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Christie van der Haak's colorful paintings translate naturally into a bold and contemporary drapery and upholstery collection for the hospitality market. Standing at the loom, the painter turns into the weaver; deepening the colors and shapes in subtle ways to create rich textiles. Each pattern tells its own story dating back to the old traditions of European history, but for today, Christie's collection challenges designers to use these contemporary patterns in new applications.
Christie's art has been on display in galleries and museums across Europe and her textiles are featured throughout the Amrath Hotels in the Netherlands. Commissioned by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Christie's work is on display in Dutch embassies all over the world including Washington D.C.
A Note from Christie
When I was 18 years old I began my studies at the Royal Academy of Arts in The Hague, the Netherlands. I studied design and fashion. Yet after my graduation I started my practice as a painter. My paintings were very colourful and showed an abundance of decorative patterns.
In the same way, I made ceramic plates with extensive floral and other pattern motifs. My work was bought by several museums and private collectors in Europe.
It wasn't until 2003 that I started to transpose my paintings into fabrics. In the Textile Museum in Tilburg I could work on a computer-controlled Jacquard weaving machine and it was love at first sight. I started to make original designs and skipped the transitional stage of painting.
I found a mill that produces wonderful upholstery fabrics and fabrics for wallcoverings. Here I started to realize my collection, and preferably, I stand at the machine myself to determine colours and to change colours and patterns hands on. In a way my work is manufactured both mechanically and manually. Every time, this method results in both fabrics applicable for mass production and unique fabrics that can be stretched on a canvas stretcher and shown as unique autonomous artworks that can be shown at an exhibition.
In my designs I try to realize a combination of handicraft in the sense that the patterns are meticulously drawn and painted and a way of mechanically producing a kind of richness, of intensity that is often lacking in the fast commercial circuit these days.
The special character of my patterns becomes fully manifest because of the complex, varied and meticulously elaborated design. They exude a comfortable and salutary atmosphere and can transform a residence into a palace.
Those who buy my work feel the tradition it is based on, through the twenties and thirties all the way back to William Morris and the Arts and Crafts Movement in the late 19th century - but they also realize that it is simultaneously new and very contemporary. Symmetry plays an important role; I like to think that in principle a pattern can go on forever, also outside the actual fabric.
In the course of the years I made a lot of upholstery, but also wallcoverings, draperies, tablecloths, napkins and shawls.
In the Netherlands, I executed a number of large commissions, most notably for the Amrath Hotel chain. In the famous building dating back to the twenties that houses the Amsterdam Amrath, I realized all the upholstery for the couches and chairs in the restaurant and the hotel rooms as well as wallcovering for the large conference room. I was commissioned by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs to make a number of works that are now in Dutch embassies all over the world, including Washington.
I look forward with excitement to the introduction of my work in the United States. I feel that the collaboration with S. Harris has produced a marvelous selection, a rich and varied collection of fabrics and I feel confident that this is the right moment for them to 'leave home'.
- Christie van der Haak