Dutch design studio WE MAKE CARPETS is made up of three designers (Marcia Nolte, Stijn van der Vleuten and Bob Waardenburg) who bring unconventionality to the accepted definition of carpets. The studio works with everyday materials like plastic forks, kitchen sponges, matches and balloons to make carpets that don't necessarily belong on the floor; some are not even meant to be touched. But their most recent collection of carpets are very hands on – in fact, that's the name of their latest exhibition at Melbourne's NGV Triennial.
Featuring the work of over a hundred artists and designers from a bunch of different countries, the NGV Triennial exhibits transect through cultures, scales, geographies and perspectives. The show explores cutting edge technologies, architecture, animation, performance, film, painting, drawing, fashion design, tapestry and sculpture. WMC’s entry – aptly entitled Hands On – is a colourful exploration and re-addressing of the every day object.
"While making art we rely on a hands-on approach," WMC said about their creations, "working with the materials that you have in your hands – trying and failing until finally something beautiful emerges".
Hands On is made up of six original carpets and five interactive installations. The latter exhibits have turned the NVG children's gallery into an interactive space where visitors can contribute to the exhibition – crafting the final look of the carpets by means of their own playful interventions. "We believe the images in your head are more important than the things already known," WMC said. "It's fantasy that creates, not facts".
Visitors are invited to contribute their own patterns, ideas, and imagery by contributing to patterned floor and wall-based work. They can choose between making dashes of colour with rope on the wall; colour-matching a mural of pegs with pool noodles; and playing with colour and shape using velcro swatches.
Aside from a jubilant return to the childlike tradition of making things out of other things, the exhibition is a celebration of colour, pattern and participatory design. Not only are these unusual carpets delightful to look at, they remind us of how simple and effective it can be for any group of people to work together to making something novel and beautiful.
Images courtesy of WE MAKE CARPETS.