Verleden - heden - toekomst

Martine Gyselbrecht

Martine Gyselbrecht did not seem predestined to become a textile designer.

By Bie Luyssaert

Drawing was her first love, but the sheep on the farm where she lived had other ideas. Something had to be done with their wool. And then someone gave her a spinning wheel and someone else produced a loom. She soon found that experimenting on the loom was not enough and enrolled at the Henry Story Institute. There she learned that, to be able to express her creativity in weaving, first she would have to master the technique. Not that technique is the starting point.Far from it. The origin, the source of inspiration of her work is always the material, which gains added value and becomes a quality product through application of the right technique.

As well as the material itself, nature is also a great source of inspiration. The texture of plants, light, colours... So it is logical that she likes best to work with natural materials. Her love of natural materials finds particular expression in her free textiles. She considers natural materials to have the greatest aesthetic power. Yet she cannot ignore the new synthetic yarns entirely; they are often more robust or simpler to care for, and particularly useful because her textile designs are frequently converted into furnishing fabrics.

Martine Gyselbrecht herself never makes large swathes of fabric that can be used directly. She leaves that to the weaving mills, who orderor  buy samples and convert them for mass production. This conversion iss not always literal; the sample may just act as a source of inspiration. The designer has no qualms about letting go of the sample once she has designed it; for her, the pleasure is to be found entirely in the creative process. All the rest is superfluous rigmarole. She does, however advise companies on the conversion of her samples into production-oriented fabrics.

The Past - Present - Future boxes use fabric samples to demonstrate the different phases in her life and design. The Past folder contains many of those natural materials that she used in the early days, while the Future folder contains highly advanced state-of-the-art yarns. The three phases of the boxes have been on occasion for her to reflect and sort out her thoughts and ideas. The project has also been a step towards assembling her own collection of fabrics, the dream of any designer.