Christien Meindertsma and Thinker-Makers


I was researching a Dutch designer Christien Meindertsma  because her knitted poufs echoed an idea I also had for giant knitted cushions. 

I don’t know whether Christien would align herself with the Slow Design Movement but it seems to me that the work she creates tallies with the ethos.

Her website lists all the projects she’s undertaken so far and the latest one is Flocks.

Flocks, I believe, was presented first as an installation at Dyckman Farmhouse Museum in NYC. The exhibition notes state: Flocks is an installation by contemporary Dutch designer Christien Meindertsma. Her work explores issues of consumerism, commenting on the production process and the lost connection between farmer and final consumer. Flocks is the result of her work with one farmer in Wales to create a clothing collection from one entire flock of distinctly wooly sheep. Each piece is created from the wool of a single sheep and includes a detailed biography of the animal.  Flocks has now developed into a knitwear brand.  

For me this jumper is imbued with so much more meaning than a jumper bought from any high street shop.  It talks of sustainability, community, traceability, transparency and also wit. I admire the narrative that is attached to the jumper and it’s a perfect example of the kind of object I would strive towards producing.  

I’m also heartened that she’s a designer that isn’t defined by the materials or processes she uses. That is to say that she designs things appropriate for the idea. She isn’t confined by a material of choice.  

The recent show at the V&A Museum, Telling Tales, Fantasy and Fear in Contemporary Design was abundant with Dutch designers who fit into what I call the Thinker-Maker category. [note to self: is there a Dutch approach to design?]   The work could be described as Design Art. The exhibition catalogue describes the work: They are mostly self-initiated works – personal statements or manifestos, made by designers as unique pieces or in limited editions. Rather like fine art, the objects in this exhibition are generally traded through galleries. Yet unlike sculpture, they retain their role as functional objects, even if their usability is often subordinated to their symbolic or decorative value. 

In an interview with one of the exhibiting designers Wieki Somers states           ‘ there’s an overload of throw-away consumer items in our society. Do we need them all? I believe today’s world asks for products that we can cherish for a lifetime. I  hope to create products that can heighten people’s awareness and stir their imagination. The world would be so much nicer if people were a bit more aware of the stuff around them.’

Wieki Somers - Bath boat


Is this where I want to position myself? As a Thinker-Maker?

One Response to “Christien Meindertsma and Thinker-Makers”

  1. 1 jennifer

    I feel as though I have at last stumbled upon work which resonates with my ethos.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: