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Takeover #202 Veerle Melis

Veerle Melis: Instagram / Website

#202 (18/04 - 22/04, 2022) written by Robin Speijer and Veerle Melis, interview by Joris Broekhoven

Textile runs through Veerle Melis’ family tree, but she never had imagined she would work with it herself. Having studied Cultural Studies, it was not until a holiday in Greece that she became reacquainted with the medium. During a vacation in Athens together with a friend, just before departing back home, they started talking with the carpet dealer who invited her to come back for a short apprenticeship in carpet knotting. A month later, in Xaris’ carpet restoration atelier, she learned the basics of knotting and weaving.

“Back home I put together my own loom, and knotted two small carpets. Something about that immediately felt very familiar. I usually don’t have much patience, but this enchanted me right away.”

From there on, she experimented onwards with different textile processes. Selfinventing most of her techniques, her practice can be seen as an ongoing meditation on (human and beyond-human) ingenuity and what it means to create. Over the course of countless repetitive gestures, the multi-faceted dynamics of the making process provides insights big and small that feed back into her works. These many manual gestures, the making of a sketch, material-specific characteristics, conceptual ideas, family histories, slips of materials and attention, little mistakes and other unforeseeable events bring forth a certain belly button understanding of the different unfoldings of our world. In an attempt to gather this knowledge, her work is simultaneously a methodology as well as a document that makes these insights visual and tangible.  

Taking inspiration from craftsmanship, decoration, functionality and art in archeological and contemporary ways, she currently is interested in working with linen cord, presumably the oldest form of textile. Bringing together elements of lacemaking and net-knitting she creates linen nets that hold imagery of textile making hand gestures. Reading together these two different fields, lace- and net-making find a new significance. Exploring what textiles can be, she is also incorporating other materials.

“Recently I found 6 kilograms of vintage glass beads, which I am now using for a new work.”

During her takeover, she would like to show us some behind the scenes of her works besides just the finished product. She will also explain more about the background behind them.

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