Shear Talent

Shear Talent

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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It takes about two hours to get from Amsterdam to Spannum, where felt maker Claudy Jongstra lives and works. According to Suzanne Oxenaar, artistic director of the Lloyd Hotel, the train is the best way to travel. "You get a real sense of the Dutch countryside," she says, drawing her hand horizontally through the air with a whistle: Dutch for "flat." I sit with Oxenaar in the capacious restaurant/common area at the Lloyd, where Jongstra is one of several Dutch artists and designers commissioned to furnish the place. In front of me, Jongstra’s Japanese-inspired shutters dress each of the double-height windows; to my left, a Jongstra-designed throw shrouds a leather sofa, looking much like the pelt of some fauvist beast, dyed in a hue that would shock Elsa Schiaparelli. Even from this cursory survey, it’s clear that despite the humbleness in material and process, Jongstra’s interpretation of felt, civilization’s oldest textile, is to be prized.

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