'Dutch Design Daily'
by Lilian Driessen
Karolien van Mensvoort (1965) graduated in 1990 at the Fashion Department of the Artez Hogeschool voor de Kunsten in Arnhem. Subsequently she worked as a freelancer for many different Dutch fashion companies as fashion designer, print designer, technical draftsman and illustrator. She also designed prints for the decorated paper and interior branch. Since 2012 she has dedicated herself to working on (handloom) weaving and knitting, or mixing both techniques.
Apart from her commercial assignments, Karolien strongly needs the making of products fully based on her personal taste and insight. Working intuitively, following her free will. Nothing is planned, it is given while doing. She currently makes experimental woolen plaids and cushions. The product doesn’t have to be a garment, nor fit your body; it may live in your personal space instead. She searches for that which seems illogic within a method, rooted in tradition and craftsmanship, however not applied in that specific manner.
She twists various colors of yarns together, dyed and spun by herself. Of those yarns she weaves or knits large throws. She always allows herself to unexpectedly or randomly intervene during the making process. The more sturdy strips of fabric are simply cut from (knit) wool and woven in. Then, she bathes the fabric in slightly warm water, so their softness in touch and feel improves. She wants to actively feel what she is making; it has to be soft, comfortable and voluminous. Only after the designs are finished she judges if they fit together in color and shape. A valuable moment that has gotten lost in the reality of today’s industry.