Teresa van Twuijver, Amsterdam#
I am an artist, researcher and journalist living in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. My focus is on layered textiles, mainly bedwear. I make patchwork quilts or ‘lappendekens’ (‘cloth blankets’) as we call them in Dutch. At Fabricademy I want to learn how to embed interactive technology in quilts so they can help people sleep better. In fact I want to create a ‘cyberquilt’. Also I want to discover if there are new and more endurable ways to (re)use small pieces of fabric for contemporary patchwork. By exploring both traditional and emerging patchwork and quiltwork I want to personalize quilts by integrating people’s stories in the design, hopefully thereby stimulating people to use, mend and treasure their quilts for a lifetime.
A (New) Media Artist#
As an artist I have a background in (new) media art and interaction design. I studied unstable and digital technologies at Gerrit Rietveld Academy, where I graduated with an honours degree in artistic research, having developed an interactive ‘photo finish’ installation to study time. I studied under guidance of (among others) artist-researcher Jennifer Kanary. By the way I am now an assistent in her Labyrinth Psychotica Project, which is a great inspiration for my own interactive textiles projects.
For a long time my main profession was journalism. As a writer and photographer I produced stories for newspapers, magazines and television programmes. For two years I was a correspondent in South-Africa, reporting from Cape Town on politics, human issues and the arts. For the last two years I have used my storytelling skills as an activist, researcher and campaigner for a left wing political party. I feel strongly that the world, which includes the planet as a whole, needs change in order to create a safe, pleasant and fruitful future for all things living. I would like to ask everyone who reads this to think of the things they love and hold dear: how would you like to pass these on to newer generations? If we start with protecting and sustaining what we love most, no matter how big or how small, we maybe might also find love in the difficult, perhaps painful proces of change needed to stop global warming, overconsumption and inequality. Me? I love textiles and quilts. So I start from there.
In Amsterdam we have a lot of pigeons. Some are quite unhygienic. I had to make this scarecrow recently to get rid of a couple of pigeons that were nesting above the entrance to our house. Which was a deed of activism with all the neigbours, since our landlord refused to clean the pigeons’ droppings.
On a Personal Note#
A few years back I was struck with illness – from which I am now almost fully recovered – and was forced to spend a large amount of time in bed or resting on the couch. During that time I took up my old passion for quilting, a craft I have loved and practiced since I was a girl. Whilst experimenting with new ways of assembling patchwork and alternative methods of quilting and binding multiple layers of fabric (all by hand), and at the same time struggling with ill health and resulting mood swings, I got the idea for a quilt that would interactively boost and sustain a person’s well-being, both physically by technology and mentally by design. I started doing some research on how nature performs thermoregulation biologically (both in animals and plants) and I tried to discover what scientific progress is made concerning ‘smart’ bedwear and interactive quilts of blankets. Also I was looking into the beneficial (psychological) effects of pattern, grid and use of colour.
A love affair combining technology and crafts.
Fabricademy team Amsterdam.
Please feel free to visit my personal website at teresavantwuijver.nl but maybe first browse this Fabricademy folder.