Design duo crafts oversized fabric boat recalling patchwork traditions and japanese origami

Designboom_ Designers Mia Lisa Spon and Nadine Burkhardt present Piece by Piece, One Square at a Time as part of the Mindcraft Project 2023 through a year-round digital exhibition. The project takes shape as an oversized sculptural boat crafted from 2500 intricately sewn patches, drawing inspiration from childhood memories of paper handcraft. Using a patchwork technique with three types of raw cotton, the duo pays homage to historical communal creation while advocating sustainable methodologies. The resulting piece, spanning an impressive four meters in length and made from 25 square meters of fabric and 4500 meters of thread, embodies influences from childhood nostalgia, traditional patchwork techniques, and Japanese origami traditions, highlighting shared knowledge and craftsmanship.

In their dialogue with designboom at the one-day physical exhibition in Denmark, the designers expressed their choise on the paper boat motif.‘We’ve been selected to showcase something slightly different from our usual clothing work. It’s more of a statement piece, reflecting how we value our craft and focus on tradition while passing on handcrafted techniques.’ The use of origami symbolism reflects their commitment to crafting items that connect with shared values and memories, preserving tradition and knowledge.‘We chose the origami paper boat because of the connotations and its memes. Everyone can relate to it. It represents a humble gesture of awareness.’ It’s a humble gesture, fostering awareness and a sense of community. We aim to bring people together, just as patchwork has done traditionally.

Mia Lisa Spon and Nadine Burkhardt, known for their inventive tailoring and design, collaborate at Pure Fabrications in Frederiksberg. They blend traditional craftsmanship with a modern approach, using leftover fabrics for patchwork creations. Their projects start with a deep understanding of materials and a focus on classic tailoring methods.

The duo’s participation in the Mindcraft Project diverges from their usual focus on garment design. They emphasize storytelling without the confines of functionality, signifying the dedication and shared experience in each stitch.

Explaining their approach, they stated, ‘With this project, we stretch our craft and techniques to an object away from the body. It’s an exercise to present the story of the craft and values in our work without the functional requirements of making clothes.’This creation highlights their deep appreciation for tradition, craftsmanship, and passing techniques through generations. The essence of their artistic vision centers around the concept of sharing, ‘sharing emotions, stories, and experiences through the language of patchwork.’ It’s not solely about the end product but also a detailed exploration of techniques and materials to realize their vision. They express, ‘For us, this artwork is an opportunity to emphasis the beauty of sharing and collaboration, and to cherish the time and effort that is put into it’