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Merel Karhof Windworks

We first met RCA-graduate Merel Karhof at Object Rotterdam in 2011 where she presented her knitting windmill. Now Karhof has created a triptych between three windmills, giving visibility to what wind power can create. 

By Editor Design.nl / 07-03-2013

The collaboration is between; colour mill ‘De Kat’, saw-mill ‘Het Jonge Schaap’ and the Wind Knitting Factory by Karhof herself.

Ever since she made her first Wind Knitting Factory, Merel Karhof had the wish to use the harvest of her factory to upholster furniture pieces. And what better place to do this than in the world famous windmill area, the Zaanse Schans in The Netherlands.

Windworks is a collection of upholstered furniture pieces, of which the wood, upholstery, dyeing and knitting of the yarn are all made with a free and inexhaustible energy source; the wind. The process and results of the collaboration between the millers are on show at colour mill ‘De Kat’ at the Zaanse Schans in The Netherlands, 12 - 19 May 2013. The presentation takes place during the Dutch National Windmill Days in and around a wooden house, especially created for the event. The furniture and other wind-made products on show represent the vision that windmills working together become a complete and holistic industry. 

On the occasion of the collaboration, Karhof designed a series of furniture pieces. The wood for the pieces will be sawn and assembled at the saw-mill; from there it will be transported by water to the colour mill. Here, the yarn will be dyed with natural dyes, grinded by the colour mill. After the dyeing process, the Wind Knitting Factory knits the yarns. After each harvest, from the Wind Knitting Factory, the upholstery for the furniture pieces are created. The upholstery is made by creating little pillows, each representing the amount of time needed by the wind to make it, thus giving insight into the process of producing. 

The Zaanse Schans is an area located on the river ‘Zaan’, in the west of The Netherlands, and is home to a collection of well-preserved historic windmills. Each one of these mills produces a different kind of raw material. There is a colour mill; ‘De Kat’ (the Cat), which has been fitted out to grind colouring pigments, as well as a saw-mill; ‘Het Jonge Schaap’ (the Young Sheep), that cuts planks from trees to former Dutch standards. 

For this special collaboration, Karhof built a new Wind Knitting Factory which incorporates a new feature; a pennon, that gives the machine the ability to turn away from the wind when the speed gets too high, therefore allowing it to operate independently.

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