Max Willebrand Westin
Being one of the worrying kind, I have often wrestled with the feeling of nowness, losing myself in existential thoughts about the past and the future. Over the past couple of years, I have spent countless hours crafting textiles by hand, and developed a close relationship with the handmade. It has become so essential in my life to make by hand, that I cannot imagine a well-functioning version of myself without bodily engagement with the material world. In short words, when it comes to identity, textile craft is at the core of my being.
A traditional approach to textile is always the starting point and the essence to my process. Ever since I started making, I have been more interested in the act of making itself rather than the outcome. Interestingly enough, the more I engage with the material world, the less materialistic values I obtain. I am drawn to working on a smaller scale, and I always preferred a finer thread over a thicker yarn. To me, something small-scale demands a certain quality of attention - zooming in, focussing on the micro rather than macro shuts the surroundings out, it lets me be here and now.
LONGING FOR NOW
From my experience, crafting textiles has generated compassion, perseverance and resilience - all of which are powerful tools to endure hardships and improve well being. In my graduation project I investigate how material, social and emotional values can transform through an alchemical process, in which discarded objects are being reimagined, given the opportunity to heal and take on a new direction.
My work is driven by material research and has an open-ended approach. The materials used are either found, saved over the past years or collected from friends or fellow students. Plastic bags are transformed into yarns, and yarns are transformed into textiles. Objects are hand-selected from the streets and put in a new context - all in an attempt to challenge and revalue our perceptions of time and material. This method of sourcing my own raw materials has allowed me to work more autonomously, being only dependent on my tools and my own bodily labour to craft.
In my thesis I explore how crafting can transform our lives for the better. I discuss the universal relationship between human well-being and textile crafts activities, as well as the positive impact that the handmade has on our lives as a means for introspection, a coping strategy, and healing.