Amandine David & Esmé Hofman
NEW CRAFTS by Crafts Council Nederland
Practicing a craft is not just a manner of making things, it is also a way of communication – among people as well as between people and materials. This understanding is central to the collaborative project of basketry specialist Esmé Hofman and designer and researcher Amandine David.
David and Hofman have been working together for several years. Their practice revolves around the making of hybrid objects from a combination of basketry techniques and machine technology that facilitate a transfer of crafts knowledge from one person to the other. This transfer of knowledge is something both Hofman and David feel is urgent. It implies not only a passing on of historical techniques, but also a means of expression, a way of learning, reasoning and problem solving – one that is not based on spoken of written language, but on looking, feeling, sensing.
The wickerwork objects presented by Hofman and David during Dutch Design Week are constructed using laser-cut ‘tools’ in the shape of perforated rings. These replace the traditional woven base of a basket. Such a woven base is complicated to make and usually dictates the shape of the basket. The laser-cut rings make it easier for beginners to try out basket weaving. At the same time, they allow for a more autonomous and intuitive handling of the cane. They thus act as learning materials as well as starting points for shape experiments.
David developed a script in 3D design software to generate the structures. Hofman creates physical models based on these structures. To further develop the models, feedback is important: from David, from Hofman, but also from the material Hofman works with. This is centercane, a light, strong and flexible type of rattan. How the centercane will behave, computers cannot predict. Ultimately, the material directs what the objects will look like.
Text: Nora Veerman
Photography: Fan Liao