About Maria Blaisse

Maria Blaisse (born 1944, The Netherlands) studied textile design at Gerrit Rietveld Academy. Since 1985 she works as an independent designer and international visiting professor, sharing her way of working in projects on “material, form and movement”: “My work is based on a continual investigation into the possibilities of a material. This process produces many possible applications of a material. Essential factors are simplicity, clarity, beauty, sustainability and an optimal use of the material and its qualities. Ultimately: to incite the flow of continuous creation, no waste, no loss of energy alert and alive.” Maria Blaisse taught textile design for 17 years at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam. For many years she has been at the forefront of research and education in craftsmanship in textiles and flexible design. She created a language in forms that can be universally understood – an Esperanto of rubber, gauze, felt, leather, glass, and bamboo – all based on one specific form.

Blaisse’s interests lie in the intersections between art, fashion and architecture and incorporate video, performance and photography as well as an exploration of sculptural performance with the body as a critical element in the animation of material and form. At present she works with flexible bamboo constructions for architecture.

She collaborated, amongst others, with Issey Miyake, Paula Abdul, ISO Dance NY, Camper, Goods, and SlowLab Research.

Maria Blaisse participated in major design exhibitions in Kyoto, Paris, Perth, London, and Amsterdam. Recent exhibitions include shows at the Noguchi Museum and the Pratt Manhattan Gallery, both in New York, as well as “Slow Dialogues: Time, Space and Scale” at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco. Recent publications include: The Emergence of Form (2013). Maria Blaisse lives and works in Amsterdam.

Maria Blaisse

‘Form forms forms,’ says designer Maria Blaisse as she lifts a dripping Saccorhiza polyschides from the surf at Bàgh a’ Chnoic Mhaoileanaich. ‘Look, everything is so precisely in tune,’ she continues, showing me the weed’s undulating character by cutting open the stipe with a penknife. Her voice is rapturous. ‘If you run your finger along the ruffles from this kelp’s base they will lead you back to the inner spiral, which has caused the edges to curl.’

Two weeks long we collect and study freshly washed up brown algae and wade past the banks of weed on the rocks to explore seaweeds’ ability to stand upright whatever the directional pull of the current. The curling stems channel water upwards allowing the plants to rise up in immense intertidal forces and replenish themselves with daylight.

Blaisse seeks the inherent potential of the materials she uses and is fascinated by possible movement. Since the 1980s, she has been exploring and developing numerous curved shapes such as wearable sculptures that willingly wrap themselves around the wearer’s head or body. The forms are highly architectural and larger versions could be buildings.

Her pieces have no straight lines and are all variations based on the emergence of form from the concave and convex parts of a donut shape. Blaisse’s work is nourished by a continuous dialogue with materials, precise observations, analysis, humour and her response to an over-designed world. Her aim is to incite a flow of continuous creation, to develop work that is alive and alert, and to invite young designers to move beyond waste.

Website Maria Blaisse