With an eye for unusual materials, the We Make Carpets art collective takes a material they fancy, say plastic forks, and make a carpet out of it. These aren’t your mum’s carpets, as they’re strictly for the sake of artistic expression and won’t take too kindly to a walking on. Don’t Panic chatted with Bob Waardenburg, Marcia Nolte and Stijn Vandervleuten to see what makes them tick.
How did WE MAKE CARPETS come to be? It's a very unique concept, I've never heard of anything quite like it.
Stijn: During our second Dutch Design Week exhibition Instant Nature, we were asking ourselves whether nature could be design and visa versa. In one of the objects in this exhibition we were organizing leaves, pine needles, pine cones, acorns, etc. and all of a sudden we saw the beginning of what became our first carpet; Forest Carpet.
Some of these projects look like massive undertakings, how much time do they take on average?
Marcia: It depends on the size, from the small in two days to the bigger ones in 6 days. For Brick Carpet we hired three extra people every day.
What has been the hardest carpet to complete? How was it particularly challenging?
Bob: Pasta Carpet 2 was a long haul. It gave RSI kind of problems because of all the small pieces. It was Paul's album, Graceland, which kept us going
Stijn: Brick Carpet, because of the physical devastation.
Marcia: I personally had a few injuries while making the Brick Carpet. First my back, then my arm. But is was nice weather and we were outside. After brick carpet we made Pasta Carpet 2 and that one was actually more challenging, we had to sit all day on the floor. And because the products are small, (you can not 'throw' them on the floor, like the bricks, which are more solid products,) you make very tiny spasmodic movements. Which makes you want to dance sometimes. Thanks to Paul Simon we made it to the end. He really brought us some energy and we are very thankful for that.
Pasta Carpet 2
Have you sold any work or do you intend to?
Bob: It would be great, but of course, it is the buyer’s problem how to preserve one. Mustard carpet would be ideal for that, or the ones that can stick like Wounded carpet (made from medical tape). But if someone really wants to buy one, I'm sure we can find a solution for all this.
Stijn: We have been doing commissioned work, but haven't sold any of our carpets and I think that isn't our intention. But we would like to do commissioned work more often!
Marcia: Because everything is loose on the floor, it makes it difficult to sell the product. But we can sell the concept. We think our carpets will work very well on events, exhibitions or special interiors.
The brick carpet was a project for the festival Flux/s in Eindhoven. That was a paid job. I think the biggest compliment would be to sell a carpet to a museum.
We had a little carpet out of mustard seeds, we put it under a glass bowl, that was probably a carpet, which you could buy and place in your apartment as an art object.
Are there any materials you're dying to work with?
Bob: I want to make one of Swarovski crystals.
Marcia: Animals like chickens, rabbits for example (but they move too much). Tents for Lowlands festival would be a great big project
Do any of you have a specialty in this or do just possess a natural talent?
Bob: We are designers and artists we are trained in making things, but we have no carpet specialty though.... although after 11 carpets or so I guess you can say we have some kind of specialty in making these particular carpets
Marcia: I think we love working with existing materials. And I think we have a talent to look very closely to the material. What it actually is, what you can do with it, what the shape is, and what the shape tells you to do with it.
Is any of the work inspired by other artists?
Bob: I don't know, we listen a lot of music during the making... so I guess there are bands who inspire us to keep on going when we don’t want to anymore, like the Graceland album of Paul Simon.
What do you want your audience to take away from your work?
Bob: We want to focus on the objects. to have people take a look at things they normally don't look at as an esthetic object. we want to look at the things that are mass produced by us and present them as unique.
Stijn: We want to show them the beauty of super ordinary objects that surround us.
Marcia: there are beautiful things around you, take a look at them.
View more pictures on their website wemakecarpets.wordpress.com.