Celebrate the Flavours of Wool for De Lakenhal

By: Claudy: 18-03-2024

The long-standing collaboration between Claudy Jongstra and Museum De Lakenhal gets another boost as the museum celebrates its 150th anniversary on 1 May with the presentation of 'Celebrate the Flavours of Wool', the new art work Claudy Jongstra specially commissioned by Museum De Lakenhal, which will be unveiled on 1 May 2024. The newly acquired work is a follow-up to Jongstra's 2020-2021 exhibition at the museum. Back then, the artist created the impressive monumental installation NINE, a weaving of over a hundred square metres in shades of blue and black, which referred to the colours of the Leiden Cloth. Tanja Elstgeest, director of Museum De Lakenhal: "Claudy Jongstra is an internationally renowned artist, who already showed in that earlier exhibition how well her work suits us. With her love of wool and knowledge of centuries-old techniques, she makes the connection between Leiden's past as a city of the cloth industry and the present.' The custom-made Celebrate the Flavours of Wool that will adorn the stairwell also literally connects the ground floor of the old Laecken-Halle and the floor where Leiden's textile history is presented. 

The more than six-metre-long work is made of ecological wool from Drenthe Heath Sheep and Spanish merino wool, which was already imported from Spain in the 17th century for the production of cloth. Jongstra uses various techniques such as weaving and felting the sheep's wool, which is dyed with natural colour pigments, including her famous, complexly obtainable Burgundian Black palette and warm deep reds and oranges. She also uses different shapes and closed and semi-transparent layers. The title refers to the celebration of the knowledge underlying the production of naturally dyed wool and all the scents, colours and flavours the work holds. In addition, the artwork constitutes a call for a more diverse, inclusive and ecologically just model within the textile industry. 

Also a very special kimono from the new LOADS Collection will be presented. The LOADS NNL#4 is a mix between a modern trench coat and a Japanese kimono and is based on the fabric Nieuw Leids Laken #4, which Jongstra presented at the museum in 2020, simultaneously with a major solo exhibition in collaboration with guest curator Suzanne Oxenaar. Here, Jongstra showed Woven Skin, Cosmic Cry and NINE, among others. The brand new kimono that bears the hallmark 'Nieuw Leids Laken', is of high quality both in terms of fabric and contemporary technique, and the artistry of the makers Claudy and Jesk Jongstra. They created a contemporary translation of the handmade woolen cloth that flourished in Leiden seven centuries ago. For the design of the fabric with flower and leaf patterns called 'Woven Herbarium', Jongstra drew inspiration from six dye plants she found on Vlieland in 2018, such as honeysuckle and lady’s bedstraw.

For LOADS Collection, they collaborated with the best specialized experts in the Netherlands such as with EELabels who weaved the organic woolen fabric and master taylor Hetty den Brok of Atelier Eykerdel.

Fabric NLL#4 is available by the metre in the museum shop of De Lakenhal, as well as the kimono and other designs from the LOADS Collection.

Photo's LOADS Collection: marcelvandervlugt

Photo's Celebrate the Flavours of Wool: Patricia Nauta