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Shear Talent

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In the small village of Spannum, in the Dutch province of Friesland, Claudy Jongstra heads a felt-design studio whose modesty in process and material belie its overwhelming commercial appeal and architectural scale.

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  Claudy Jongstra kneels with a family cat in the yard behind her office and home, which she shares with her partner, Claudia Busson, and their two sons, Eabal and Jesk. Behind her is a small dinghy that the family uses to navigate the numerous irrigation canals that traverse the farmlands throughout Friesland. Despite its modest scale, Jongstra’s studio has worked on major collaborations with Hella Jongerius,Tord Boontje, Steven Holl, andRem Koolhaas, in addition tofashion design for Alexander van Slobbe and costume work for Star Wars: The Phantom Menace.  Photo by: Adam Broomberg
    Claudy Jongstra kneels with a family cat in the yard behind her office and home, which she shares with her partner, Claudia Busson, and their two sons, Eabal and Jesk. Behind her is a small dinghy that the family uses to navigate the numerous irrigation canals that traverse the farmlands throughout Friesland. Despite its modest scale, Jongstra’s studio has worked on major collaborations with Hella Jongerius,Tord Boontje, Steven Holl, andRem Koolhaas, in addition tofashion design for Alexander van Slobbe and costume work for Star Wars: The Phantom Menace.

    Photo by: Adam Broomberg

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  The back entrance to Jongstra’s office is oufitted with a sandbox and littered with her sons’ toys.  Photo by: Adam Broomberg
    The back entrance to Jongstra’s office is oufitted with a sandbox and littered with her sons’ toys.

    Photo by: Adam Broomberg

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  A felt maker lays Drenthe wool and raw silk onto a large table lined with bubble wrap.  Photo by: Adam Broomberg
    A felt maker lays Drenthe wool and raw silk onto a large table lined with bubble wrap.

    Photo by: Adam Broomberg

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    Photo by: Adam Broomberg

    Photo by: Adam Broomberg

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    Photo by: Adam Broomberg

    Photo by: Adam Broomberg

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  Jongstra’s flock of Drenthe Heath and Schoonebeeker sheep are sheared yearly and provide the raw material for most of her work. The sheep roam the countryside as part 
of a conservation initiative to help reinforce the polders and dykes throughout the province.  Photo by: Adam Broomberg
    Jongstra’s flock of Drenthe Heath and Schoonebeeker sheep are sheared yearly and provide the raw material for most of her work. The sheep roam the countryside as part of a conservation initiative to help reinforce the polders and dykes throughout the province.

    Photo by: Adam Broomberg

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  A dark cloak of Jongstra’s felt covers the ceiling and walls of a private residence in Amersfoort.  Photo by: Adam Broomberg
    A dark cloak of Jongstra’s felt covers the ceiling and walls of a private residence in Amersfoort.

    Photo by: Adam Broomberg

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  Tiles of natural felt dot the walls in the Universitair Medisch Centrum, Utrecht. Jongstra was asked to create a warmer feeling for this wing of the medical center, where people come for radiation and chemotherapy treatment.  Photo by: Adam Broomberg
    Tiles of natural felt dot the walls in the Universitair Medisch Centrum, Utrecht. Jongstra was asked to create a warmer feeling for this wing of the medical center, where people come for radiation and chemotherapy treatment.

    Photo by: Adam Broomberg

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  A detail of one of Jongstra’s “hides” distributed by the textile manufacturer Maharam. Each hide measures about 4¼ feet by 8½ feet, retails for about $4,000, and is produced in the Spannum workshop.  Photo by: Adam Broomberg
    A detail of one of Jongstra’s “hides” distributed by the textile manufacturer Maharam. Each hide measures about 4¼ feet by 8½ feet, retails for about $4,000, and is produced in the Spannum workshop.

    Photo by: Adam Broomberg

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  An architectural model for Claus en Kaan’s dome-shaped conference area for the House for Culture and Government in Nijverdal, which will be covered by 204 pieces of felt measuring approximately 16,000 square feet total. Jongstra’s studio will also produce a wallpaper and tapestries for a multifunctional space in the building.  Photo by: Adam Broomberg
    An architectural model for Claus en Kaan’s dome-shaped conference area for the House for Culture and Government in Nijverdal, which will be covered by 204 pieces of felt measuring approximately 16,000 square feet total. Jongstra’s studio will also produce a wallpaper and tapestries for a multifunctional space in the building.

    Photo by: Adam Broomberg

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  An example of the traditional 17th-century knotting technique, guipere.  Photo by: Adam Broomberg
    An example of the traditional 17th-century knotting technique, guipere.

    Photo by: Adam Broomberg

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  Piles of felt, civilization's oldest textile, await Jongstra's team (six felters, two dyers, three designers, Jongstra, and a business manager).  Photo by: Adam Broomberg
    Piles of felt, civilization's oldest textile, await Jongstra's team (six felters, two dyers, three designers, Jongstra, and a business manager).

    Photo by: Adam Broomberg

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    Photo by: Adam Broomberg

    Photo by: Adam Broomberg

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