the jacquard tapestries and the price tag is €5,400. These are clearly for the venturesome, as a work of art on its own right, as a collector’s item or as a fabulous piece to improve the acoustics. Whichever it is, Saksi’s weaves will certainly be the conversion piece in every space where they are hanged.

PS from Feb 2014: The tapestries will be on display at the Palacio de Cibeles in Madrid from February 6 to March 31, 2014.


  1. No onpas komeaa taidetta ja sangen persoonallista. Selkeästi kyllä nousi esiin ne, jotka voisi ottaa meidän seiniä koristamaan.

    1. Itselläni vähän tökki tuo "Katiskassa", mutta palasin vielä senkin kuvaamaan, ettei jäänyt aukkoa sarjaan.

  2. Oh my god, I have been studying jacquard weaving so I know it's complexities and how challenging it is to transfer drawing into weaving. Thanks for showing the work of this artis!

    1. I was thinking you might know a thing or two about jacquard, too. Aren't they amazing!

  3. Olipa mielenkiintoista nähdä nämä. Luin jostain pitkän Saksin haastattelun, jossa hän kertoi töiden syntyprosessista. Se oli tavattoman mielenkiintoista. Miten paljon vaivannäköä nuo ovatkaan vaatineet.

    1. On se ihmeellistä, että kun ihminen jostain todella innostuu, hän menee vaikka läpi harmaan kiven.

  4. Replies
    1. Saksilla on hurjia uninäkyjä migreenin takia. Nämä kuvastaa niitä.