After an exchange semester for her Bachelor’s, Maike wanted to come back to Borås.
During her studies in Sweden, Maike Schultz has adapted fika into her life, but more importantly she enjoys the independence she is given as a student to develop her own experiments.
Why did you choose to study the Master’s in Textile Design?
– During my Bachelor’s studies in Germany, I did an exchange semester in Borås. I wanted to go abroad, live in another country, and meet people from the field, but also get to know other schools and their ways of teaching textile design. During that time, my experience while working in the labs was that this school was a good place to learn different textile techniques. But I also found it to be a good place to pursue an artistic approach, which I really liked and therefore decided to come back for my Master’s studies.
What are you doing in your studies?
– In general, I am fascinated by obvious things and subtle expressions and like to analyse their connections to us. In my studies, I am looking at the relationship between the body and textiles and how this relationship can, for example, be reflected through a textile surface. I am specialising in weaving and trying to find ways to realise my ideas within the many techniques the Jacquard machine has to offer. Parallel to the work in the lab, I do a lot of sketching and experimenting as it helps me understand my own ideas better and I often discover things in an experiment that I like. I then try to translate it into a digital version for the machine. This is often the trickiest and the most frustrating part of the work, from analogue to digital, but at the same time it can be surprising and that is what I like about it.
What do you think about the programme?
– I think it has a good combination of analysis and practice. In the first year, we read a lot about design methods, looked at the work of other artists, and reflected upon our own work. We had discussions about texts we read, films we watched, works and methods of designers but also our own work. We learned to put it in context and to put our thoughts and ideas into words. The constant analysing of my own ideas helped me to understand what I was actually aiming for and what I wanted to explore in my work. In the second year, we started to experiment in order to exclude failures and to focus on good ideas which could result in the starting point for the degree work. From there, we continued with this idea and expanded it. At the same time, we meet our supervisors regularly to discuss results and organise the time. So in general I am really happy with our supervisors and the programme.
Were you expectations on the programme met?
– Yes. Since I had been here before in my exchange semester, I already knew the school and its facilities a bit. It was a good decision to come back for my Master’s studies as it gives me the chance to focus on my ideas and go deeper in the technique of weaving.
How is it to study in Sweden?
– I’m not sure if I can generalise this to the whole of Sweden, but what I experienced in this school, at least, and what is different from Germany, is that many things are much more uncomplicated which I really enjoy! What I had to get used to in the beginning was that people could suddenly disappear because they went for a fika; I have now adapted to this nice ritual.
Do you have any advice for future students?
– I think the school offers you a lot of possibilities. You have all the labs and machines, many good teachers and technicians, but it is important that you are independent. It is up to you what you will achieve and learn, complaining is always easy.
Text: Josefine Bjuvefors
Photo: Alaa Alshakkour
The interview was done in December 2016.