75 x 100 cms
Cotton, polyester, optical fibre, electronics
Malin Bobeck creates woven textiles that incorporate optical fibres. Based in Stockholm, her interactive textiles combine traditional methods with technology to create dynamic art that pushes the boundaries of textile art.
Tell us about your background in textiles.
I’ve always been a very tactile person and growing up I started to knit and sew clothes. Textiles run in the family, my mum’s grandpa made carpets and my grandmother did embroidery. After high school I studied Industrial design but I found there was too much sitting in front of a computer, I needed to be able to feel textiles with my hands. I then went to The Swedish School of Textiles and specialised in weaving. I found it a really interesting way of forming textiles, it really spoke to me.
How do you describe your work?
It is a little bit magical. When people see it at first glance they don’t understand how it is made. I want to create an atmosphere where people can dream and be away from the stresses of everyday life.
How do you design a piece?
The starting point is mostly material based. I find a material and experiment with how to put it into a textile work. Depending on what I’m making, I can either hand weave it or it is machine woven in a factory. The process usually starts with me sitting in front of my hand loom. I also think about how the threads will be constructed to create what I’m looking for, I may have to use materials such as shrinking yarns and fibre optics. With factory woven pieces there is a lot of consultation over what can be achieved with constructing bindings.
What are the challenges working with fibre optics?
I find it very technical working with them as they are difficult to work with, they have a life of their own. They are built on total refection with light coming out of the end, I need to create controlled processes to break the optics to make them shine.
Are optics used much in textile art?
They are used in concept textiles especially in universities, however you usually just see small samples, where as I do much bigger pieces.
What is your inspiration?
My work really originates from the challenge of wanting to know how to make something. I want others to be inspired by my work. I do studio share with other people from different cultural differences which I find creative.
What has been a career highlight so far?
My installation ‘Those who Affected me’ was exhibited at the Gothenburg Museum of Art. It is an interactive piece using conductive yarn. It changes colour and several people can interact with it simultaneously and try and work out how to unlock a special rainbow effect. It will also be on show at the National Museum of Stockholm from September 2nd 2016 until January 15th 2017, see this link for more details: www.nationalmuseum.se/sv/Utstallningar/Forkroppsligat–Pagaende-konsthantverk-i-granslandet/
What advice can you give people wanting be a textile artist?
Follow your heart. It can be easy to start and learn, look online, try different techniques and ideas will come to you.
How do you see your work developing?
I’m working with wearables and investigating what kind of input I can put into wearable textiles such as sensors and apps.