June 13, 2018
Scholten & Baijings Looks to Delicate 18th Century Embroidery for New Textile Collection
The Dutch design duo, in their latest collaboration with Maharam, found inspiration in both the centuries-old needlework and De Stijl for its “Darning Sampler” line.
Sifting through the past can yield surprisingly modern discoveries. For Dutch design couple Stefan Scholten and Carole Baijings’s newest collaboration with Maharam, a search for source material brought them to darning samplers, artifacts once used by girls to practice the painstaking art of mending.
A dip into Scholten & Baijings’s textile collection unearthed two examples from the Netherlands dating from the 18th and 19th centuries. The delicate, candy-bright embroidery, arranged in grids of transparent overlapping blocks on undyed linen, resonated uncannily with Scholten & Baijings’s colorful universe.
Inspired, the duo set about reinventing the darning sampler, “placing a contemporary spin on the work that can be compared to the likes of Mondrian, Rietveld, and the De Stijl movement,” as Baijings tells it.
Each of the three textiles—Darning Sampler, Darning Sampler Large, and Darning Sampler Plaid—was refined through Scholten & Baijings’s hands-on experimentation and features varying scales of overlapping color in a saltwater-taffy palette. It’s true that Darning Samplers, the resulting Maharam collection, amplifies the original references’ remarkable abstractness. But it is also startling how faithful Scholten & Baijings’s new work is to what inspired it, provoking one to daydream about what other treasures await, if only they might be seen with fresh eyes.