Knowing nature and the colours secretly embedded in a specific area has become a new challenge for textile designer Tina Ratzer. Her resume spans from building construction over weaving to plant colours and she has found a way to combine it all.

“I learned how to build a house when I was young. I studied construction technology since I thought I was going to become an architect. I learned to wall a house, install a floor, how to lay a roof and its rafters. I liked it a lot. But I was drawn to a more creative universe, and I ended up at the Textile Line at the Design School. It was a leap from hard to soft materials, but still with a lot of similarities. There is a spatiality in my art, it is very architectural.

When you construct a weaving, there is repetition, grid, systems. If you observe a house façade it also contains lots of layers. Much of my weaving is inspired by architecture.

And then, during Covid, I discovered plant dyeing. In the years before the pandemic, I travelled a lot in South Africa. I taught at a tech university.

Here in Denmark, I have collected plants and flowers for years, during my walks, I have always wanted to draw them. But my expression was very graphic, very pixelated, it manifested differently.

I had an urge, a longing within me. I couldn’t quite decipher it.

But in South Africa something emerged, I rediscovered nature. Picking and gathering, noticing colours, shapes, transformations. With Covid came travel bans. Consequently, I decided to nourish myself and find inspiration in the plants growing right here around me. I live in the outskirts of Copenhagen, close to the highway, but I’m only a five-minute bike ride from a large wildlife area.

I decided thus to dive into this area. Bringing home plants and try them out. Understand what story they would tell me. Obtain an imprint of a place.

It was a gift. An explosion, a whole new world emerging. I boiled plants in my kitchen; the scent was stunning. Such a magic it was to put your yarn or your fabric in the pot and see the colour expand.

It was hugely liberating.

I had to surrender to what was happening in the moment. Be present in the event and watch how far I could go.

Plant colours are alive, it is an adventure. There is no index, I have had to create one myself. I walk a new path; I create my own universe. For a moment I worked freely, it was all about pigmentation. Extraction of plants, plant-ink, one boil after the other. I had no idea where I would end up. But I tried to create a colour-scheme.

It all got very brown. But slowly my colour-catalogue grew.

I obtained a very large spectrum of brown tones, which surprised me. It was an unruly process, and the work was slow. Luckily, from my work as a weaver, I have learned a great deal of patience.

I love the long, immersive process. But I also needed to shape the unmanageable.

I moved to the shape of a dreamcatcher, worked with repetition, exposing my work in a specific shape. I created a harmonious adjustment, and an entirely balanced pattern emerged. I had struggled to understand how to use my time in Africa in my work. But it began to grow. The inclusive part, where I use myself in the field.

It is a matter of being in control and letting go of control. Nature’s ferocity, its rebelliousness, all that I cannot grasp.

Now I express it in an orderly manner. In a grid that brings calm and equilibrium to my work. Just like the threads in the loom, going below and above each other. It is a sort of full circle, back to the strictness of architecture. It feels like finding home.

Warp & Weft

The new collection by Tina Ratzer is available in six colour combinations:

Vibrant: Raw White / Lilac
: Lime / Grass
Love: Coral / Amber
Balance: Chamomile / Mustard
Embrace: Beetroot / Midnight
Stable: Concrete / Midnight

The WARP & WEFT Collection