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Nina Ekman has been working in the Tufting Workshop at SVFK’s Textile Lab. Her focus has been to create a huge palm tree for an exhibition during Three Days of Design.

Aug. ’20

The motive of the palm is used to put focus on our unsustainable use of products, which directly or indirectly leads to the deforestation and destruction of the world’s original forests. For instance, palm oil and soya beans are now produced in vast areas previously covered by rainforest. The rainforest is cut down to make space for our unsustainably use of biodiesel, meat and other products. The palm is chosen as a symbol of the original rainforests and the piece ending up in our unsustainable daily life will remind the viewers that they through their consumption are taking a small part of the felling of the rainforest every time they use palmoil-based products.

Palma is produced with excess yarn from the textile industry, yarn that would otherwise just be dumped.

The Working Process

The working process has been in several steps. First to get acquainted with the tufting machine and all the possibilities it had to offer in terms of length and amount of yarn being fed into it as well as an exploration of colour schemes and how the perception of colours vary depending on the varying lengths.

After stretching the tufting cloth, my initial sketches were outlined for the one side of the leaves. Here I draw freely in order to get my one line. Then the tufting began, using varying lengths and continuing to explore the different colour combinations and textures of the different yarns. The fact that I use excess yarn means that I always have to stay flexible to the amount of yarn left and not plan my leaves too much ahead.

Tufting, cutting and trimming like a dance, and it feels like painting. Once the leaves were tufted,.solidification took place by applying the back of the cloth with liquid latex, and leaving it to dry. Then the first sides of the leaves were cut out. The mirror images for the other side of the palmleafs were made the same way. Repeating the tufting process and then sewing the leaves together. When the five leaves had their respective front and backside sewn together, the building process could take place, forming metal sticks the shape of each leaf. Making the base of concrete and then putting it all together. And voila: a tufted three-dimensional textile palm sculpture was created!