Waterloop – Maarten Kolk & Guus Kusters

Vissen (Fish), a textile print as part of Maarten Kolk & Guus Kusters’ Waterloop series

Maarten Kolk & Guus Kusters, two designers based in the Netherlands, worked with the Audax Textielmuseum Tilburg to create a range of textile products focusing on the valuable resource of water and its use in the textile industry.

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As a starting point to their research, Kolk and Kusters visited Iceland to photograph its natural wonders of glaciers, geysers, waterfalls and fjords and used this imagery to create a range of printed table cloths, tea towels and rugs entitled the “Waterloop” (Flow of water) series.


By working with digital printing, the Dutch designers were able to directly dye unbleached fabric producing little waste compared to the conventional rotary printing process used in the textile industry and the biggest source of water pollution. With this combination of material, weave and way of adding water to the process each print results in a unique effect on the textile.

Vissen (Fish) textile print

According to the designers, the Vissen textile print has been woven with two types of yarns that have two very different characteristics; one transports water very well, and the other transports water very badly. By letting the print spread the weave of the cloth, the colours of the ink are accentuated.


A range of Sample bundles

The Sample bundles are the result of a large series of experiments with digital printing on textiles. Ten different types of yarns have been woven into swatches containing several weaves. As explained by the designers:

Each of the swatches received different treatments including the conventional coating-printing-fixating process and the letting the printed textile float in a bath of water. We discovered that the slightest change in yarn, weave, treatment or color of the print created a new effect. These experiments have formed the basis for the project “Waterloop” (Flow of water).

The Algengroei (Algal Bloom) Rug

Each time a printer makes a print, the machine is automatically cleaned and the residue ink is stored in a jerry can. The “Algengroei” rug is dyed with this waste ink added onto the back of the tufted rug of unbleached linen. In the middle of the carpet the piles are fully dyed, while at the sides only the roots of the piles are colored.

The Visserij (Fishery) table cloth


Waterkleuren (Colors of water) tea towel set

During their collaboration with the Textile Lab in Tilburg, the designers developed a technique to fully dye textile using a photographic image. The production method dyes the yarns based on the colours in the photograph and with this technique they created a range of tea towels. Each undyed towel was printed with an image of Icelandic water with each name of the nine locations where the image was photographed woven into the textile. The name of the location that matches the specific print of the color is accentuated by the checked design.

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