Dutch Artist Claudy Jongstra Creates Textile Wall Coverings
Claudy Jongstra, a textile artist from the Netherlands, is a little different than your average textile artist. While many artists source their materials from craft stores or wholesalers, environmentalist Jongstra uses materials she grows and creates herself. Her felting has been displayed in many museums and installations.
History of Claudy Jongstra
Claudy Jongstra was born February 6, 1963, in the Netherlands. She attended the Utrecht School of the Arts for fashion design, graduating in 1989. Since 1994, she has been mesmerized by the art of wool felting and has been perfecting that technique, creating large scale artworks and installations. In 1995, she founded her studio, Studio Claudy Jongstra.
Claudy Jongstra Sources Materials from Her Farm
Jongstra is an advocate for protecting the environment and responsibly sourcing materials. Her studio is located at her farm in Friesland, the Netherlands. On her farm, she raises and cares for a flock of Drenthe Heath sheep, indigenous to Holland. These rare, curly-haired sheep provide precious, sustainable wool. Jongstra maintains that “If you’re serious about a material, you need to understand its connection to the environment.”
At the farm, Jongstra also grows many different types of plants in her botanical garden. These plants are used to create organic dyes that she uses to dye her wool. In the farm’s botanical garden, you’ll find chamomile, indigo, woad (a yellow flower), and madder, among others. This botanical garden is also a lab and a classroom, for students to learn about the materials from experience. Students from around the world vie for a place in the classroom and the experience Jongstra offers.
Works of Claudy Jongstra Around the World
You can find Claudy Jongstra’s large-scale installations and artworks all around the world. Her works are a part of the permanent collections of New York City’s Museum of Modern Art, the Smithsonian Design Museum, the RISD museum, the Stedelijk Museum, the Victoria & Albert Museum, and others. Her work decorates private establishments such as the Amsterdam Public Library, restaurants in Rotterdam and Philadelphia, the Dutch Embassy in Berlin, the Prime Minister’s residence in the Hague, New York’s United Nations, and more.
Some of Jongstra’s textile work is in mediums other than her large scale felting. You may have seen her work if you have seen Star Wars Episode I, in which she created the fabrics for the Jedi costumes. She’s also produced fabrics for many furniture and fashion designers, including Donna Karan, John Galliano, Maarten Baas, and others.
Jongstra still maintains her farm today and is currently active as a textile artist. Her most recent work, Woven Skin, is an immersive installation in New York. The amalgam of 60 wool pieces are displayed to the background of an inharmonious soundtrack. The display invites conversation about production methods and sustainable sourcing for textile materials.