Enlightened museum commissioning policy bridges creative disciplines

Within two hours of Amsterdam by train nestles Tilburg in the Netherlands, home to an old textile mill and house now repurposed as TextielMuseum. Allied to the museum is the extraordinary TextielLab, an open resource for those interested in developing their skills and forwarding good practice in textile design and production. An inspired commissioning process joins designer and lab to create an expanding series of textile product.

Glithero are British designer Tim Simpson and Dutch designer Sarah van Gameren who were commissioned by TextielMuseum Tilburg to produce the Playing Cards linen tablecloth, an ode to all Jacquard woven fabrics. The pattern was inspired by the system of punched cards that contain the design of the fabric in a code which drives the loom. Playing Cards forms a chapter of a bigger project about coding patterns that unite the art forms of weaving and organ music, Woven Songs Textiles.

Glithero produced two synchronised films and a body of textile works and artefacts in response to the theme Immaterial Heritage choosing woven textile and mechanical organ music as subjects because both work with punched cards that determine the outcomes of their machines; furthermore, they noted both modes of ‘technology transfer’ between generations of makers are in danger of being lost.

Glithero worked with the craftsmen to create a way to produce fabric on the weave machine using organ music punch cards to create the design. In effect, weaving music. Through this unorthodox translation of one craft into another, the skill and wisdom of the crafts is brought to the surface and made visible. The Woven Song textiles and drawings, prototypes, artifacts and the films are held in the permanent collection of the Zuiderzee Museum in the Netherlands.

The Boogie Scarves are silk scarves with a design that is a direct copy of the organ book commissioned by and held in the permanent collection of the Zuiderzee Museum, NL. On exhibition here, The Playing Cards damask table cloths are about the coding patterns that unite the art forms of weaving and organ music card fabrication they were commissioned by TextielMuseum, Tilburg, NL and are sold in the shop as well as held in the permanent collection.