grandmothers, grassroots

Corner room presentation by Sophie Nelissen

15 October till 27 November 2022

Artist Sophie Nelissen takes over the corner room and shop windows with her presentation grandmothers, grassroots: an investigation of the spirit of exploration in the province of Limburg. As a clothing designer with a keen interest in how to produce clothing in a more conscious way, she explores the locally available textile fiber of sheep wool.

The adage by the American farmer-annex-culture critic Wendell Berry stipulates that a local culture conveys to succeeding generations the knowledge of how the local land may be well and lovingly used. in this definition of culture shepherds not only herd their sheep, but the knowledge and culture of their surroundings as well.

Flocks of sheep are multifunctional: their grazing stimulates the growth of grass, while keeping it in check also allows for a variety of other grass and flower species to flourish. Their manure, gently trod upon with their light hooves, fertilises the soil and provides food for all sorts of insects. they give us meat and milk. Their wool, however, is hardly used in the Netherlands.

It is estimated that the majority of the 1,5 million kilograms of wool that the Netherlands produces annually, gets discarded. In stead we buy and wear (and discard) clothing that has been produced on the other side of the world, often using synthetic fibers. The textile industry is one of the most polluting industries in the world, while ingredients can be won locally and end products produced with more respect for local identity.

Sophie Nelissen's research into sheep wool in Limburg was specifically conducted with the aim of adressing this matter. In a time of global resource scarcity, in which transportation and energy are becoming more and more expensive, in which it is all hands on deck with regards to climate change and ecosystems collapse; can we use a locally available fiber and process it, locally as well, into a beautiful, maybe even a more beautiful, object? In her presentation, Sophie makes you think not just about the object, but about the sheep, their shepherds, the soil and all other living beings too that have participated in this process of creation. 

grandmothers, grassroots is a travel conducted while staying in place, our own province of Limburg, that we share with all living beings around us.

Dates Saturday 15 October to Sunday 20 November
The presentation grandmothers, grassroots can also be seen during the FashionClash Festival at Bureau Europa, from 25 till 27 November.
Finissage Sunday 20 November, 15.00 - 17.00 with a wool spinning workshop by Mariana Anacleto

Image: Laura Knipsael