Taking a Thread For a Walk

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

By Social Fabric

Social Fabric visual explanation of the project - journeys iteration by Social FabricOriginal Source: Social Fabric

WEAVING THE THREAD

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.

Social Fabric journey workshop (2016) by Social FabricOriginal Source: Social Fabric

LET'S START AT THE END OF THE WALK: THE WORKSHOP

The workshop was themed on "journeys" both literal (socks) and metaphysical (life's journeys).  What ideas & concepts did this inspire in the participating designers?

Social Fabric journey workshop, Social Fabric, 2016, Original Source: Social Fabric
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Social Fabric journey workshop, Social Fabric, 2016, Original Source: Social Fabric
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Social Fabric journey workshop (2016) by Social FabricOriginal Source: Social Fabric

Social Fabric journeys workshop, one of the concept sheets that came out of the workshop for cross-disciplinary creatives (2016) by Ian Grose & Nicoletta MichaletosOriginal Source: Social Fabric

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

Social Fabric journeys workshop, one of the concept sheets that came out of the workshop for cross-disciplinary creatives (2016) by Chantal LouwOriginal Source: Social Fabric

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

Social Fabric journeys workshop, one of the concept sheets that came out of the workshop for cross-disciplinary creatives (2016) by Sibabalwe NdlwanaOriginal Source: Social Fabric

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

Social Fabric journeys workshop, one of the concept sheets that came out of the workshop for cross-disciplinary creatives (2016) by Marli FourieOriginal Source: Social Fabric

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

FALKE SA sock factory (2016) by Social FabricOriginal Source: Social Fabric

THE STARTING THREAD

The journey first began at FALKE SA, a global sock manufacturer who hosted Pierre Fouche as artist-in-residence.

Pierre Fouche with portrait crocheted using industrial sock threads (2016) by Pierre FoucheOriginal Source: Social Fabric

PAIRING MAN & MACHINE

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.  

Pierre Fouche, Judgement of Paris (after Wtewael) (2013) by Pierre FoucheOriginal Source: Social Fabric

FIRST, ABOUT PIERRE FOUCHE

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.  

Pierre Fouche, Brett posing for an imaginary portrait of Raymond Buys (2015) by Pierre FoucheOriginal Source: Social Fabric

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.

Pierre Fouche, The last time you let me do this to you (2016) by Pierre FoucheOriginal Source: Social Fabric

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, in his studio (2016) by Social FabricOriginal Source: Social Fabric

THE MIDDLE OF THE JOURNEY: WEAVING THE THREAD

Pierre Fouche's works arising from the residency

Pierre Fouche, pattern to be knitted using FALKE's industrial sock machine (2016) by Pierre FoucheOriginal Source: Social Fabric

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

Pierre Fouche, pattern to be knitted using FALKE's industrial sock machine (2016) by Pierre FoucheOriginal Source: Social Fabric

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 Fouche, Portrait of Hanlie sons (private commission), detail (2016) by Pierre FoucheOriginal Source: Social Fabric

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

Pierre Fouche, Portrait of Hanlie sons (private commission) (2016) by Pierre FoucheOriginal Source: Social Fabric

Portrait of Hanlie sons, 2016, private commission.

Liza Grobler & Pierre Fouche, in conversation about their ideas and works from their Social Fabric artists-in-residences (2016) by Social FabricOriginal Source: Social Fabric

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 Fouche with Ashraf Jamal & Werner Ungerer, Europa…Europa (2016) by Pierre Fouche, Ashraf Jamal & Werner UngererOriginal Source: Social Fabric

Europa...Europa

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".

Outcome from Social Fabric SA journey iteration: focus on Pierre Fouche as artist-in-residence at FALKE SA; drawing inspiration from life's journeys. Outcome from Social Fabric SA journey iteration: focus on Pierre Fouche as artist-in-residence at FALKE SA; drawing inspiration from life's journeys. (2016-06-11) by Social FabricOriginal Source: Social Fabric

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

Europa...Europa
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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