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MACHEN – Nicoleta Dānila & Carolin Kropff

MACHEN - a workshop talk with Nicoleta Dānila & Carolin Kropff

August  22 2021 - 12 - 2 pm

A collaboration with the Frankfurter Kranz, network of culturally active women in Frankfurt.

Sonja Müller from Frankfurter Kranz moderated the workshop talk.

Texte by Sonja Müller and Carolin Kropff see below.

The workshop talk was dedicated to the topic of textile handwork and artistic practice. It refered to the preceding homage by Carolin Kropff - "" Hassan Sharif & Carolin Kropff - and the collective making of a baby quilt with the actress and director Nicoleta Dănilă. Using the example of English paper-piecing, textile was understood as an artistic material and experiences were shared. Quilting as a social practice was presented.

The Background:

Nicoleta Dănilă will share her experience sewing her baby quilt together, which the two artists stitched from ties from their student days before the birth of their son Radu. Carolin Kropff will give insight into her work with patchwork, English paper piecing, quilts' history, and their role as an expression of social connectedness about image-making and hand sewing. Furthermore, she will talk about her quilt Rainbow Garden and about her understanding of the work of Sharif, who described his artistic practice as weaving.



Quilting was a healing experience. After a failed relationship and the news of an unexpected pregnancy, I was quite shaken. A child changes everything. Life as you know it. Suddenly isn’t anymore. I needed something to help me reconcile with the thought that all the plans I had for myself needed to either be put on hold for a while or given up altogether. So, when Caro proposed that we work on a baby quilt together, I didn’t need to think twice.

When you think about it life itself is a patchwork. The memory of every person we encounter, the memory of every day, they are nothing but patches in this invisible lifetime quilt that we sew unknowingly. When you look back, what do you see? As a well-worn cloth, some of the memories are losing their colour and are fading. Objects carry memories, cloth carries memories. And I want to remember. As a student, I used to wear neckties with funny prints. I don’t know why I brought them with me to Germany. Maybe they were a reminder of the best years of my life? A time of freedom, or carefree? A time I was now saying “Goodbye” to.

Caro and I used these neckties for the Baby quilt. By offering some of my most beautiful memories to my unborn son, I was letting him know he was welcome and loved. In the process, Caro was most supportive. She showed me, taught me how it was done, but allowed me the freedom of drawing all the patterns, making all the choices. In a way she put the tools in my hands, reassuring me there was no way I could go wrong. Quilting with Caro gave me the opportunity to let go of life as I knew it and brace myself of what was to become. I was healing and I had no idea I was doing it. Beautiful memories keep my boy warm. Literally.


There are fascinating combinations of ways to create a quilt and there is an inherent connection between making quilts to people, time, and stories. I devote my time to learn more about the craft. My exploration of a more material-based way of creating colourful surfaces by painting (or dying, printing, stitching), and cutting textiles (like canvases or those worn already by someone) enables me to connect more directly with people and allows me to re-thing painting. And doing so similarities in the so-called low and high arts are evident. There is creative and meaningful potential in the things we make. If I look at the handmade textile creations, mainly done by women all around the world, at all times, I am just overwhelmed by the variety of expressions, innovations, craftsmanship and improvisation. The support for family and communities that goes alongside those creations is fascinating to me. Textiles are everywhere. We literally live in clothes, decorate our homes with them, use them to carry stuff and so on. High and low? Who cares?

2007 I had the privilege to met Hassan Sharif in Dubai. I like to quote him:

"I'm not trying to make magic of some kind that would impress an audience as to how the work is created. There are no secrets. The philosophical or psychological question here is how, as an artist, I give myself the authority to make art."

Hassan liked to speak about his artistic practice as weaving.

I have spent a lot of time understanding textiles, their vocabulary of forms, manual manufacturing processes, and cultural and sociology-environmental backgrounds. With my preparation for the homage to Hassan Sharif, I feel encouraged to spend even more time researching textiles' processes and backgrounds. With my collaboration on Nicoleta's Baby Quilt, I feel encouraged to learn more about working with textile as a social practice rooted in art.

Nicoleta Dănilă studied at the University of Performing Arts in Romania and graduated as an actress (BA) in 2010 and as a director (MA) in 2013. She prefers directing to acting. Since 2015 she lives and works in Frankfurt am Main.

Carolin Kropff studied at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf and the Städelschule Frankfurt am Main and previously worked at the Theater Dortmund as a men's tailor and costume assistant. From 1999 - 2002 she maintained a studio in Madrid, Spain and 2006 - 2011 in Dubai, UAE. Since 2015 she has been collaborating with British artist and fashion designer Felicity Brown. In 2020, she founded STUDIOSPACE Lange Straße 31 in Frankfurt, Germany. She lives and works in Frankfurt am Main.

MACHEN - is a series of workshop talks, a combination of artist talk and workshop, in which the audience has the opportunity to enter into a conversation with the invited artists about making art. It is about making something that has to do with textiles, about handwork that tends to be seen as a woman's domain, about the idea of making together and working with textiles as a social practice.

The workshop talks were accompanied by a night exhibition at STUDIOSPACE Lange Straße 31, Frankfurt am Main.


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