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'Tafelkleed voor Herman', English version

“Look: three months of work, and this is all that is left of it: a simple table cloth,” says Josef Trojan with a smile.

Together with 90 other Design Academy students Josef participates in a project with and for Veenhuizen. This table cloth is one of the twelve products that were exposed in the ‘Bouw en Bind’ exhibition, from Friday 8 November until Sunday 10th November. A week after the exhibition we meet Josef and ask him to tell us something about the making of the ‘Tafelkleed voor Herman, vogelaar van het Fochteloërveen’.

Start, research, idea, design
Josef: “Our assignment was to design a contextual table cloth, in other words a table cloth strongly connected with the area, people or traditions in Veenhuizen. It was an exciting process, from the research until the design and the production.

I was lucky to meet the right people to cooperate with. Everybody in and around Veenhuizen was very helpful. Harke Kuipers showed us around, Martin Snip gave me maps, Herman Feenstra gave me additional information and explanation and Judith Bouma sent me a lot of pictures. Apart from the local people, I must also thank my professor and adviser Eibert Draisma, who helped me to bring this project to a successful end.

Herman gave me a lot of insight into the problems of the area, and it was he who showed me his bird maps for the first time. They were very triggering. Later on, the maps together with Herman's story of bird counting created a base of my design.

The actual research went very well. I have gathered lots of materials to work with, the next step was transforming it into an object. I was thinking of how to put so much information into a simple cloth. There is a always a risk of an overkill, or boringness. So the challenge was keeping it simple and at the same time exiting.”

The proof of the pudding is in the scanning
“You are never sure if something will work out the way you planned it. The three days exhibition in Veenhuizen was a test. I am happy to be able to say that it was successful. In the beginning there were some difficulties with scanning the QR code, apparently because of the poor light. But the visitors were triggered by the design, and as soon as they heard ‘QR’, they wanted to scan it.

This is the effect that I hoped it would invoke. However, the ultimate test will be in the future, when someone visits Herman at his home. You sit down at the kitchen table, drink a cup of tea, eat some biscuits… and at some point you’ll notice the pattern of the dots around your teacup. It makes you curious. As soon as you pose a question about it, you want to know all about the cloth. ‘Why are there so many dots? Why are there different colors?’… Because there are so many birds, and that is what Herman can tell you about.

I hope it also makes people curious about the work of a bird watcher. Herman leaves home in the morning to walk in the peat. The only thing he carries with him is a small notebook, his binoculars, a pair of good ears and a lot of experience. Walking in the field, there is not much more than the sound of this little graspieper.

Herman must understand a lot about different birds, their behavior, breeding areas, and be able to interpretate the information. Especially because most of the time he doesn’t see the bird, he only hears it. “Are these just two separate birds flying around, resting for a while, exploring the area… or do I hear a couple that tries to breed?” This cloth refers not only to the birds, but also to the work.”

Future effects?
“The table cloth is made for Herman and the Fochteloërveen and I hope it will add a new possibility to get people fascinated by the area and the species, and help them understand the richness of the area and the species that live in the so called ‘poor peat’.

I am happy about the result, but that does not mean that I don't see possibilities how to improve it. The idea is simple and can be very easily transformed for other products. The pattern of dots is showing the richness of a natural resort. Why not to make it for the Natuurmonumenten site in Holland and why not to update it every year, so that we can see the growth of nature?!”

Klik hier voor de Nederlandse versie. 


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