Today I am excited to introduce you to a Textile designer Anouk van der Laan, based in Amsterdam, who creates beautiful environmentally friendly textile products for her brand Winter in Holland. In her work artist uses natural materials, cotton and wool, to create knitted scarves and home décor items. But I am not going to tell you much more, instead I would like to invite you to read the story Anouk shared with us:
What do we need to know about you?
Winter in Holland is founded in 2012, starting only designing hand knitted scarfs. Throughout the years I started to see it more as a textile design company; I now design a collection of fabrics that are eventually executed in product such as scarfs and blankets. Two of the 4 collections are still hand-knitted and the yarns also are hand dyed. At the moment I am teaching ladies from my neighborhood in Amsterdam how to knit and eventually make my designs. The company is growing and as are the sales, I cannot knit it all on my own anymore. The women I just described, will be producing for me in the future. For now I will still dye the yarns myself.
The company’s vision:
‘I’d rather have an item for a long time. One that marks my personality. One that reaches beyond seasons or years. A product should last as long as the wearer decides it fits their personality.’
Winter in Holland produces high quality Dutch textiles guided by its founder’s vision of forming a sartorial marriage between aesthetics and function.
Since its inception, Winter in Holland has focussed on creating exceptional fabrics, both hand- made, and hand-dyed. Even after establishing a solid production line in The Netherlands driven by her company’s growth, Anouk van der Laan maintains her hand-made textiles while launching a new line; The Wovens.
What are your daily inspirations? What motivates you?
My motivation is my curiosity. The curiosity to learn new techniques, to find the best yarns and the most beautiful combinations. The most functional way to use materials and the most excellent way to design new patterns and structures. Not only the curiosity in the craft and design is what motivates me, also building a company and execute this perfectly drives me a lot!
I get inspired basically by experimenting. A first idea always gets born through other work I do, and when I have the time to experiment, I get back at the idea I had when I was busy working on other stuff. It’s a boring answer, but it basically is what inspiration is for me, besides the usual ‘whatever I see during the day’ answer 😉
Describe your creative process. What is your favourite part of it?
The favorite part of my creative process is the actual designing; finding yarns, and bring colors and structures together. Give it a look and feel and work that through in the whole branding of the collection. That includes doing photoshoots and making the lookbooks. It also is quite hard; I need to focus and lock myself in my atelier for weeks every year. That is the time when everything needs to fall together and everything needs to fit. It is a time where I make crucial decisions; when you make the wrong design choices, a product may come out super ugly and no-one will appreciate that!
How does your work space look like? What do you like about it? What would you change?
I moved into this space in September 2015. It is situated in an old plastic factory in one of the industrial areas of Amsterdam. My atelier space is one of the direction offices. It is a long space and one wall is complete window, which lets a lot of light in. My atelier is completely white and has huge white closets to stuff all my colorful yarns in. I have one knitting machine in the atelier, since the rest of the machines are with the ladies in Bos en Lommer (area in Amsterdam). This space I live more in, than in my actual house. I love it here, it is my secret place.
Describe your typical day.
My typical day is hard to say. Right now, in spring I am preparing for the winter. Which means that I am in the atelier about 6 days a week and will spend 3 weeks in Limburg at my mothers’ to dye the yarns for the year. But if you want me to describe a ’normal’ day: I ride my bike for 20 min to the atelier, knit some orders, arrange a lot of things on the computer for the winter, I have appointments with customers and, once a week, I give knitting classes. In summer, autumn and winter, I usually am traveling for Winter in Holland. Last year I was home 50% of the days, and the other 50% I am on fairs around Europe. It is exhausting and cool at the same time.
Your tips for fresh artists, designers and makers
Tips: Make sure you start doing something you like A LOT. Cause you’ll be doing it A LOT, haha.
All the photographs used in the post are the property of Winter in Holland.