Creatieve woekerpraktijken

In a lot of cultures craftspeople use natural materials from their immediate surroundings to create everyday utensils and utilities. These artisans have a rich knowledge of the origin and properties of these source materials, while our relationship towards materials, objects and their origins has become rather detached. Students too often start from an image and just buy ready-to-use materials online. They lack awareness of the choices they make. The result is a detached relationship with the origin, tactility, and emotional connection with our surrounding material world. Therefore, this summer camp by Soft Connection Lab x Nomadic School of Arts aims to radically counter this. This hands-on week origins in the idea of inspiring and encouraging students to look, experience, feel and map their immediate surrounding when selecting materials, and then harvest and incorporate it into a creation.

Specifically, during this summer camp, we want to explore how we can design based on (natural) materials available from our close surroundings, the urban wastelands, and the city where nature could grow without any restrictions. Together with an expert we’ll discover the potential of the urban flora, and which plants we can or can’t harvest. We connect these materials with the substantial expertise around textile connection techniques that Soft Connection Lab has built-up since e few years. These techniques are intentionally broken free from their conventional basketry application, to trigger a divers use in a variety of design fields. With this summer camp, we want to make a contemporary translation of a vanished normality.

What can you expect from the summer camp?

  • The week will start with a city-exploration of another kind. Guided by Bert Blancke from the Fiberschool, we explore and discover the city of Ghent through the eyes of a forager. Plants will get names and stories, some are edible, some can be used as fibre and lot of them or even multitasking.
  • Meeting with the makers and their workshops at De Stadsmakers. Their community will function as our basecamp. We can use a large, covered space in the open-air, and all kinds of shared infrastructure.
  • Demonstrating, making and a broad range of joining techniques, cord making and bark stripping by the members of the Soft Connection Lab.
  • Students will have the chance to go in conversation with Kris De Decker, the author of Low-Tech-Magazine. His lecture is called: “Obsolete technology. There is a lot of potential in past and often forgotten knowledge and technologies when it comes to designing a sustainable society.”
  • Exploring and mapping the city through the eyes of a modern forager. Collecting and gathering a diverse material library that can be transformed into a sample book for the “resourceful designer”.
  • Harvesting, testing, designing, brainstorming… And everything all over again from the start.
  • Starting the design process in co-creative groups. As an outcome we would like the participants to tell us how they imagine/design a sustainable society with free found materials.
  • Evaluating and reflecting on the processes, samples and visual material together with the other students, members of Soft Connection Lab and Sep Verboom from Livable.
  • Implementing the results in a presentation moment during a catered closing event. Your registration fee will be used for this evening.

Would you like to take part? Or do you have still questions? Please write a short motivation of about 5-10 sentences by the 15th of July to There is a limited number of 12 (!) students that can participate. Towards mid-July we will let you know if you’re selected, ask you to transfer 25 euros and provide you with a detailed plan of the whole week.

(c) Giada Cicchetti & Dimitri Nassar

Date: 4 – 9 September 2023

Location: De Stadsmakers

More information and joining via: Soft Connection Lab

Instagram Soft Connection Lab

Website Soft Connection Lab

Would you like to take part? (or do you have any further questions?) Please write a short motivation (5-10 sentences) by the 15th of July, to: There is a limited number of 12 (!) students that can participate. Towards mid-July we will let you know if you’re selected, ask you to transfer 25 euros and provide you with a detailed plan of the whole week. 

see also:

part of:

in collaboration with: