Helen Rödel is a garment designer who specializes in knitting and crochet. However, her curiosity has sometimes led her to use some usual materials such as wood in a sweater or a dress. Her work is pure and unconventional and I think that is because despite the many influences she has – her home is filled with colorful pieces that she says “end up reflecting a lot in my work,” she has the courage to keep hold of her inner vision. Authentic. Astounding. I look at her knits as I had never looked at knits before.
My grandmother sewed skirts out of burlap bags when I was little. Recycling was, for her, utilitarian. Make the most of what you have around. But, she made beautiful things with what was around. And, I’ve always liked seeing artists who break through my conceptions. I had never thought of a dress the way Rodel’s work makes me think of a dress. Her influences include the natural environment for she says “I have a peasant soul.” “Something moves very strongly inside me when I am in a natural environment. It expands my living wills.”
The production collective Aura shot a poetic short film about Robel’s creative process. We see her at work, in silence while she is designing, and on a road trip through the countryside.
“While I feel the pulse of knowledge and of interaction with the world, I feel we need to balance this aspect of life by immersing ourselves in a task that demands much of our time and patience. To be able to dedicate yourself to an item for many hours, building and giving life, with every hardship, is an exercise of patience. And patience is wisdom. You move forward and also backwards. And this understanding is crucial to these techniques because they are constant movements of weaving and dismantling. It is a metaphor for the process of life and the unfolding of time.” – Helen Röbel