Aesthetics / Art / Fashion

Wearable Abstract Art

Special products are the result of special ideas and emerge from long experience and a deep understanding of the properties of the underlying materials and processes.

In my recent article Randomness and Control – using the example of Gerhard Richter’s abstract paintings – I have described the aesthetic effects resulting from a combination of those aspects of a work of art that are under the direct control of an artist, and those aspects that are random. It is possible for an artist, by combining order generating processes with processes allowing for a certain amount of randomness, to achieve that mix of order and disorder – a “controlled chaos” – that results in an experience of beauty (see also On Beauty).

Another artist using such a combination of order generating and disorder generating processes to create objects of outstanding beauty happens to be my sister, textile designer and textile artist Christine Keller. Christine has developed a special process of combining weaving and felting, resulting in very unique and prize winning designs.

Weaving here takes the role of the order-generating process. The exact pattern by which the fibers are interwoven with each other creates an order unique for a material. However, one of the fiber types involved here is wool. Wool can be felted. This happens in a special washing following the weaving. This is a process relying on the micro structure of the surface of wool fibers. The fibers are not smooth and as a result can get jammed with each other. So the resulting random macro structures are the result of invisible random micro structures of the fibers (see the last picture below) as well as of details of the washing process that also provides random elements. By the pattern and density of the weaving, it is possible to control, to some extent, the resulting random patterns. The weaving pattern and density and the choice of yarns define the constraints within which the random processes are then allowed to operate.

In Christine’s Shop at, you can now buy scarves made in this way. Since the patterns emerging from the production process are random, each piece is unique in its small scale structure.

You can choose between differently dyed versions of the “Breeze” design, a beautiful type of scarves, exposing interesting random patterns that are visible from some distance. As the name suggests, this material, actually some kind of wearable abstract art, is especially appropriate for milder weather:


The denser “Frill” design, on the other hand, with its interesting micro-textures, is better suited for cooler days.


Besides these, there are a few pieces left of the very beautiful “Rose Stole” design series, in different versions. This prize winning design is no longer being produced and available only as long as stocks last (see yourself in Christine’s shop).

(Pictures courtesy Christine Keller)

The following picture shows a scanning electrom microscope (SEM) picture of wool fibers with their typical scale like surface structure that provides the basis for felting:

File:ESEM color wool.jpg

(The wool fiber picture is from The picture has been artificially colored.)

Related article:  Breeze

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