artist - artisan
EJ is a Belgian artisan, designer and sailor, based on board her sailing vessel & floating studio Zef across the Atlantic Ocean. She creates interdisciplinary textile work, elevating traditional artisan techniques - such as knitting, ropework and marlinspike seamanship - in search of the broad sense of a ‘knot’ construction, translating stories of the Sea.
Through research and experiments, she creates artworks, installations and functional objects and garments. She uses different textile threads, yarns and rope found along the shorelines she passes on her sailing voyages, with a particular eye for alternative materials such as organically produced, dead-stock and discarded materials.
Currently working on textile projects Tali and BioKnit, she interrogates the origins of textile materials as well as their socio-ecological impact, looking to act and create differently upon as a designer.
Her aim is to shift her approach as a maker, focusing on bio-based textile design that has a nature-positive practice at heart.
After my studies in Textile Design at La Cambre (Brussels, BE), living in a city where flash, fast and industrial growth are considered best, I felt entangled.
I turned to the sea, in search of a closer connection, of slow gestures and a human pace. Beyond personal growth, working and living at sea granted new perspectives on the world itself. It made me unapologetically aware of what is important and what is not.
These past years - circumnavigating over 46 000 kilometres across the Atlantic Ocean, North Sea, Caribbean Sea and Mediterranean Sea - I sailed past a rapidly increasing mass pollution of our seas, with it the disappearance of oceanic species, local communities in distress, and the changing climate itself. Whilst sitting on the front row and witness the consequences of human’s impact on our environment, today it is impossible for me to keep standing on the sideline and continue sailing along.
Today I hang up my sailor's bag, to concentrate on my textile work, aiming to combine experimental research, craftsmanship and innovative design, and contribute towards a respectful and therefore sustainable way of living.
Photograph by Justine Houée