3 January 2024
Celina Vleugels © Alexander Popelier
As a maker of fragile textile creations, Celina Vleugels works on the boundaries between visual and applied art. She strikes a sensitive chord with her poetic, melancholic work.
Who is Celina Vleugels?
I used to work purely as a free artist, but my practice is currently shifting towards the boundary with the applied arts. When I designed a room divider for A Domestic Art Fair in Brussels last year, I pushed my boundaries. Since then,I like to explore the thin line between art and design. The interaction between the two domains strengthens my work. Although I feel that the visual arts often still look down on the applied arts somewhat, while the functional aspect actually requires precisely those extra points of attention.
Even though I first studied painting, I could not fully express myself in it. The square canvas and paint felt very distant. Textiles allow me to work much more organically and, as a tactile material, offer much more warmth and comfort. It also reminds me of my mother, who worked for Dries Van Noten, and whose fabric collection I regularly draw from for my creations. Thanks to those materials, and also because of the memories of my childhood that I evoke in my work, she feels very close.
I mainly use felting as a basic technique. I like the slow, repetitive process. An image emerges in close dialogue with the material. I find it fascinating that the material has a life of its own, and so cannot be fully controlled. The biggest challenge is to translate the feeling or image in my head into an emotionally charged work. The residual materials I use are not only durable, but also have a layered nature due to their previous life. As a medium, textiles have strong connecting qualities.