Stories are there to be told! Everyday we show you what we love, while we believe the story behind these items can be just as inspiring. Today we’ll dive into the world of Mae Engelgeer, a textile designer from Amsterdam who creates truly stunning fabrics (if you ask us)! Most of her work is crafted in the TextileLab in Tilburg and products range from tea towels, plaids, rugs and many more. We visited Mae in her lovely studio in Amsterdam, where she told us us how it all began, where she’s heading and what new exciting things are coming up. She also showed her latest collection MOD, which she recently presented in a solo exhibition during the Salone del Mobile in Milan. A lot of cool and inspiring things, and only many more to come..
1) Let’s get back to the beginning. How did it all start and what was the turning point that made your label come alive?
It all started around 6 years ago with a series of textiles I made in the TextileLab in Tilburg. I sold them via the Frozen Fountain and while I was still working as a stylist for magazines, I received requests from other stores and other countries. I found out there was an interest in my products, for my signature. So I continued. Almost 3 years ago, I decided to just go for it, rent a new studio space and only be focused on this.
2) You design your collections in your studio in Amsterdam. What do you like so much about this place? What makes it a perfect studio to design in?
The fact that the studio has much light is what I really love. I could not work in a studio without daylight. I think that’s also a must when you’re working with colours a lot. And it’s not too far from my house either, which is nice as I love to go by bike to the studio. Preferably with sunny weather 😉
3) In your designs you use all sorts of patterns, geometric forms and different sort of materials/fabrics. Where does the inspiration for these designs come from?
I work from what I’m interested in at that time. It’s not always very concrete, it is a mix of things I collect during a certain moment, and of course the time spirit we are in. I love fashion and city life, 2nd hand stores for old textile prints and details.
4) How would you describe your style in your work?
Well always difficult to describe your own style, but I think it has a graphic feeling, a different colour combination. I also prefer to work with wool. I think my products are all small collages, a mix of graphic patterns, colours, different quality yarns and (mostly) weaving techniques.
5) Difficult question – we know – but what is your favourite item of your collection?
Always my newest design I think.. But I still love our YEAH rug.
6) We read the development and productions of the fabrics you design mostly take place at the TextileLab in Tilburg. Can you tell us a bit more about this process?
The TextileLab in Tilburg is a very nice place for developments. You can work there with a team of experts to create new materials. Stand next to the machine to see what happens and intervene at every moment you please to switch yarns, pattern or whatever. That process is really important for the way I like to design. Sometimes you cannot think so far ahead and first need to see what happens on the machine to decide the next step. The process is interesting. We go there with an idea and a computer file to work with at the Lab. In the morning we discuss the idea with the product developers and they program the file, make it ready for the first test weaves. We collect the yarns in the right colour and material, and place them on the machine. Then we start weaving small pieces, wait for the result and discuss what we think should change. We’ll go back to the computer, change the file and weave again. And it pretty much goes on like this the whole day. At the end we’ll take the samples back to the studio and decide the next steps so we can weave the final sample.
7) You did a cool collaboration with RESTORED for their gathers collection. Do you work often with other creatives?
I like to work with other creatives because I think together you can create interesting new products. Ideas from both parties emerge into a new design, in which we take best of both worlds. I also find it nice to work with likeminded people. Just recently I asked Sabine Marcelis, a designer from Rotterdam, to help us with the design of our solo exhibition during the Salone del Mobile last April. I think it worked out great!
8) What has been your most memorable highlight so far?
Well.. I’m working on some exciting things right now. But something that is really a highlight for me is that I can live from what I love to do most. To have a nice studio to work in, and be able to create what I want. The launch of our first furniture fabrics, is also definitely a highlight that will give a whole new direction to my position as a textile designer. And off course the solo show in Milan was a nice highlight.
9) Any cool new stuff coming up that you are willing to share with us?
Yes. Excited because we will launch a bath collection at the end of this year! The Towel Series, but that’s all I can reveal for the moment. We are also working on a lot of cool collaborations this year, so exciting things to come!
10) Where do you see your brand 5 years from now?
Running a cool and vivid textile design studio, on a bigger scale than we are doing now. Work on projects all over the world and develop lots of new textiles. So basically continue what we are doing now, but on a much bigger scale!
© All photos are copyrighted by ALL ESSENTIALS and STUDIO MAE ENGELGEER.