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(Archive) Symbiosis: Willows and Cattails

Local natural materials and their revision in contemporary student design

This project was part of DDW 2022
Františka Benčaťová — © Photo by Peter Fabo

The Symbiosis project aims to inspire creativity in using material easily found by local ponds and brooks. Also, it raises awareness about forgotten craft techniques and about changes in the ecosystem of water in the Czech landscape.

About the project

Current times raise students’ awareness of their environment and locations in the Czech Republic and local resources, discovering renewable raw materials. The Symbiosis Project focuses on wild willows and cattails for contemporary design work, harvesting them in their annual cycle, processing and manipulating their unique characteristics. It is necessary to respect nature` having humility and sensitivity to the environment and plants. Their habitat along water belts leads to intense physical experiences and coexistence with nature. These materials have a history of traditional usage. The cattail’s softness and formability is closest to the human body, encouraging the creation of art objects and clothing, or baking of bread. Alternatively, the durability of willow wicker inspires ideas for public spaces. Such stylization says “Whisper to the Willow”, as not only a material, but as a traditional symbol in Czech culture. Designer and nature in symbiosis demonstrate creative work with natural resources, the fragile interconnected ecosystem and man.

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Magdalena Pacáková, Kateřina Forejtová — © Photo by Peter Fabo

Vessels by textile design students, Thea Chatrná — © Photo by Peter Fabo

Eliška Hanušová