As part of our second drop, we visited Ellen Lagerström in her studio at the Swedish School of Textiles to learn more about her mesmerising world. Ellen is a talented textile designer whose innovative creations blur the lines between practicality and artistic expression. Join us in this intimate conversation, as we delve into Ellen's creative journey, from her formative years at the Swedish School of Textiles to her captivating exam project that intertwines light and texture in interior spaces.

Discover how Ellen's unique blend of technical mastery and artistic vision breathes life into her intricate textile pieces, each one a testament to her passion for pushing the boundaries of traditional design.

The following interview has been edited and condensed.


COMA: Let's start with an introduction about yourself and your current artistic path and career.

Ellen: Sure. My name is Ellen Lagerström, and I'm 25 years old. I'm in the final year of my bachelor's degree in textile design at the Swedish School of Textiles in Borås. Textiles have been my main focus for about five years. I began at the preparatory school at Stenebyskolan in Dalsland, where I studied both textile art and fashion design.

COMA: What's happening in your studies right now?

Ellen: I'm wrapping up my pre-studies for my exam project. My main focus is developing specific textile textures, and my exam work revolves around textiles related to light in interior contexts.

COMA: That sounds interesting. How do your studies in Textile design relate to your artistic practice?

Ellen: They influence each other significantly. My school assignments push me to learn new techniques, which I can then use in my artwork or other projects outside of my education.

COMA: Do you usually start conceptualising your pieces based on technical practices, or do you see them as unique artistic results?

Ellen: It's a bit of both. I often base my work on techniques, but I also learn those techniques with specific artistic goals in mind. It's a back-and-forth process. For instance, I might start with a practical task, like designing a basic pattern for curtains, then experiment with patterns, and eventually create an art piece using those patterns.

COMA: What's your creative process like when you receive an assignment?

Ellen: It's very technique and practice-based, with a touch of intuition. I start by making practical samples to understand how materials behave. I don't always envision the final result at the beginning; it often emerges as I work through the process.

COMA: Once you find a technical solution, do you approach the final piece purely for its aesthetic or as a statement?

Ellen: I usually lean towards creating functional aesthetic pieces. While statements are important, my education has focused more on function and aesthetics, so my art tends to reflect that. Sometimes, functionality plays a role in the aesthetic as well.

COMA: What influences inspire you to conceptualize artistic pieces from practical solutions?

Ellen: I'm inspired by associations with nature and the human body. Even if my work doesn't directly depict them, these themes influence my creative process and how viewers interpret my pieces.

COMA: What kind of reactions do you aim for in your work?

Ellen: I'm open to various reactions, but I'm particularly drawn to pieces that evoke both calmness and a sense of intriguing grossness. I enjoy adding elements that might seem a bit unconventional or even unsettling upon closer inspection.

COMA: Fascinating. Are there any specific sources of inspiration you look to?

Ellen: Many sources inspire me, but I don't have one particular person whose entire practice inspires me. I'm influenced by artists like Diana Orving and Peter Gentenaar, whose aesthetics align with mine. Their organic and intricate works resonate with me.

COMA: Could you talk more about the three pieces you're presenting?

Ellen: These pieces stemmed from a weaving project where I explored specific areas of usage, particularly in public environments. Each piece reflects a blend of technical exploration and aesthetic vision. The piece Fjäril was hand-printed and has a fluid, flowing line. It's inspired by nature and organic forms, with subtle hints of movement and growth. With Björk I experimented with a flour mixture to create a cracked effect on this piece. By painting over the dried flour and then manipulating the fabric, I achieved a textured, weathered appearance reminiscent of natural processes. Finally, Konvex is the larger piece, and was designed with practical applications in mind, such as reducing echo in public spaces like train stations or libraries. It's double-sided and features intricate weaving techniques to enhance both its aesthetic appeal and functional properties.

COMA: What's next for you in 2024?

Ellen: I'll be completing my bachelor's degree in June and exploring job opportunities in textile design. While I'll continue my artistic practice, I'm excited to see where my design career takes me. It's a journey filled with possibilities, and I'm eager to embrace whatever comes next.

COMA: That sounds like an exciting journey ahead. Thank you for sharing your insights with us, Ellen.

Ellen: Thank you.

March, 2024 - COMA Editorial team