Most of us hate getting caught in a downpour. But not Aliki van der Kruijs, a designer and artist based in the Hague. It’s an essential part of her creative process.
Van der Kruijs has lived in the Netherlands her entire life. Over the years, she noticed that rain in the country has become heavier, more frequent, and warmer. But instead of begrudging its growing intensity, she wanted to find a way to celebrate its beauty. Enter Made By Rain, a textile whose print is a literal visualization of rainfall.
“Weather data comes in statistics and I wanted to create a more visual way of archiving weather,” van der Kruijs says in a video explaining the project. “I see the textiles as documents–they’re all unique.”
To make the fabric prints–which look like a cross between shibori and tie-dye–van der Kruijs uses two techniques. For the first, she superimposes a water-soluble ink sheet over a white textile. She rolls out the silk fabric on a flat surface and when raindrops hit the material, the ink bleeds onto the white fabric. For the second technique, she uses fabric with ink already soaked in. When the rain hits the surface, the ink pools. For both processes, she only exposes the fabric to five minutes of rain, then fixes the fabric to preserve the pattern the rain generates.
The artist named this process “pluviagraphy,” or drawing with rain, and compares it to photography–but instead of light, the medium is water. She calls the resulting fabrics a “textile register of rainfall in a specific location.” On each fabric print, she notes the geographic coordinates, the amount of rainfall it received, and the date.
Van der Kruijs has traveled all over the Netherlands, Japan, and China making these raindrop infographics, and her goal is to make a world atlas of rain. “I hope that with the textiles I make, people get a new awareness of rain and a new relationship to the environment,” she says in her video.
Find her textiles at Zig Zag Zurich and see them in the slide show above.