Once Upon a Time….

The Theme of Helsinki Design Week 2023 is: Once Upon a Time…

This theme leads us to ask: where does the story of a product begin? On what kind of idea, skill or technique is the product based? The story of Johanna Gullichsen’s textile collection begins with the knowledge of materials and the choice of yarns. The threads cross and overlap to form a bond or weave, transforming the thread into a fabric. The weave shapes the surface and the pattern. The raw material, the quality of the yarn, the colours, and the weave all contribute to the final result.

Fabric design is fascinating and technical. Different weaves have different properties: one is more elastic, another is tight and firm, while a third has a beautiful drape.

The fabric can be woven on simple frames, on looms or even, today, on computerised jacquard weaving machines, but the basic idea remains the same. Each fabric comprises a warp of longitudinal threads and wefts of transverse threads joined together at a 90-degree angle. Each weave has a name: plain weave, twill, satin, panama, waffle, ribbed, etc. The simplest weave is plain weave, where the threads always alternate over and under. The fabric is dense and durable. Even in plain weave, the possibilities are endless: the choice of material, the fabric’s density and the yarn colours offer the designer many possibilities for variation. Twill is a weave familiar from denim, while the smooth Atlas weave is familiar from satin sheets.

For the main venue of Helsinki Design Week, Merikortteli, Johanna Gulllichsen has designed an installation about weaving fabrics. Gullichsen’s team used 5cm wide ribbons to illustrate the different weaves and wove them around cardboard boxes. This way, the enlarged fabric structures are easy to study.

A kind of plain weave was used for the ribbon itself, a ribbed fabric where the warp threads cover the entire surface, and the weft is hidden. The ribbon is woven in three colours: orange, black and white. The asymmetrical order of the colours also contributes to the final result.

Welcome to Merikortteli exhibition from Wednesday 13.09.2023 to Sunday 17.09.2023!

Can you recognise the following weaves in the cubes?

The binding points are marked by squares, with black indicating that the warp thread is above the weft thread. The white square indicates that the weft thread is above the warp thread.