Taking a Thread For a Walk

Social Fabric

Paul Klee said drawing is taking a line for a walk. In that sense, can weaving be taking a thread for a walk?

Social Fabric is a platform for artists, designers and textile manufacturers to collaborate. In this iteration, artist Pierre Fouche joins FALKE SA, a global sock company, as artist-in-residence. Designers join via a workshop. Together they weave "the thread" which takes us for a walk.
The workshop was themed on "journeys" both literal (socks) and metaphysical (life's journeys).  What ideas & concepts did this inspire in the participating designers?

Ian Grose's and Nicoletta Michaletos' idea for a "survival" sock - in an emergency, it'd be as useful as Bear Gryll's toolkit.

Chantal Louw suggests sock "monsters" - she says it's for children but might it not appeal to adults too?!

Sibabalwe Ndlwana suggests a sock for all climates and all moods.

A sock idea and a poem on how we can move more lightly on this planet, by Marli Fourie.

The journey first began at FALKE SA, a global sock manufacturer who hosted Pierre Fouche as artist-in-residence.
Pierre Fouche is best known for artworks made from lace that he makes by hand. Pairing him with FALKE who - like most manufacturers - relies on machines may seem an odd pairing. But it is this very incongruity that we believe could yield unexpected thinking.  
He is best known for artworks made from handmade lace and crochet. Shown is "Judgement of Paris (after Wtewael)" made with bobbin lace and macrame and it is large, being 2 metres in length.  

Brett posing for an imaginary portrait of Raymond Buys

is also made from bobbin lace and macrame - though using a different polyester braid than the previous work. It measures 200 cm x 140 cm.

The last time you let me do this to you

is a work that could be said to abstract the body.

Acrylic rope and binding wire bondage harness sculpture. 78 x 44 x 30cm

Pierre Fouche's works arising from the residency

The Residency at FALKE

When asked about his residency at FALKE, Pierre explained that he became intrigued with the manufacturing machines and considered the overarching benefit of his residency to be a new interest in, and an openness to, explore mechanised craft production techniques conceptually and materially.

Indeed, he designed a pattern to be made using FALKE machinery. Shown: Karl knitting pattern

This and the previous pattern are in the knitting machine’s code, and the patterns read as beautiful abstractions in their own right, but each, in fact, are based on photographs.

This is based on a picture of a man holding his small son on his lap teaching him how to knit. The previous pattern is based on a photo of the small boy, now a grown man, concentrating on remembering how to knit.

Conceptually, the patterns are like bridges between the digital and the personal.

Shown: Baby Karl knitting pattern for FALKE machinery

Pierre also used some FALKE threads to make a private commission portrait.

Portrait of Hanlie sons, 2016, private commission.

Pierre Fouche, in conversation

Pierre Fouche, in conversation with Liza Grobler (pictured), another Social Fabric artist, about his experience as artist-in-residence at FALKE


Pierre also used sport sock threads to embroider a map as part of a collaborative work with two other artists. Fouche’s map, distorted in geography particularly in the areas outside of Europe, is derived from an antique map.

The text is a poem written as if from the memory of Africa when “discovered” by Europeans.

Europa...Europa, 2016, with Ashraf Jamal & Werner Ungerer,
pen and ink on Munken pure cotton and industrial sport socks thread on cotton

and a fitting end to our "walk with a thread".

Find out more about this iteration via the Journeys outcome book. Click the image to view, or download a copy from our website Social Fabric SA.

Social Fabric is a not-for-profit project. We thank the DOEN Foundation and the University of Stellenbosch, Fine Art, this iteration's tertiary partner.

Contact us at: SocialFabricSA@gmail.com

Credits: Story

Credits and Links:

Pierre Fouche artworks
Brett posing for an imaginary portrait of Raymond Buys
2015, bobbin lace, macrame in polyester braid, 200 x 140 cm

Judgement of Paris (after Wtewael)
2013, bobbin lace, macrame in polyester braid, 200 x 80 cm

The last time you let me do this to you
2016, acrylic rope, binding wire bondage, harness, 78 x 44 x 30cm

Portrait of Hanlie sons (private commission)
2016, crochet, lace made from industrial sock thread

in collaboration with Ashraf Jamal & Werner Ungerer
2016, pen and ink on Munken Pure, cotton- and industrial sports socks thread on cotton, 74 x 47 cm

All photo credits: Pierre Fouche

Find out more about Pierre Fouche

Films of Pierre Fouche
videographer: Yasmin Hankel
to see the full films of Pierre in conversation with Liza Grobler about their respective experiences at their residencies
and the ideas that came out of the residencies

Find out more about the Social Fabric "journeys" iteration
including more concept sheets and prototypes, visit our website

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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