Textile designer Ana María Gómez: 'I was never really interested in fashion'

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© Ivan Put
© Ivan Put

In her studio in Woluwe-Saint-Pierre, Ana María Gómez designs cosy textiles. After a busy year she hopes to be able to clear her head for new inspiration.

Seven years ago, Ana María Gómez (35) graduated from La Cambre. From her studio in the old Sonart campus in Woluwe, previously home to the former RITS academy, she explores new patterns and textures while weaving and knitting. She has her designs produced by hand in a small workshop in Antwerp.

What appeals to you about textile design?
As a teenager, I wanted to study scenography or costume design, but back then that was only possible in cities like Paris. I did not speak French and I was really young, so I decided to study fashion design in Spain. I was never really interested in fashion, though. It was too commercial for me. What I really enjoyed were the patterns. How can you give a flat surface volume? I love textile design because it is so open and large. You can make anything with textile.

Your blankets almost look like beanbags. Do you want them to be like furniture?
Yes, totally. I have always liked the relationship between space, the body and objects. Why does the body always need to accommodate to furniture? I wanted to work the other way. This blanket is a modular piece: you can lay down on it or use it as a pillow. It comes in different sizes and it is light, so you can move it around. It adapts to your needs.

Is this also your focus for future collections?
I do not work in collections, as I am not an entrepreneur. I know I should be one, but when you are, you have little time left for creative work. That is my struggle now. Last year I sold a lot, but now I need space for new projects.

What can we expect?
This year, I started a residency in Portugal. I will now make tapestries and develop a soft room for a home in Antwerp. Also, I am making an art installation about the relationship between textile and music. This month I will be going back home to study new materials in Colombia. Like banana wool, which is shiny like silk and very sustainable. I love working with traditional heritage and handicraft people. These projects might one day all be commercially exploited. It is not about the one or the other, but about finding a good balance.

More info on www.anamariagomez.me

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