Artist in Residence at the Textile Centre Haslach
Report by Katerina Nakou
18.02. – 01.03.2024

Artist in Residence at the Textile Centre Haslach<br>Report by Katerina Nakou<br>18.02. – 01.03.2024

It was such an honor to have been invited to Haslach as an artist in residence for Tufting. The Textile Centre Haslach is a heaven for textile professionals, with its amazing museum, textile labs, and archive, located in a truly serene landscape. Together with fellow residents Khristina Vysotskaya and Leonie Burkhardt, both working in weaving, we shared a beautiful apartment for two weeks and formed a great team from the very beginning. Our exchanges weren't limited to our living space; we frequently visited each other's studios, discussed our projects, and inspired each other in different ways.

The Textile Centre offers a beautiful tufting studio, equipped with all kinds of tufting guns, as well as a four-meter-long tufting frame, enabling one to work on big projects or multiple works simultaneously. I have been tufting for some years now, and my interest during this residency laid in exploring more the principles of three-dimensional tufting. This way of working required me to think a lot about space and layers.

During the first week of the residency, I worked on three studies combining varying pile heights. By using six different machine settings and working simultaneously with the electric and pneumatic guns available in the tufting studio, I explored the necessary tufting conditions to create works with a sculptural character. In each of the initial studies, different tufting parameters were tested to define the most ideal density balance for tufting at different heights.

A heartfelt thank you goes to Ingrid Hackl, who supported me throughout the two weeks, from the inevitable troubleshooting with the pneumatic guns at the beginning of the residency to brainstorming on the best ways to shape the 3D surfaces with scissors and the shearing machine. Facing the challenges with the pneumatic guns head-on, I gained a deeper understanding of the inner workings of professional tufting machinery. In the final days, I created a larger work in an intuitive drawing manner, while incorporating the 3D techniques developed in the earlier studies.

The design language featured interlacing curves and cut-outs, and while the works had a reduced color palette, they come to life through their 3D character, which emerges fully during the shearing and trimming stage. This moment feels similar to sculpting, with its carving and shaping to form the final object. These final finishing touches, carried out back in my hometown in Athens, will create smooth transitions between the different height levels for the works to reach their intended shape.

Working with the professional tufting guns can be tiring to the body due to their weight, especially after many hours of continuous work. Therefore, I was happy that there were still many interesting things to do at the Textile Center when taking a break from the tufting studio. I got the chance to spend some time at the center’s current exhibition ‘beFLÜGELt’, an amazing collection of objects showcasing primary textile techniques, as well as take a peek into the techniques of rope making at the Experimentierwerkstatt that was taking place at the Centre during the time of the residency. A highlight moment was definitely the residency mid-way presentation and open studio evening we got to share and enjoy with lovely guests and inspiring talks, as well as the visit Christina Leitner organized for us residents at the Textile Archive, where we got to see hundreds of amazing woven and passementerie samples from the last centuries.

These two weeks have been a truly inspiring experience, and I am so grateful to have been a part of it. Christina Leitner and Andreas Selzer, thank you for this amazing opportunity, your support, and your hospitality. Your work, engagement, and dedication to the textile arts are highly admirable.


Katerina’s participation in the residency was funded by the European Union and the Goethe-Institut (Culture Moves Europe Mobility Grant).

photos: Katerina Nakou and Christina Leitner

Go back