The Beauty of Waste: Prevent
LECTURE SUNDAY 27 MAY2018, 12.30h
Lore Langendries (1988) calls hherself an artistic creator and thinker. The artist and designer with a studio in Hasselt, Belgium, makes jewellery from animal skins: hairy brooches and medallions in which the simple geometric round shape is central, as well as neck jewellery and ties.
Building on this by-product of the meat industry, which is otherwise thrown away, Langendries focuses on how to transfer tactility from, for example, a cowhide to other carriers.
This resulted in Tableskin, a cuddly tablecloth with matching tea towels and napkins with which Langendries recently won the Henry van de Velde Award 2017. To create this design, she digitally converted the complex hair pattern of a deer skin into a poetic jacquard woven table linen. She had the cloth manufactured locally by the Kortrijk textile company Verilin, which has been producing and selling linen for three generations.
We use leather for clothing, bags and shoes, the animal skin as a fur coat or as a rug for the fireplace. One of the few things we don’t use furry hides for is as a material that the food is associated with, because this usually doesn’t evoke tasty associations, Langendries knows. She breaks through that idea and plays with both stroke and repellency. When we wipe our mouths by the napkin, we are in fact wiping our mouths by the deer. Despite this association, star chefs in Belgium and the Netherlands ask about their tailor-made table linen and develop bed linen for hotels entitled Secondskin – sleeping under a second skin.
Tableskin is a 100% locally produced and purely artisan product. During production, virtually no waste is produced because dimensions and colours are tailored to the client’s wishes. And her wall objects are made of deer and springbok skin, of which the furs with irregularities are not used for handbags or shoes. Langendries does use these pieces. In her installation entitled: ‘Holstein LL 1401’ she shows how she laser cuts 366 identical round brooches from a whole cowbone. Together they form a black and white work of art in the shape of the original cowhide.
During her lecture she talks about how those animal skins were going to play a leading role in her work. This was done during her four-year doctoral research. After graduating in visual arts from the Faculty of Media, Arts and Design (MAD) in Hasselt in 2010, she obtained a doctoral degree in 2015 from the KU Leuven, the University of Hasselt and the MAD Faculty of Hasselt. The interaction between computer-controlled and controlled industrial technology and the surprises of manual work played a major role in the research.
The designer has invented a neologism for this: ‘Hunacturing’. A combination of human (human interventions), natural (natural/animal materials) and manufacturing (mechanical process). ‘I tried to make unique pieces with a machine that is by definition designed for mass production,’ she says. In my research, ‘I discovered various possibilities to use laser cutting technology and to give it artistic relevance. That’s how I came to work on animal skins.’
The laser was not always able to cut completely through the skin because of the varying thickness of the skin and the hair growth that is not constant. In this way you leave part of the creation to chance, to nature, and to the interventions of the human hand. ‘I use the happy accidents, encourage the mistakes, and find that exciting,’ she says.
Now that she has become better known, people know how to find her. Recently, for example, Langendries received the skin of their deceased horse Othello from a family. First I’ll find out exactly who that horse was, then I’ll see what I’m going to do with this interesting turn of events in my practice.