Skip to main content
Théâtre National Wallonie-Bruxelles
Le Rideau de saison

Le Passage d'un monde à l'autre

Le Rideau de saison, Maak & Transmettre · photo : Lucile Dizier, 2024

On the one hand, three young artists with a passion for textiles and design. Salomé, Alice and Mathilde. Three young adults disappointed by the professional world who decide to come together. Women who want to create, but not only. And not just for themselves. Nor just for international trade fairs or for the big names in the industry. Women who also want to spread the word. Bear witness. Disseminate. Learn and teach. 

On the other, a Theatre. A Big Theatre, one which can be quite impressive, with shows put on inside, but also with people working. Teams that want the doors of this huge building to remain open. Not to intimidate, but to be accessible. Welcoming. For the things going on behind the scenes, the ideas that are sometimes simple, often complex, the thoughts that are sometimes light-hearted, often intricate, to be shared and debated as widely as possible. 

The three young enthusiasts set up an association called Maak & Transmettre. Maak: ‘make’ in Dutch. Transmettre: from trans- and mittere, ‘send across’. With the idea of a journey, a crossing, a passage. An opening towards outdoors, towards what is happening beyond the frame. Outside.

Salomé then joins an association. She becomes involved in community service at the Parc Maximilien farm and leads a group at a children’s home in Anderlecht. That is where she picks up the thread of her passion and gets back into textiles with a project to raise awareness about the wool industry. A first journey that she finds stimulating. 

In this children’s home, there are also mothers. Many women who were unable to go to school as children. Adults who, despite a busy schedule, complicated life stories and a sometimes traumatic past, have the courage to take classes to learn to read and write.

From the mind to creation

Salomé, Mathilde and Alice want to meet these mothers, these women. They decide to visit the classrooms to tell them about a design technique that is beginning to become quite popular. A wool-based creative process that is easy to access and simple to make: tufting. An ancient textile manufacturing technique in which a thread is inserted onto a primary base using a gun. They offer them a demonstration. Most of the ladies present are unfamiliar with this technique, although it is closely related to the textile traditions of their countries of origin. In Morocco, some have made woven rugs. In the Congo and Guinea, they embroider, sew and crochet. But textile production is not always synonymous with joy in their minds. It is a job, sometimes imposed on them, often constraining.

Salomé, Alice and Mathilde first have to rid tufting of its laborious connotation. Some of the learners are interested, surprised by this strange gun and the speed of manufacturing. A first group is formed which begins tufting small patterns drawn beforehand. Nenen, Hafida, Fanta, Mariam, Rabia, Régine, Fatima, Karima, Anifatou, Laila … Whenever they can, they visit the studio of the three designers. This allows them to leave for a moment their everyday lives, their homes and schools. To see something else. To feel good somewhere else. A step towards the outside world. A breach that opens the door from one world to another. From the mind to creation. From their everyday lives to their imaginations. To the multiple possibilities offered by the power of invention. 

The participants apply themselves and take their first creations home with them. Little by little, trust is established between them and the three artists. The weekly workshop is called Le Tapis comme langage (Rug-making as a language). Former participants bring new ones, and a ‘mentoring’ system is set up. An invisible thread connects these women. Continuity is forged. 

From rug to curtain

The rugs change over time. And the Big Theatre comes into play. Because it also involves playing. A meeting is organized. Several meetings. The Big Theatre visits the classes and the workshop, and a dialogue begins and grows. The apprentice tufters don’t stay put, they make their way to the Big Theatre for the first time, visiting the rooms and the machines. A physical encounter, but more than that. A convergence that makes sense, based on similar considerations and shared practices. 

The object takes on a new purpose. Another path emerges from the encounter. The rug becomes a curtain. A big red curtain. Like in the theatre. For the theatre. With windows, openings. And an underlying question: what do we see through it? Each participant responds with a drawing: a flower, a tent, letters… the Atomium.

The drawing is tufted onto the canvas. Opaque horizontality turns into translucent verticality. Each little window reveals a world of its own. Their world. An image, a symbol, a reflection, a thought. A way of leaving everyday life behind while coming together. While creating a work of art together. Which is also a journey, a language, a new horizon. Like a small utopia. 

Art, just like in the theatre.

Le Rideau de saison, Maak & Transmettre · photos : Lucile Dizier, 2024