Written by Daan Rombaut
Ever wondered about the possibilities of wind energy? Visit Windworks at colour mill ‘De Kat’ at the Zaanse Schans in Zaandam from 12-19 May to find out.
In 2010, Merel Karhof designed the Wind Knitting Factory, a wind-powered knitting machine. The speed of knitting depends on the wind: when there is a lot of wind, the machine knits fast, but if there is less wind, it knits slowly. Take a look at this video to see how it works. Occasionally, the knitwear gets ‘harvested’ and transformed into, amongst other things, scarves.
Ever since then, Karhof wanted to use her harvest to upholster furniture pieces, so she decided to do this in the world famous windmill area, the Zaanse Schans. For the occasion of the collaboration, Karhof designed a series of furniture pieces. The wood for the pieces will be sawn and assembled at saw-mill ‘Het Jonge Schaap’; from there it will be transported by water to the colour mill. Here, the yarn will be dyed with natural dyes, grinded by the colour mill. After the dyeing process, the Wind Knitting Factory knits the yarns, which form the upholstery for the furniture pieces. The upholstery is made by creating little pillows, each representing the amount of time needed by the wind to make them, thus giving insight into the production process. Every aspect of the finished piece is made with a free and inexhaustible energy source: the wind.
For this collaboration, Karhof built a new Wind Knitting Factory with an extra feature: a pennon. This gives the machine the ability to turn away from the wind when the speed gets too high, therefore allowing it to operate independently.